Our Simplified Guide to the Library

_DSC2673Looming on the west end of campus like an impenetrable fortress of knowledge, the library is an alternate universe that leaves even super seniors scratching their heads.

If you’re trying to finish a paper due tomorrow night or already planning your finals week stratagem, don’t avoid the library like you would an overly-handsy frat guy on a Friday night. Valley wants you to befriend your campus library this semester with this helpful guide.

The Commons

You stumble through the central entrance having just duked it out with the revolving doors and… now what? According to the library’s Coordinator of Outreach, Megan Giplin, the Commons are your one-stop-shop.

Consider your technology ineptitudes obsolete, because while you might be familiar with the Knowledge Commons as a go-to group study location with its glass study nooks, lounge areas and computers, “not everybody knows that we have an IT service here as well,” says Giplin.

Or maybe you need help prepping for your next public speaking assignment or a place to rehearse your Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Further past the Knowledge Commons is its tech-savvy little brother, the Media Commons.

While the Media Commons are undoubtedly great for recording podcasts and stitching together films, there are also a series of one-button studios available for you to utilize.

“People like to use these to practice presentations,” says Giplin. “You can record yourself doing a presentation to track your progress.”

Upper Floors

Aside from the Leisure Reading Room on the first floor (or “where we keep the fun books,” according to Giplin), the Harry Potter Room on second floor of Pattee and The Stacks located on every floor are prime spots to get your learn on if you are looking for complete silence.

However, the Harry Potter Room (formally known as the Paterno Family Reading Room and modeled after the New York Public Library’s law library – not Hogwarts) isn’t the only worthwhile study location on the upper floors.

The Music and Media Center on the second floor of Pattee is an often over-looked study room in the library.

“You can hang out there, do group study work, and check out movies or CDs,” says Giplin.

The subject libraries on the third floor of Paterno are another great place to plug in and tune out when you’re studying or working on a big assignment. Not many people bother venturing past the first and second floors and with computer access and large tables for group work or individual cubbies perfect for a quiet study space, these lesser-known locales could become your new hang-outs.

 Ground-Level Pattee

If you’re looking to get the most out of your study time, the basement of Pattee should be your first and last stop at the library.

When the library is packed during finals week, Giplin suggests you head for the Maps library on the ground floor of central Pattee.

“Not a lot of people know about that down there,” she says, but now you can feel in on the secret too.

If you’re in need of a study break or even a new study spot entirely, Mackinnon’s Café on the ground-level is your best bet.

Finding Mackinnon’s is as easy as following the scent of freshly brewed Starbucks, but if you lose your way after getting to the basement, the café is located next to the News and Microforms library, which is a great lounge area in itself.

Fear not! Whether you’re a certified bookworm or have never set foot in the library, thanks to our quick guide to library hotspots, you can stress less and study more.

Photo by Jonathan Hsieh

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