Campus Spotlight, Student Life

Home away from home: Your guide to McGill’s study spaces

McGill’s campus has a plethora of library spaces available for students to explore. To help you discover your second home for this semester, here is a guide to some of the best study spots on campus to suit every one of your academic needs.

The reliable one: McLennan-Redpath Complex

McGill’s main library complex, boasting over 10 floors collectively, has something for everyone. Khôi Nguyễn, U3 Science, often comes to Redpath to study with a group. 

“I like the Cyberthèque that’s below Redpath—the glass rooms. There are also some small rooms on the second or third floor that you can go into to do projects with a group.” 

Both the main floor and the basement of the Redpath building are talking zones, for those who like to work on partner projects or study with friends. If you prefer, however, to study in silence, McLennan has got you covered. Besides the first floor, all other floors are quiet areas.

“As you go higher up [in McLennan], it gets quieter,” Sana Agarwal, U3 Arts, explained.

McLennan-Redpath is open until midnight every day, including weekends. Starting Oct. 17, it will be open 24 hours a day until the end of the semester—perfect for those late-night cram sessions during midterm season! 

The quieter alternative: Marvin Duchow Music Library

If McLennan-Redpath is too busy, check out the Music Library. With quiet, semi-quiet, and talking floors, as well as group study rooms available to book, there are spaces for every type of student. It is also very well-equipped; you can find 54 computer workstations, scanners and printers, and A/V equipment to borrow. Plus, there is no shortage of natural light coming through its stunning floor-to-ceiling windows.

The library, however, closes quite early––9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and even earlier over the weekend. And, if you’re not a music student, the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building, which houses the library, is a few minutes farther from campus than other, more central alternatives.

The (not so) hidden gem: 680 Sherbrooke 

Located in the same building complex as Le James, 680 Sherbrooke is a favourite study space away from the chaos of the main campus. One of Agarwal’s favourite places to study is the ninth or 13th floor of the building. 

“It’s not as busy as McLennan and Redpath because those are the main libraries everyone goes to. During exams, they are so full you don’t find any space, and it gets a bit loud. 680, I like the vibe of it,” she said. 

Agarwal added that you can often find empty classrooms with whiteboards and projectors to use when group study rooms on campus are fully booked.

Honourable mentions

Birks Reading Room: If you are searching for absolute silence, the Birks Reading Room is a good place for you. As a silent zone, no eating or talking is allowed, and shoes must be taken off at the entrance. The building, which houses the department of Religious Studies, feels like a cross between Oxford and a cathedral—perfect if you want to add some dreaminess to your study routine. lt is located in the Birks building on rue University. 

Lower field: Sometimes even the nicest library can start to feel stuffy. Take advantage of the warm weather while it lasts and take your books outside! Sit under a sprawling tree on the lower field, or find any one of the countless other beautiful outdoor spaces around campus to study in the sun.

Resources to use this semester:

McGill’s library offers a wide variety of resources to students, including computer workstations, laptops, and various other equipment. If the library doesn’t have it, IT Services also offers laptops, microphones, cameras, projectors, and more available to borrow. As a final tip, if you are planning to study in a group, make sure to reserve a group study room well in advance. Happy studying!

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