There's a test tomorrow, and your roommate has sexiled you. Again. You trek to Butler, only to find every seat taken by students settled in for a long haul, complete with pillows and family pictures.
Lucky for you, Butler isn't the only game in town. Here's a quick-and-dirty guide to some of the alternative study locales on campus:
Right next to St. Paul's Chapel is Avery Hall, home of the Architectural and Fine Arts Library. Equipped with plenty of amenities from computers to photocopy machines, this alterna-Butler always has plenty of seating. It is also one of the few campus libraries quiet enough to actually get you shushed if you try to strike up a conversation with the art history hottie studying Pre-Raphaelite nudes next to you.
Most people know about the Psychology Library on the fourth floor of Schermerhorn Hall, but on the sixth floor lies a real gem of a library-literally. The Geology Library is small and cramped but usually quiet and free of distractions. And unless you're an earth science major, you probably won't be tempted to procrastinate by reading the books in the surrounding stacks.
Nearby is Uris, the place where business majors go to kick back after a long day of interning at Goldman Sachs. The Watson Library of Business and Economics has a funky semi-circle layout, tons of seating, and short lines to use the computers and printers.
If you have that "humanities major" look about you, be aware that the ultra-serious business school students may make you feel like a dirty hippie interloper, but it's worthwhile even without Uris dining hall's now-defunct bubble tea stand.
The other graduate school libraries are worth checking out as well. The Journalism Library in the Journalism building and the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library in Jerome L. Green Hall are usually just as packed as Butler, but provide a decent change of scenery. And the Lehman Social Sciences Library over in the SIPA building (118th Street near Amsterdam) has an elegant, classic look with plenty of seating and computer banks. Best of all, it has some cozy, romantic nooks that have helped it earn a reputation as the go-to place for non-Butler "staction." Maybe you'll find a grad student with a sexy accent who can teach you all about the native tongue.
If all else fails, head over to 119th and Amsterdam and catch the shuttle bus upstate to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Geoscience Library. For $6 round-trip, you can study on the short bus ride and in a library where you're guaranteed not to run into that regrettable hookup from freshman orientation.
Students recommend plenty of other spots around campus, although ambience seems to be the most important factor in picking a study space:
• Tom Keenan, CC '07, suggests the Schapiro sky lounge, "because you get a great view of the river. Also, it's a great place to have a slumber party."
• Julie Payne, SIPA '08, recommends the Lehman library. "It looks like the NASA space station, very 1960s with its blue carpeting."
• Pardis Dabashi, CC '08, favors the law library in Jerome L. Green Hall. "It's spacious, and you don't have to be completely silent. Plus, there are ridiculously comfortable chairs, lots of light, and a cafeteria."
For a full listing, including hours (which vary wildly and tend toward early-evening closings) and locations, check out the Columbia University Libraries Web site (www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb).