We love you, quirky study spots


There are two weeks left until Thanksgiving break. That means midterm season is back in full swing after its quick hiatus that started on Halloween and ended a day or two after that.

For freshmen who are still struggling to understand the idea of midterms when they happen more often than just “mid-term”: We have many midterms, which makes no sense, but we’re all too busy studying to take the time to change the terminology.

And you know what happens after midterm season? Finals. Finals come right after Thanksgiving, and those last about three weeks, too, because you have a final paper due just before reading period and then something else due during reading period and then a “final” during finals week.

So you’re going to need a library. You’re going to need a place to call home through thick and thin–and by “thick and thin” I’m referring to the width of the 12 Meeting Street cookies you get delivered to the study spot of your choice.

We don’t give our study spots enough credit for what we put them through. We stain them with blood, sweat, tears, and Mama Kim’s. Next time you find yourself in a sedentary position for seven hours straight–and no, I’m not talking about your intimate moments with Netflix–stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, and look around you. We should not subject the aggression we have toward our workloads onto the places where we conquer them.

Next time you feel down, or get angry at the SciLi basement windows for creating a deadly greenhouse effect, remember why you love your study space. As 19th century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning says in “Sonnet 43,” “How do I love thee, [study space]? Let me count the ways.”

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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.