Glenn G. Bartle Library can seem like an intimidating place upon first glance, but after doing work there a few times it’s hard to imagine life without it.
Many students view their relationship with Bartle as a kind of friend with benefits. Its old, dark outer structure isn’t exactly appealing, until that one night of desperation when you’re forced to find a quiet place to study. Bartle is where you can satisfy that desire.
Here is the lowdown. The Bartle Library is comprised of four floors, each housing books for loan and ample spaces for study. However, it serves as more than just a place for academics; it also happens to be one of the biggest social scenes next to Downtown.
First floor: the PODS and the Fine Arts stacks.
The PODS, which house a wide array of Mac and Dell computers, are great for doing work that involves splitting your screen, graphic design or editing a paper. Although they are meant for off-campus students who don’t bring their laptops to school or those without personal computers, the PODS are typically used for the popular procrastination technique of Facebook stalking.
Or the computers are hogged by laptop-holding students who make someone else who really needs one annoyed as they have five minutes to print their final paper and get to class in time to hand it in. There is no such thing as silence as the sounds of chronic printing, clicking and typing fill the air and telling someone to be quiet is viewed as a crime.
The Fine Arts stacks have a much more serious atmosphere, and shooting dirty looks at people whispering loudly over the ancient wooden desks is much more acceptable. But you will undoubtedly see someone you know, and then it’s game over. But it’s also the best room to procrastinate in, since the shelves are lined with some of the most interesting books in the library, complete with pictures.
Second floor: North Reading Room, more PODS and the Hebrew/Arabic room.
Somehow the PODS on the second floor are significantly less loud than the ones on the first, considering the open space of the room and the fact that it’s the most popular place to conduct group study sessions.
The Hebrew/Arabic room definitely takes the cake for the optimal place of concentration, but unfortunately there are only minimal conventional workspaces available.
The North Reading Room, also known as the White Room, is the most highly coveted study room in all of Bartle. Getting a seat there during finals week involves waking up at the crack of dawn packed with a day’s worth of supplies. During the rest of the year, moseying on over at the leisurely hour of 10 can still guarantee a good spot, but any later can be risky. With its awfully bright fluorescent lighting, new cushioned chairs, comfortable despite ugly upholstery and spacious desks, it’s the place to be seen, although studying there can be tough.
Despite the sign on the entrance to the room that says “Quiet Study Room,” it’s the nosiest place on planet Earth. First, the sound caused by the friction of the chairs rubbing against the floor makes everyone cringe. If that doesn’t disrupt workflow, then the tapping or squeaking of shoes walking through the main aisle will undoubtedly cause your head to lift until the person reaches the heavy glass door, which makes another piercing sound when opened, but not as bad as the slam when it closes. And, anywhere you turn you’re bound to see someone you know.
Those who are naturally good at drowning out background noise are golden. Otherwise, noise-canceling headphones may be the only way to enjoy this room without being distracted.
Third and fourth floors: basically the quieter versions of the first two floors.
The top two floors are not nearly as exciting as the first and second, especially if you are considering cultivating a social life in conjunction with your academics.
They are much larger versions of the Hebrew/Arabic room, filled with rows and rows of bookshelves, most of which probably haven’t been touched in at least a century. There are a few allotted studying spaces with the same old wooden desks found in the Fine Arts section. There are plenty of interesting books, especially good for use as secondary sources and procrastinating, but not nearly as fun as the picture books in the Fine Arts section. Although pretty unpopular, the third and fourth floors are truly the best for late-night study breaks that involve much needed privacy and quiet.
Depending on your study habits, some will obviously find particular rooms better than others, but the underlying purpose of the Bartle Library is for exploration. Bartle is nothing less than a great asset to all Binghamton University students, so make sure you check out all the different spaces and rooms before finding your niche, whether it be for work or for play.