Opinion: There are better study spots than Bobst
NYU’s beloved library is not all that it is hyped up to be.
Oct 4, 2022
Many new and prospective NYU students are drawn to one particular building on campus: Bobst Library. Known for its 12-story-high ceilings and geometric aluminum guardrails, the library seems like it’s the university’s favorite building to advertise. Just consider all of the promotion that it receives on Instagram. But is it really all that?
Maybe it’s because of the Special Collections Center or the more than four million volumes it houses that Bobst gets all the attention. However, all things considered, there is nothing spectacular about Bobst. It’s simply overrated.
The library is a popular study location for most students. On any given weekday, the lobby is bustling, and the collaborative floors buzz with study group chatter. Quiet floors, too, offer desks and tables for students to do intensive scholarly work without distraction.
But those desks fill up quickly. Bobst seats approximately 3,000 people, and NYU had 53,576 students enrolled in fall 2021. The library receives 10,000 visits per day, and more than two million visits a year. NYU has too many students, and Bobst has not enough space. There is no way that a library with a seating capacity of 3,000 can accommodate its popularity.
On top of that, there are always people in Bobst — even managing to find a seat is an accomplishment. In the 15 minutes between classes, getting through the crowd is nearly impossible. You’ll be lucky if you can leave the building in under 10 minutes. Sure, the crowds dwindle from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. when the upper floors of the library are closed, but that is an issue in itself. Limiting the already-low seating availability just creates more crowding in the basement levels.
Not only are the constant crowds annoying, but sometimes the students inside are, too. Around Bobst, you will find many signs on each floor indicating what level of volume is the standard, which students often completely disregard. You may, unfortunately, come across loud people on the phone in silent study areas, or find someone glaring at you for talking to a friend in a collaborative space.
Even the individual study rooms can lead to some unpleasant interactions. Kicking people out of your reserved room is nerve-wracking, as is seeing someone reach hesitantly for your door handle. You may find yourself arguing with someone at 4 p.m. because they scheduled the room for 4 a.m. and refuse to believe they made a mistake.
Why out of all places would somebody choose to study at Bobst? This is New York City, and there are endless options to choose from. The New York Public Library offers the same kind of study environment as Bobst. If you’re looking for a cafe, both Caffe Reggio and Think Coffee are close to campus. Other options include the NYU Law courtyard, Bryant Park and even your residence hall study lounge.
You may be forced to be in the library a couple of times a week for classes, but it shouldn’t be your go-to study spot. There are better places in the world.
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