I love Gleason Library.
While many certainly feel differently, including the editorial board of this paper, I find myself writing this article, and completing many assignments, in Gleason.
Many dislike the “vibe” of the space, finding it too busy, loud, or unfriendly, which aren’t necessarily unfair criticisms. But I find the diversity and flexibility of the space refreshing.
There are a lot of elements that make Gleason great, so let’s take them one by one.
We have the round tables and booths near the stairs. This is a perfect area for a small group project, or to study with a few friends. If you need slightly more privacy or cushion, the booths near the exit provide this. This area is open and conversational, and you might run into a friend while walking from place to place.
But what if you have some equations to write down? Or you want to memorize something? In Gleason we have the enclosed rooms around the library. Here, both individuals and groups can write on the walls, so there’s a creative space for people to write and erase. There are rolling white boards around the library which serve the same purpose.
Now we come to the area by the window. This is my favorite spot: an area of comfort, slight chaos, and most importantly, natural light. There are few indoor study spots with as much natural light as this area by the window in Gleason. The refreshing, open energy and people-watching opportunities created by the windows provide a pleasant break from the bleak whiteness of iZone or stuffiness of PRR and the stacks (though both spaces have their upsides).
Beyond this, the seemingly random assortment of small and large couches, chairs and tables of various sizes and heights, and booths means that there is a nice mix of people working on all sorts of assignments in all sorts of environments. Any study setup you want can be found here.
Have a big group? There are several large tables around the library that can comfortably accommodate groups of six or more, without being elevated like in Q&i.
What if you have to go to the bathroom? Beyond the small bathrooms in the library, the all-gender restroom is one of the best on campus, and is nearby, between Gleason and Q&i.
Work best alone? Try the straight desk-like line of tables that stretches across the library from wall to wall.
How about printing? There is a printer, far better than the iZone printer, which seems to lag around 10 minutes behind the rest of the world. Access to the larger scanner in Q&i is also quite convenient.
Don’t have a computer? Gleason has several, with differing amounts of privacy and seating arrangements.
Want some peace and quiet? The quiet room is not quite up to the standards of PRR or the Great Hall, but is pleasant nonetheless.
Need to find a book? There’s an entrance to the stacks in Gleason.
Pulling an all-nighter? It’s open 24/7.
Hungry? Connections is downstairs.
I understand why some may dislike the busy, bustling environment of Gleason, but the sheer variety of pleasant spaces for any kind of studying is unmatched anywhere on campus.