As Term 2 approaches a lot quicker than many of us realise, it will soon be time to start knuckling down to work again. One of the most popular places for studying on campus is of course the Library, and as I seem to spend a lot of time there, I thought I would give you some top tips to help you make the most of it.
1. Think carefully about what time you’re going.
The library can get really busy, particularly in the afternoon, so if you want to guarantee yourself a space then you should think about when you intend on going. If you prefer to work in the library when it’s not really crowded, then it’s best to go before 11am or after 6pm. This will save you a lot of time potentially looking for a space to sit – particularly if you need to use a computer as these are always popular. There is usually a space to be found somewhere though, so don’t give up straight away if it’s busy, but at peak times you might need to be prepared to study somewhere else if it’s really busy!
2. Plan ahead with food and equipment.
The worst thing in the world is when you’ve found your preferred seat, settled down for a period of intense study, and then you realise that you’ve forgotten something. There’s two cafes in the library so there’s plenty of opportunity to grab some food whilst you’re there, but if you don’t want to lose your seat or you want to power through your lunch break it might be worth taking a packed lunch or some snacks to keep you going. Remember though that you can only eat hot food in the cafes themselves and you can only eat cold food on floors 1 and 2. Equipment wise, remember vital items such as your laptop charger, stationery and some water, as well as any books you need! Although if you forget a book, there’s a good chance the library will have a spare copy!
3. Work out what environment you work best in.
The library at Warwick is split into five different floors which are all different work zones, ranging from the lower floors where you can talk, work in groups and eat, to the upper floors where you can only take water and are expected to work very quietly/ in silence. There are also different types of desks, some with computers, some with plug sockets for laptops and others without, as well as a range of sofas and more relaxed chairs. Everybody works differently so it’s important to work out which style and environment is best for you so that you can be as productive as possible!
4. Prepare to be flexible!
Sometimes, the library will be incredibly busy (there are 25,000 students on campus after all!) and you might not be able to find the ideal place for you to work. In this case, don’t despair: there are plenty of other places you can work, such as the Arts Centre, the new Oculus Teaching and Learning building, University House, and some specific work areas in department buildings, particularly in the sciences and maths buildings. All of these are just as suited to studying as the library so, again, it’s just a case of finding which one is best for you.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask!
That might sound obvious, but at first the library can seem like a very big and daunting place and I know several students who are in their second year and still not sure how it all works. At the beginning of the year, there are tours you can go on to get to know how the library works, but other than that there are always lots of staff on hand in the library to help you, either seated at the Helpdesk on the first floor or wandering around. Don’t hesitate to ask them about anything you’re unsure of, whether you’re confused about how the mobile shelves work, you can’t find a book, or you’re trying to connect your laptop to the university printers!
Here’s a couple of pictures showing the library in my favourite state – when it feels like I’ve got it all to myself! (Apologies that these are once again the wrong way up, but I’m sure you get the picture…)