If you ask the average UC Berkeley student how many libraries there are on campus, you will most likely receive a perplexed gawk and an incorrect answer. Amid the majestic allure of the Doe Library — Gardner Main Stacks and the North Reading Room — it can be incredibly easy to overlook the extensive system of libraries scattered around the rest of campus.
Here are the facts: Totaling 32 libraries, containing over 11 million volumes and covering roughly 12 acres of land, UC Berkeley is home to the fourth largest academic library system in the United States.
Each of these libraries comes with its own personality perks and quirks, so when it comes time to hit the books, one can seek out the nook that best suits his or her every studying want and need. Here are a few particularly nice places to study.
Kresge Engineering Library
Located on Northside, smack dab in the middle of the engineering science buildings, lies the Kresge Engineering Library. Don’t be fooled by the name — the Engineering Library is actually the most social of the library system. No longer will you have to awkwardly stifle your coughs or quietly whisper among your peers. Not only are there large tables, whiteboards and lounging areas with cushioned couches in the open but also quiet cubicles in the back for private group or individual studying. The Engineering Library is the prime study location for study groups and intellectual conversing.
Environmental Design Library
Beyond the ironically unattractive exterior of Wurster Hall and on the second floor of the interior is the Environmental Design Library — home to the architecture and city planning majors. The library itself is a casual academic space, brightly lit with personal study nooks along the side looking over the Wurster Hall courtyard, and large rectangular tables in the center. If you ever feel the need to seek out some artistic inspiration during difficult study times, look no further than this library to do just that. The Environmental Design Library is not only conveniently lined with exhibit cases, filled with curated displays of rare books and materials from their archives, it is also only a floor away from the extravagant displays of architectural designs created by its students.
C.V. Starr East Asian Library
One of the all-time student favorites is the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, directly across Memorial Glade from the massive Doe Library. It is an awe-worthy building almost impossible to miss with its sophisticated and modern architectural design, both inside and out. The atmosphere is absolutely stoic, making this library the perfect spot for individual studying in utter silence and total privacy. The East Asian Library itself is rather dimly lit, contains a lounge area with plenty of natural light on the upper floor and has study carrels with individual desk lamps on the bottom floors.
Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library
Completed in 2004, the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library is the most recent addition to UC Berkeley’s “Arts Quadrangle” between Wurster Hall, Kroeber Hall and Barrows Hall. The Music Library is one for the environmentalists, for its efficient interior lighting system also doubles as site lighting for the surrounding campus paths. In the shape of an off-kilter box, plastered with large windows forming geometric patterns and illuminating green hues, the building itself is a unique one to say the least and makes for a wonderful place to buckle down with its aura of openness and modern elegance.