Data Doesn’t Lie: The Real Winner of the SciLi vs. Rock Debate

One of the first things we learn when it comes to forming an argument is the importance of evidence. Without cold hard facts, intelligent conclusions and believable theories are mere postulations, and claiming truth becomes a very tricky thing. Unlike certain news sources, here at BlogDailyHerald we value journalistic integrity and are committed to delivering the most accurate assessments of what is going on around campus. But what happens when what we’re reporting on is a matter of opinion rather than one of certainty? In this case, we finally decided to take that age-old advice and ask a librarian.

The infamous SciLi vs. Rock debate: a discussion older than Tupac vs. Biggie, older than the Yankees vs. Red Sox, heck, even older than life itself. Okay, maybe not, but it’s still something that concerns nearly all Brown students.

According to the data, 99% of all undergraduate students have swiped into either the SciLi or the Rock at least once during the last year. That means almost every single undergrad has had to make the choice between the Rock or the SciLi.

What this article hopes to accomplish is twofold. Obviously, the most important question I aim to address is answering the question of which library students actually prefer. I also hope to illuminate the patterns of usage for each in a way that paints a picture of the libraries as much more than just places to study. Hopefully, through the data, you will see that each library has a character of its own.

I’ll start with the latter: What does your favorite library say about you? The first thing we looked at were the concentrations of the majority of the students that went to each respective library. What we learned was actually somewhat surprising:

Rock-SciLi-Attendance (Spring 2014)Rock-SciLi-Attendance (Spring 2014) pg 2

The most obvious conclusion we can make from these graphs is that Brown students are incredibly indecisive about what they want to study. The other notable feature is that the SciLi caters to a more diverse range of concentrations. Around 15% of students who went to the SciLi last spring were studying social sciences compared to the 18% who went to the Rock. The distributions were also more uniform at the SciLi, while the Rock had over a third concentrating in the humanities.

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Check out this study spot: The Providence Athenaeum


If you’ve had one too many existential crises in the Rock or are too perplexed by the bizarre pod couches in the SciLi to get any work done, there is a whimsical alternative hiding right down College Hill — the Providence Athenaeum.

The Providence Athenaeum (pronounced ath-uh-ney-um) is located on Benefit Street, a block down College Street past the Rock. The Athenaeum was preceded by two earlier libraries, the Providence Library Company, founded in 1753, and the city’s Athenaeum, founded in 1831. These two libraries joined their collections in 1836 to establish the Providence Athenaeum.

The Athenaeum continues to function today as a member-supported, independent library (you have to be a member to check out content, though there is a student library card rate), and is open to the public as a reading space, historical site, and a place for cultural events and programs. Renovations in 1978 added a children’s wing and the Philbrick Rare Book Room for the library’s special collections.

The stoic, Greek Revival building houses over 150,000 books, periodicals, movies, and other content. Perhaps reminiscent of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, accessible by a catwalk-like second floor, extend through the library, forming mysterious nooks and corners. Desks are hidden away within these alcoves, creating secluded study spaces. Below the library is a reading room with tables and seating.

If you’re tired of studying, spend some time wandering the creaky corridors and catwalks, browse the contemporary and historic collections (with works ranging from Faulkner and Dickinson to the modern classic Fifty Shades of Grey), flip through the old card catalog, or just enjoy the old-book smell that wafts through the library.

Only a short stroll from campus, the Providence Athenaeum is too close to not check out at least once. Whether you drop in for an afternoon of studying and exploring, or even just for that prime Insta opportunity (make sure to caption it with #libraryporn, #nerdalert, and/or #imquirky), the Providence Athenaeum is a great addition to any study spot rotation!

The Athenaeum is open from 9a.m.–7p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9a.m.–5p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1p.m.–5p.m. Sundays.

Image via Kenji Endo ’18.

PSA: Don’t be “The Sniffler” this cold and flu season


As much as we hate to admit it, it’s starting to get colder. The leaves are changing colors, the Main Green is becoming less crowded, and pumpkin-spiced lattes are back at Starbucks. Unfortunately, the changing of the seasons also signals that the cold and flu season is upon us. Yes, college is a time when exploration and learning are interspersed with crazy amounts of debauchery, but it is also a time when being sick is pretty much the norm. Living on top of one another in the dorms, sharing germs and intimate space, will usually do that to you. That is why we are asking, or rather, begging you, to please not be that guy or girl who wont stop sniffling in the AQR.

You all know the person to whom I am referring: phe who steps foot into the library all bundled up to fight the chills, armed with a gallon of tea and a box of tissues.  As soon as they sit down, they no longer are a Brown student, but instead become a germ-spewing, snot-sniffling megaphone that never seems to know when to leave and relieve some nasal pressure. Below we’ve highlighted a few tips to help you avoid being this library nuisance.

1) BLOW YOUR NOSE. It’s really not that hard. Before you go into a quiet place, take the time to really clear yourself up.

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An open love letter to you, the newfound study space

If this compromises her location, I swear...

If this compromises her location, I swear…

I’ve recently entered a relationship, or a love affair, rather, that has gotten pretty serious. When I wake up, I think of seeing her (sometimes with disdain). I have the urge to just go see her and get in the zone for a couple hours. As I approach the place I know she will always reside, my heart races with excitement, also frightened at the possibility of her having no interest in me, but not by choice. I am tormented when I walk by and see another paramour spending the quality time with her that I know I would enjoy more. I feel cheated. I am talking, of course, of my newfound love for my favorite study space. Oh yes, it’s finals season.

I’ve never been one for relationships with the library. It used to pain me to trek to the SciLi in the winter to work on that problem set or reading assignment. I’d rather hang out on my bed and do my work than hunker down in the stacks. All that changed, however, when I found, well, let’s call her Settia (I found a fake poinsettia there today so it seems fitting) to protect her identity and my ability to access the space. Her light-colored, upbeat wood, the enticing silence surrounding her, her refined, curvy accompanying chair. Oh man, she’s perfect. When I’m with her, it’s just me, her, and my War and Politics books. Romantic, huh? Continue Reading

Pizza Nite returns tonight and tomorrow!


The onset of finals means the return of a semesterly tradition: Pizza Nite at the SciLi and Rock.

For those of you who are freshmen, or just haven’t experienced it before, Pizza Nite is a semesterly event sponsored by Campus Life and the University Library featuring tons of free pizza as well as apples, cookies, and other snacks.

At its core, Pizza Nite isn’t really that special. It’s just a free pizza event, like the many others on campus. But it distinguishes itself in two ways:

1) The sheer volume of pizza. Several semesters ago, the total stood at 90 pizzas for the SciLi and 80 for the Rock — a little bit more than your typical free pizza shenanigans (and minus having to pretend to care about the student group or lecture that’s serving it).

2) The spectacle. Mainly due to #1, Pizza Nite usually attracts a pretty large crowd. And often the Madrigals singing carols.

It’s happening tonight in the Rock lobby and tomorrow night in the SciLi basement, both at 9 p.m. We’ll see you there!

Pizza Nite returns: TONIGHT and tomorrow!

It's that time of year.

It’s that time of year.

Need a study break? Like free food?

In case you haven’t been benefiting from the Blog meal credit cooperative yet — or even if you have — come on down to the libraries tonight and tomorrow for the semesterly tradition of Pizza Nite! If you haven’t been before, you really ought to check it out. It’s quite the scene.

TONIGHT (Tuesday): SciLi basement
Tomorrow (Wednesday): Rock lobby
Both at 9pm.

Expect crowds. (Also, apples.)

All for you. Those boxes are all for you.

All for you. Those boxes are all for you.