As a second-year student, I have made it a goal to visit every library on campus. After testing the waters, here is a recap of my favorite study spots:
Revson Plaza: Not a library, but still at the top of my list! This is the “bridge” above Amsterdam avenue that connects the International Affairs Building with the rest of the Columbia University campus. On warm days, this is the place to be. Last year, they installed picnic tables here for students to study and when the weather is pleasant, it becomes difficult to snag a table there. It’s a great spot to study outdoors and get a little bit of vitamin D.
Avery Library: The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library is nestled into the North Eastern corner of campus, across the street from SIPA. With its large Greek Ionic columns, large windows, and its sunny nooks, this is definitely a great place to study when you want a bit of natural light. Another fun fact – according to its Wikipedia page, it is the largest architecture library in the world!
Lehman Library: The Lehman Social Sciences Library is located on the third floor (in the ‘basement’) of the International Affairs Building. It features quiet study spots, as well as larger group study areas. This is where you can find many SIPA students, huddled around their computers. This is also where students come for in-person office hours and group study sessions. The West Reading Room is scenic, with tall cathedral-like ceilings and chandeliers. There is also an iconic snail staircase behind the circulation desk.
Science and Engineering Library: I come to this library when I am looking for a study spot with lots of light. It is a modern building (opened in 2011) with big windows, and features collaborative study tables as well as carrel desks (individual partitioned desks).
Butler Library: Butler Library, located on the South side of campus off of 114th street, is the largest of Columbia’s libraries and contains over 2 million volumes! It is featured on many Columbia University postcards and in Columbia University promotional photos. The inside is equally scenic – many of its study rooms feature tall ceilings and chandeliers, and it has some cozy study nooks as well for chilly winter days.
Gottesman Library at Teachers College: This lovely library in the South East corner of Teacher’s College has three floors to meet all of your studying needs. On the first floor, a café, a quiet study area with monitors to connect your laptop, printers, and treadmill desks (yes, you read that right… treadmill desks!). On the second floor, you can find a collaborative study space featuring comfortable chairs and private group study rooms. Last, on the third floor is another large quiet study space.
These are just a few of my favorite study spots, but there are many more on campus! Be sure to check out Columbia University’s page on study spaces for students here.