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The Dartmouth
May 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

1902 to Tower Room: What Your Study Spot Says About You

An investigation into the stereotypes of library rooms and their occupants.

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Whether you want silence or social hour, Baker-Berry Library has a space for everyone. Each part of campus’s main library attracts different students, since aesthetics, lighting and noise levels vary widely between rooms. Some students like the dark academia feel of the Tower Room while others prefer the modern architecture of 4FB, and not everyone wants to be productive all the time. While choosing a place to sit may seem like an innocent decision, students seem to agree that each room in the library comes with a stereotype. So what might your favorite study spot say about you?

Lindsey Lu ’26 has sat everywhere in the library, and although she enjoys mixing up her workspace, recently she’s been stationed in the East Asian Room of the Stacks. 

“It’s like the Stacks, but less sad. There’s couches and it’s quiet so I can actually focus,” Lu said. “It’s for people who don’t really like to interact with other people when they’re doing work, which is me half the time.” 

Silence and solitude are the main draw of the Stacks, which usually cater to focused students on a hard deadline. According to Lu, the workload characteristic of Stacks studiers is “really intense, I-really-need-to-focus work.” 

What about students who are in a more relaxed mood? 

“I feel like Blobby is for people who don’t actually have work to do,” Lu said. “[They] just want an excuse to sit and talk to people and not actually do anything.”

Regular Blobby dwellers, like Rebecca Ronai ’25, agreed with Lu about the area’s facetime-y reputation. Blobby, which is short for “Baker lobby,” is perfect for loose deadlines and easy assignments that can wait until next week.

“If I’m feeling very chatty, I go to Blobby because I’m probably going to run into someone and talk to them,” Ronai said. “I just like to people-watch.”

Blobby is definitely a social space: Friends pass by for not-so-quick conversations, you can overhear the neighboring table’s gossip about last night and your classroom crush might just walk through for the third time today.

But with as much disdain as Lu seemed to hold for the work ethic of Blobby, Ronai described the chilling atmosphere of the Stacks.

“The people who are sitting in the Stacks are actually freaks. They’re just crazy,” Ronai said. She briefly recounted visiting the Stacks to finish a research paper once: ‘Worst. Experience. Ever.’ 

So for those looking for silence, yet unwilling to brave the Stacks, fourth-floor Berry might be the place for you.

Skylar Wiseman ’24 said that she exclusively studies in 4FB. 

“It’s quiet and well-lit and by windows,” Wiseman explained. The strict no-talking norm drives most students away from 4FB, leaving only “very driven, focused [and] dedicated [students who] want to get stuff done during the day and then leave,” she said, adding that anyone looking to be “loud and unproductive” should stick to the first floor.

Since the four floors of Berry get quieter as they go up, the sprawling first floor of Berry is known for often hosting boisterous conversations. Despite popular belief, Justine Brown ’26 said that she can accomplish work on FFB, and she chooses to study there based on what kind of homework she has.

“FFB is a math [and] compsci spot… because I can do math and science-y things while socializing, and FFB is always chatty,” she said. “[It’s] my favorite place to exist when I’m not stressed about work…It’s not a productive place, but it’s fun.”  

Because it’s a more talkative environment, Brown said she does not often see people writing papers on FFB. Essays require intense focus and dedication, neither of which are the area’s strong suit. 

But what room of the library has the most defined reputation? According to Brown, it is on one of the ground floors of the library — but not FFB.

“I have in mind the [Class of] 1902 Room as being the [Ski Patrol]/preppy sorority girl room,” Brown said.

Ben Kesselmen ’26 said that he studies in 1902 because it is a good mix between work and socializing.

“I feel like I’m at most 60% productive at any point, and so I’d rather be in an environment that’s at most 60% productive,” he said. 

Although he is not in a sorority, Kesselman does agree with Brown’s assessment of the 1902-Ski Patrol stereotype. 

“I feel like a lot of the people in there are big skiers, definitely a lot of climbers as well,” he said, characterizing the room’s overall vibe as “pretty crunchy.”

While noise level and productivity are the deciding factors for most students, Cheyanne Rowland ’26 bases their choice of study spot on temperature. 

Rowland said that the Tower Room is perfect for winter studying because it is warm, cozy and comfortable, but added that “it’s definitely for people who are super studious.” 

For students who want a silent and aesthetic place to study that is a little less toasty, Rowland suggested the East Reading Room.

Diane Chen ’26 is also a proud supporter of the East Reading Room, which is formally known as the Class of 1913 Room. 

“I like how you can have your own space, there’s lots of natural light, and you can dim the lights,” Chen said. 

Because Chen recently suffered from a concussion, having control over lighting is extremely important. The bright lights in Berry aggravated her concussion, so she said her only options were dorm studying or the East Reading Room. In terms of aesthetics, the East Reading Room’s light academia vibe certainly beats out the average freshman dorm.

Whether you like socializing in Blobby, grinding in the Stacks or hanging out with skiers in 1902, Baker-Berry Library has something for all. Although each room’s stereotype is a generalization — and thus inherently flawed — just know that your favorite study spot might come with a bit of a reputation. Next time you sit down in Blobby, remember that you aren’t the only one people-watching.