In high school, I was always one to come home after sports practice and go study in my quiet room — I concentrate more easily when it’s quiet. Before coming to Grinnell, I was nervous that it might be difficult to find a good space to study. However, this has not been a problem at all. I have found a plethora of places to study on campus, and Burling Library has become one of my favorites.
The library community is what makes Burling such a unique spot on campus. Although it’s mostly a quiet place to study, you still get the company of all your friends. I have been with company even on those late study nights when I have stayed until 1 a.m., and I know I can find somebody else to keep me company on the way back to our dorms.
Inside Burling, there are a million little nooks in which to study. One can study downstairs in the unique jungle gym desks, at larger group tables, or on couches, many of which are in front of huge windows. The second through fourth floors have individual study carrels, which are great when you want to get a lot done with few distractions. Almost everywhere in the library, you’ll find individual lamps you can adjust to position the light on your homework.
Another perk: the library provides free tea everyday and free cookies every Wednesday. One of my favorite things to do before class is to come to the library and drink tea as the sun shines through the huge windows covering the north and south sides of the building. The library also presents displays with different themes, sponsors open mic poetry readings, and brings in authors to read excerpts from their books. During finals week, the library throws great study breaks, including performances by the improvisation team and by a cappella groups.
In the basement of the library, the College archive has all the old Grinnell College yearbooks, as well as priceless copies of rare and ancient books. You can also check out CDs and DVDs for free from the listening room; oftentimes on the weekend I like to find movies to watch with friends for a relaxing night. The best part of the basement is the bathrooms, where student graffiti covers the walls, allowing them to vent a little and express their feelings. I smile every time I go downstairs and see the “body-prints” on the wall that some of my friends made as a celebration of self-expression.
From the feeling of community to the performances to the multitude of resources offered, the library is a great place on campus to study, and like me, most Grinnell students grow to love it.
Diane Meisles ’12 is undeclared and from Northfield, Illinois.