Student Life

Alternatives to Schulich and the McLennan-Redpath complex

As the numerous orange cones indicate, construction is going on all over campus, including inside the Schulich library. This mid-sized mammoth recently closed for renovations, and many students have yet to find a new home or place to study (and sometimes cry, too). Although additional study spaces have been unveiled in the McLennan-Redpath library, there are also other alternatives available on campus.

1. Birks Reading Room

On the building’s second floor, you will find a small and quiet study haven. Filled with wooden furniture, fascinating old books, and live plants, it makes a snug study spot. Take advantage of this well-lit space on days when the weather is a bit gloomy. Be warned: You do have to take your shoes off. However, this provides you with ample opportunity to show off your cool socks. While its stiff looking chairs might not be enticing, and its strict ‘no food’ rule may dismay some hungry students, it’s the perfect place to go if you love to study in quiet, cozy spaces!

Location: Second floor of the William and Henry Birks Building (3520 Rue University)

Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (Weekdays)

2. Marvin Duchow Music Library

This gem is another great study spot on campus. Located on Sherbrooke Street, the library conveniently neighbours a Starbucks. Its calm environment and moderate noise level make this space great for concentrated studying. Also, it’s a music library, so de-stress with music! Be sure to take advantage of the piano on the third floor and play your stress away.

Location: Elizabeth Wirth Music Building (527 Sherbrooke Street West)

Hours: 9 a.m.11 p.m. (Monday to Thursday); 9 a.m.6 p.m. (Friday); 10 a.m.6 p.m. (Saturday); 12 p.m.11 p.m.(Sunday)

3. Nahum Gelber Law Library

The library is reminiscent of the set of the American television show Suits, but you won’t find Louis, Donna or Harvey Specter; you will find law students hard at work. Above the first floor, it’s pretty quiet. Look at the law students and be motivated to be productive! Note that ibrary hours might change during the semester, so stay informed. And, beware: It is located at the top of Peel, so getting there is a bit of a hike.

Location: 3660 Peel Street

Hours: 9 a.m.11 p.m. (weekdays); 10 a.m.11 p.m. (weekends)

4. Islamic Studies Library

Equally as comforting as the Birks Reading Room, the Islamic Studies Library is bigger and strikingly beautiful. Head over here if you would like to escape into a world of antiquity, and during the winter months, take advantage of its warmth and coziness. Fortunately, you don’t have to take your shoes off, but don’t worry: You can still wear your cool socks.

Location: 3458 McTavish

Hours: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 

5. Geographic Information Centre (GIC)

Located on the fifth floor of the Burnside building, the GIC is often overlooked by students.  It is a happier alternative to studying in the building’s dungeon-like basement. However, you can still descend from GIC to visit the Soupe Café and try their famous grilled cheese sandwiches and soups. It’s much quieter than McLennan, with fewer people in the mornings. Come here if you’re looking for a productive start to your day.

Location: 805 Sherbrooke Street West

Hours: 8:30 a.m. 9 p.m. (MondayThursday); 12:00 p.m.– 6:00 p.m. (weekends)

6. McConnell Engineering

If you are not an engineering student (or even if you are), you might be surprised to find McConnell on this list. Along most of their hallways are study tables and benches with outlets and ample lighting. There are also microwaves in the cafeteria downstairs. Clearly it was made for people who spend many hours studying. Note that after hours it is only open to engineering and computer science students.

Location: 3480 Rue University.

Hours: 7:00 a.m.–10 p.m. (Monday– Thursday); 7:00 a.m.– 6:00 p.m. (Friday)

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