Campus Spotlight, Student Life

McGill’s hidden campus

You walk out of class, belaboured and exhausted, and attempt to find someplace to study or hang out. You jump from Redpath to McLennan, soon to realize that all of your options are either overcrowded, noisy, or not to your liking. Are you in desperate need of a calm, isolated place, or just something different, but don’t know where to look? Say no more; here is a list of some of McGill students’ favourite underrated spots on campus that everyone should enjoy. 

Marvin Duchow Music Library

Located on the third floor of the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building, the Music Library offers students a variety of different spaces, from silent study zones to collaborative work areas. As you enter the space, you are greeted with warm natural sunlight stemming from large windows, as well as comfortable couches and large tables to spread out your work. 

Max Finn, U3 Arts, is a big proponent of studying at the Music Library. 

“I love coming here. There are big windows, it is very spacious and calm, and it is never crowded,” Finn said. “I love the large desks, and there is even a floor where you can sit and observe vinyls.”

When in dire need of a break from school work, take a stroll and discover the material of the Rare Books and Special Collections Room. You will find one of the most important academic music collections in Canada, with more than 200,000 scores, recordings, books, journals, and online resources. The library’s knowledgeable staff can also help you locate any material you are interested in. 

680 Sherbrooke

After indulging in Montreal’s rich musical scene, take a short trip to 680 Sherbrooke and make your way to the ninth or 12th floor. Tucked away in this hidden gem of downtown campus are breathtaking views of McGill that often grace Instagram stories. Surprisingly, only a handful of McGill students are aware of what this building holds beyond language classes, so don’t miss out on the chance to discover this secret oasis for yourself!

Charlotte Mineret, U2 Arts, told The McGill Tribune more about what students might not know about this spot.

“I really enjoy going to 680 Sherbrooke on the ninth floor,” Mineret said. “The view and open space are fantastic, and since not many students know about it, it is generally empty.” 

Islamic Studies Library

Nestled in the heart of the downtown campus on McTavish Street, facing the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) University Centre, lies the perfect building for students seeking a peaceful study spot: The Islamic Studies Library. As you step inside, take a moment to appreciate the stunning Gothic architecture, with almost all furnishings crafted from wood. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale. For the ultimate calm study environment, head to the Octagon Room. With its stainless steel windows casting a warm light, it’s the quietest spot on campus. 

Gery Delepiere, U3 Arts, discovered this library in his first year and has gravitated toward it ever since.

“The Islamic Studies Library is very calm and small enough to be cozy,” Delepiere told the Tribune. “The Octagon Room is just beautiful, and the books surrounding you give off a nice work vibe.”

However, the Islamic Studies Library offers more than just a tranquil place to hit the books. With over 100,000 volumes of monographs and almost 1,000 serial titles, it boasts a rich collection covering the entire span of Islamic civilization. From early Turkish and Egyptian printed books to Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and Persian manuscripts from the 12th century, this library is a treasure trove for anyone wanting to learn more about the world of Islamic culture and history.

McGill’s campus has so much more to offer than the overcrowded, loud libraries of the McLennan-Redpath complex. Try immersing yourself into the warm musical atmosphere of the Music Library, snapping a picture of campus from the ninth floor of Building 680, or losing yourself in the fairytale of the Islamic Studies Library to find your ideal study spot on the downtown campus. 

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