Academics
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Natalie Guerra / Senior Staff Photographer

Cheryl? Millie? Milstein Center? The Cheryl and Philip Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning? The name of Barnard’s brand-new library has already become a topic of wide controversy, but there’s one thing we can agree on: This building is sick.

You’ve probably already noticed Milstein’s high-tech electric barriers, massive bay windows, and, of course, those trademark swiveling green chairs. However, the Milstein Center is seemingly endless—the selection of study rooms and reading nooks is frankly overwhelming. Between your Literature Humanities readings and First-Year Writing papers, there’s not much time to explore Milstein to the full extent. Spectrum has investigated every bookshelf, power outlet, and water fountain so you don’t have to.

LL floor

Need to pick up your latest textbook order from the mailroom? Stop by the gym after your study session? The lower level “basement” is home to some of Milstein’s secret passageways: You can access Barnard Hall, Altschul Hall, and even Claremont Avenue just by passing through the lower level hallways.

1st floor

Amelia Milne

If you prefer some light chatter in the background while you work—and need immediate access to caffeine at all times—this is the floor for you. Upon entering the Milstein Center, you’ll be greeted by a wide selection of chairs, tables, power outlets (they even have power outlet stands!), and the invigorating aroma of Peet’s Coffee.

A lesser-known perk of the 1st floor is the selection of private study rooms down the hallways immediately to the right and left of the entrance. It’s perfect if you need to focus without needing to climb the stairs.

2nd floor

Amelia Milne

Between the booth-style blue couches, comfy green chairs, and curved gray reading nooks, the second floor has indisputably the best seating options. We highly recommend the individual desk nooks for some focused studying—if you’re one of the lucky eight to snag an empty one!

While the weather is still nice, be sure to take advantage of the terrace. It’s peaceful, quiet, and green—three adjectives that rarely apply to NYC. This outdoor balcony is ideal for a quick phone call or FaceTime without disturbing your fellow library-goers. Just make sure you make it back inside before the doors close. They automatically lock in the evenings!

3rd floor

Amelia Milne

Once you get off the stairs on the 3rd floor, take an immediate right and walk through the elevator bank. You’ll find the perfect study space if you need absolute silence. Between the 24 individual desks and five group study rooms (two with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Diana Center), you’ll definitely find a spot to finish up that lab report.

4th floor

Amelia Milne

At the top of the staircase, you’ll find some yoga mats and prayer rugs. If you’ve been overcome with an insatiable need to align your chakras or are having trouble finishing up that philosophy paper, feel free to climb up here for some meditation in a (moderately) secluded space.

Continue to the left of the staircase and walk all the way past the community tables. Behind the tall bookshelf by the exit sign, you’ll find a perfect little corner complete with a view of Broadway. If you don’t mind sitting on the floor, you have a nice, sheltered space perfect for two to four people to huddle and work.

5th floor

This lesser-known floor is only accessible via elevator. If you take a right out of the elevator bank and head down the short hallway to the left, you’ll find the CS/Math Collaborative Space. It serves as a help room for Math and CS students, but there are always seats open for some independent study. This room is definitely worth checking out, with its stunning views of the Claremont apartments on the west and those signature verdigris Columbia rooftops to the east.

Take a left out of the 5th floor elevator bank and you’ll find the CS lounge. If you like to be comfy while you study, take advantage of these cozy sofas and the L-shaped couch. Although this is technically designated for computer science studies, who’s really checking? Maybe keep a tab open to Java or Python code if you’re a stickler for rules.

If you need to head over to a science lab, the 5th floor also serves as another link to the Altschul Hall.

6th floor & above

The 6th-11th floors serve as various faculty offices and research centers. Unless you enjoy trespassing on faculty meetings or meandering through vacant office corridors, your best bet is to stick to Milstein’s ample offerings on the 5th floor and below.

There you have it—all the secret nooks, hallways, perks, and corners of Milstein—our new favorite study space. As midterm season approaches, however, Butler is definitely still your best bet for those oh-my-god-everything-is-due-tomorrow nights. For now though, grab some toast from Peet’s, sit back in a green swivel chair, and enjoy our new Milstein Center as we settle into this school year.

Barnard Columbia Milstein
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