General, Places, Student Life

When Life gives you Readings, Find a Library

I live alone.

I chose to live alone, and for all intents and purposes I truly enjoy living without a roommate. I have the freedom to walk around in my boxers as I please while singing nineties pop songs at the top of my lungs. On a more practical level, I thought that living alone would allow me to live in a haven of focus and concentration. A space where I could hide away and focus on my studies without distraction. It turns out that my apartment will probably never become a distraction-free study space.

A photo of a lap top screen in front of a television screen with a lady on the television

super meta, I know!

But to compensate for the bounty of distraction that I face in my apartment, I have learned the value of essentially living in various libraries, and by various, I mean three different ones. So I thought I would write about them.

Emmanuel College Library

a photo of a medieval style wrought iron chandelier hanging from a vaulted ceiling with wood panels beside a mezzanine at a library

This library is hands down my favourite library on campus. It’s hidden away in a little corner of Victoria College in the Emmanuel College building. It’s such a beautiful library and being in the space makes me feel bad for not studying. I especially love the large library windows, specifically the ones that face Old Vic. I never go up to the second floor but when I look up there, I imagine theologians of the past searching diligently for a book they need to translate an original manuscript of some religious text. I love the old wooden furniture and beautiful chandeliers that hang from the vaulted ceiling! Aside from the aesthetic, it’s pretty out of the way so it’s often quiet and fairly empty. One downside to the Emmanuel College Library are that its hours are shorter than other libraries. From Mondays to Thursdays they close at 10 PM and on Fridays and Saturdays at 5 PM.

E.J. Pratt Library

a photo of a white tablet on top of a black case sitting on a light brown wooden table with two books in a stack behind it and a trabel mug and stainless steel water bottle placed to the right in front of a green binder

If you haven’t figured it out yet, yes I am a part of Victoria College. When I am not in lectures, I am probably studying somewhere on Vic. E.J. Pratt Library is one of those places I often find myself studying. This extraordinary library has three floors of relatively quiet spaces, and in stark contrast to Emmanuel College Library, this library is very contemporary in design. There are plenty of study cubicles on every floor, and if you’re like me you’ll appreciate that. E.J. Pratt also has several study rooms for group study sessions, and designated silent areas on the main floor and in the basement. On top of that there are some really comfy couches in the basement lounge that has a breathtaking view of the Lester B. Pearson Garden for Peace and Understanding. The E.J Pratt computer lab is sizeable, which is a blessing on days when you forget your lap top at home. E.J. Pratt Library, however, can get pretty busy, making those study cubicles a scarce commodity.

Robarts Library

a photo of a an open text book laying on top of an open green binder on a dark table against a window that is looking out to the top of some buildings.

Finally, Robarts, the giant concrete turkey (or peacock) and the quintessential U of T student experience. I spend a lot of time at Robarts when I’m not on Vic campus. They have great extended hours and a Starbucks in the building to boot! Now if it isn’t your first choice of library, I will say that the more time spent in the space, the more you’ll start developing an attachment to it. I study on the fourth floor a lot more than the other floors, but I also have an affinity for the space beside the media commons on the third floor. The only issue I have with some of the study spaces is the game of chance you have to play to find a lamp with a lightbulb! To make up for this Robarts Library is the only library that allows you to load your TCard with a debit card instead of cash. This is a great thing to have access to when you are like me and rarely carry cash around.

Now I know this is a limited list. I wish I had more diversity when it comes to library experiences on campus, however, I’m a creature of habit so if a place works for me, I tend to always go back there. But don’t fret, this leaves me an opportunity to do a second edition! So leave me a comment below of your favourite library and suggest some I should check out!

Library Websites: Emmanuel College Library | E.J. Pratt Library | Robarts Library