Study in Silence: Quiet Study Spaces

by Devanshi Udeshi | 10/3/18 2:00am


Have you ever walked into an environment feeling awkward because you were not familiar with the social norms? No longer will you have to worry about that, as we have designed a guide to help you navigate your way around quiet spaces on campus. Since midterm season is fast approaching, this is the perfect time to introduce you to some of the great study spaces at Dartmouth. 

First up, we have the Tower Room, located on the second floor of Baker Library. Renowned for its antique appearance, the Tower Room is a wonderful place to get some work done without distractions while enjoying beautiful views of the Green. When you visit the Tower Room, you will discover that there are two distinct types of people: those who are seriously studying and those who are seriously sleeping. Because of its quiet and comfortable environment and dim lighting, the Tower Room can be a popular napping on campus. Just make sure that while you are in the Tower Room, you keep all noise to a minimum, as minor sounds such as opening a bag of chips or clicking your pen may turn a few heads in your direction.

Next, we have Sanborn Library. Adjacent to Baker Library in the first floor of Sanborn House, Sanborn Library has a similar environment to the Tower Room. Due to its warm and cozy environment, it is a popular place to read a good book on a rainy day or curl up in a comfy armchair for a quality siesta. At Sanborn, you can enjoy a calm atmosphere and afternoon tea breaks that are part of a long-standing Dartmouth tradition. On weekdays, Sanborn Library serves tea and cookies between 4 and 5 p.m. Like the Tower Room, occupants of Sanborn Library are expected to keep the noise level as close to silent as possible. 

Feldberg Library, a popular destination for Thayer and Tuck graduate students, is located in close proximity to the River Cluster and the Dartmouth Climbing Gym. It is a two-story library with a book collection on the first floor and a study space on the second floor. Whether you are looking for a setting with a “startup-y” or professional vibe, or simply looking for a work space where you are less likely to run into other undergrads, Feldberg is the place to be. With its cubicle-style desk arrangements and the option to lay down on beanbags, Feldberg Library may be the change you are looking for. It is not uncommon for people there to have conversations at low voice levels, although it is still a relatively quiet environment. 

The Greenhouse on the fourth floor of the 1978 Life Sciences Center is a “hidden gem,” according to Jarely Lopez ’19, a frequent studier at the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse is designed as a living botanical museum, while the fourth floor provides a study environment where one can foster a connection with nature. For Lopez, studying at the Greenhouse makes her feel as though she is no longer in Hanover.

“You still have the silence but it’s like nature silence ... not synthetic,” Lopez said. “In the library, all the silence that’s there is fake. People want to be loud, but they have to keep themselves to a whisper.”

The Orozco Mural Room, located in the basement of Baker Library, is an interesting place to study, especially for those who have an appreciation for art and are looking to get inspired by creativity. As the site of José Clementé Orozco’s masterpieces, “The Epic of American Civilization,” the mural room was designated a national historic landmark in 2013. Although a popular stop for visitors of campus, it manages to maintain the expectations of a quiet space. It is a fairly large with long wooden tables and chairs that are ideal for getting work done with your buddies while keeping conversations to a whisper. 

Next, we have the Black Family Visual Arts Center, a building with classrooms, art galleries, a film screening room, production studios and administrative offices. Designed to provide a modern feel with plenty of open space, the ground floor lobby is the perfect setting to do some independent work. According to James Rhodes ’19, who spends much of his time working in the BVAC, it gets a little too quiet there sometimes. 

“I sat down there twice [to study] and then moved somewhere else … it is a relatively quieter place,” Rhodes said. 

Finally, the Couch Project Lab at the Thayer School of Engineering is a one-of-a-kind creative space where students work on creating prototypes from their sketches. On any given day, students, typically those studying engineering (although it is a space open to all), can be found drawing complex diagrams on white boards and working on the wooden tables to construct anything from circuits to wearable devices.

“There’s always stuff happening [in Couch Lab] … people are talking but everyone is always doing work,” Colleen O’Connor ’19 said.

Although the quieter spaces at Dartmouth may seem intimidating at first, they are great places to get work done once you understand the social norms unique to each space. There might be times when you are pressed for deadlines or when your floormates decide to have a movie night in the residence hall common rooms, but always remember that there are spaces around campus designed to meet each students’ needs. 

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