Student Life

The best four libraries on campus

McGill is home to a plethora of libraries all with their own unique charms and perks. With due dates and midterms piling up, it’s hard to know which library is right for you! The McGill Tribune is here to break down our top four favourite libraries to help you make the best choice. 

1. McLennan Library 

  • Address: 3459 McTavish Street
  • Hours: Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. 
  • Weekends: 10:00 a.m. -12:00 a.m.

For many students, McLennan is the natural option for studying because of its large capacity and flexible hours. The Social Sciences and Humanities Library sits directly in the heart of campus, making it a popular study hub for students in all faculties. Although McLennan is not the most aesthetically pleasing library, it has its perks: Namely, the endless outlets and the countless places to spread out your work and study. Each floor is home to a different vibe; whether you want the second floor’s social environment or the sixth floor’s intensive studying atmosphere, you’re sure to find a space for you. If it weren’t for the midnight closing time, students could probably make this their second home. McLennan also houses many group study spaces for all those late-night midterm cram sessions with friends. 

2. Nahum Gelber Law Library

  • Address: 3660 Peel Street
  • Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
  • Weekends: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

The Nahum Gelber Law Library is a beautiful study spot on Peel Street with large windows that provide ample lighting for your darkest studying days. With its beautiful architecture, the library is a fantastic option for anyone who wants to study whilst being surrounded by some neat art and a—slightly spooky—spiral staircase. As the library is open until midnight, it’s also convenient for those night owls who find themselves most productive past 9 p.m. Its patrons can sink into the trappings of a research essay or assigned reading for long, uninterrupted stretches of time. 

However, if you do decide to study here, be ready to maintain complete silence; this library is home to many stressed-out law students who won’t take well to whispering.

3. Islamic Studies Library

  • Address: 859 Sherbrooke Street W
  • Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Weekends: CLOSED

The Islamic Studies Library is located just behind Leacock and is best known for the stunning octagon room—commonly used in McGill’s promotional material—tucked away at the back. Although this library is only open until 9 p.m., every hour spent there is worth it. Its beautiful stained glass windows, wood accents, and high ceilings make it a cozy spot to write an essay or two. Filled with hidden nooks, such as a couch tucked under the staircase, this library is ideal not only for studying, but also for exploring.

The library is known for its mandated silence levels, making it easy to concentrate on the tasks in front of you.  

4. Birks Reading Room

  • Address: 3520 Rue University
  • Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Weekends: CLOSED

Situated on Rue University, the historic building is home to a plethora of quiet spaces to study, read, take a break, or get married in the second-floor chapel (yes, this has happened before). For a more relaxed environment, the first-floor student lounge is a great place to get some work done or have a quick nap on the most beautiful and comfortable green couches. For those looking for a place to grind out an essay or finish off the 500 pages of reading your professor assigned, the second-floor reading room is just what you need. With large tables and lots of light, it is the perfect space to finish up any outstanding coursework and spread out all your supplies. 

If you’re a daytime studier who loves light academia vibes, we recommend choosing Birks for your next work period. It’s a cozy escape from the cold Montreal winters—just be sure to wear your best socks, as it is a shoes-off building!

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