Escaping the library: Alternative study spots

With the mounting pressure of deadlines, heading into the library doesn’t have to be your only option to get work done

As you enter the library, there may be a familiar sense of dread as you leave the buzz of campus behind you to do something most students avoid; study. What can amount to a dreaded task can be compounded by the distracting amount of people you know in the Ussher or the feigned hushed tones of students passing through the Lecky every few minutes. While it can be argued that most students spend minimal time in the library anyway or purely use it as an alternative to a locker, as someone’s bag and coat sits there for several hours untouched – for anyone looking for a change of scene, here are some ideas.

Sixth floor, Arts Building

Anyone who has visited the sixth floor in the Arts Building will have heard the cries of “I didn’t even know this floor was here!” A glass oasis in the concrete block, the floor is home to students looking for a quiet lunch, a photoshoot, or even a nap. In the centre lies a small, secret Classics library that contains seats with plugs and spacious tables.

If you need to cross reference a book, the library is not far away and you can easily slip out for a break with the added bonus of some comfy couches, or a view of Trinity’s campus or Nassau Street. Additionally, if this space is full, your hike up six floors was not in vain, the fifth and fourth floors which are less aesthetically pleasing but do still offer a worthy alternative.


Cafés mean coffee, and coffee means a more effective study session as you pretend you didn’t fall asleep at 2am despite your promises of an early night. There is a reason Accents is a popular suggestion to study at – located on Stephen’s Street Lower, it is a short walk from Trinity. The basement is a quiet space where you can choose to work away on your assignments, or take breaks watching the awkward first dates occuring around you. If you only have an hour in between lectures and are looking for somewhere even closer to Trinity’s campus then why not try Alliance Française on Nassau Street or Bestseller on Dawson Street. Both have sturdy tables and a plentiful supply of coffee and cake to keep you going, and are within sight of campus.

National Gallery of Ireland

For those amongst us who thrive off of noise to study and have the Spotify background noises track ready to go, this is the place for you. Only a mere three minutes from campus, this gallery offers coffee and food, with the added bonus of promised noise. Though a lack of plugs may pose as a flaw for this location, it is easy enough to head back to campus.

National Library of Ireland

If you can’t hack the noisy chatter of a public space but need a break from the Hamilton or Ussher, this isn’t too much out of a student’s comfort zone. Located on Kildare Street, it is a few minutes from Trinity, you do need to sign up to gain entry but that can be done on location. In return, you are unlikely to run into any of your friends who will distract you, and there are seats and plugs for you to study.

The Conversation Room in the GMB

This room is potentially more associated with awkward interactions as a first year after debates or drunken drinks for balls, yet it offers an alternative and convenient place to study on campus. The first room on your left as you enter the GMB, the room is supported by TCD Wifi – potentially a blessing or a curse – and has plenty of couches for you to do your readings or lab reports on. It also is wheelchair accessible. There is usually a table in there as well if you need something sturdier to work on.

The Cricket Pitch

As you read this article from the Lecky, and scornfully scoff as you glance up through the windows to the rain and dark clouds blanketing our campus, you may think this is not a viable option. Studying is not always pleasant and is painful enough without cowering beneath an umbrella on the cricket pitch. Even so, as the spring weather settles in, and summer gets closer, it is within our reach to form a study circle on the pitch to debate ideas or practice a language, and a pint from the Pav might just help.

Rathmines Library

Containing a study space, reliable wifi, and printing services, it may still be a library but it is a change of scene which may refresh and refocus. Rathmines is a short Luas journey from Trinity and the library is serviced by the bus as well. Alternatively, take the 30-minute walk for some fresh air on your way from campus.

Library study room

If a solitary experience with an assignment for hours on end is too much to bear then why not try a different tactique to studying alone and persuade your class to form a study group. The Hamilton Library offers a study room, the BLU Libraries have eight rooms and the John Stearne Medical Library has three. Book in advance as these tend to fill up quickly but with Trinity wifi services and books closeby, it is a great option as you nip in and out of class.

The study zone

A piece of advice that will not be new to any student will be that, at home, there should be a spot which offers no potential distractions. Places like your bedroom with a comfy bed, or the kitchen, which is suddenly filled with so many people all of whom want to chat, are not the best places. In saying that, not everyone will be afforded the luxury of a space that is entirely separate for study. It’s worth avoiding picking peak times like grazing hours to study, or maybe gather your housemates or siblings to form an informal study group.

Georgina Francis

Georgina Francis is a former Managing Editor, Life Editor and Assistant Life Editor of Trinity News.