Favorite Study Places On IU’s Campus

student sitting in a coffee shop

As the year winds down and it becomes the ultimate crunch time before the summer, many of us IU students are looking for places on campus where they can get assignments and studying done while not getting distracted until said assignments and studying are done. Although Indiana University is chockfull of places to study, here are just a few favorite places recommended by students, along with some tips on how to score that cherished study spot.

1. Herman B. Wells Library

What better place to get all your studying done than the place that holds the most books? The library of course. Herman B. Wells is full of booths, seating, and tables that are full of students from all different walks of life, whether they be undergraduate, graduate, or even faculty. Here are some tips for being friends with Wells, especially during Dead Week and Finals Week:

  • West Tower – Second and Third Floor: These places are reserved for quiet study which is great for all of you to not to get distracted and buckle down, however, those are the most go-to places for every single student on campus, so spots fill up very quick. Try to go there on an off time of the day, such as during the week in the middle of the day (if you can swing it) or early in the morning during the weekends. Try going there on a Sunday afternoon to study and you might as well be  sitting on the floor. Also, on the Third Floor, there are booths all along the walls that are usually taken up by noon, so if you can snag one of those coveted booths, you have a real treasure and will be stared at by jealous on-lookers.
  • West Tower – Fourth and Fifth Floor: These places are reserved for group study, which is awesome for group meetings or if you want to study with a group of friends but still be able to talk. The noise level can get pretty loud, but bring along a pair of headphones, and you should be just fine. Surprisingly, the noise level gets louder as the night goes on during the week, but when the clock strikes midnight, all the normal people actually go home and it gets pretty quiet. (Note: GREAT place to people watch as well. – but that’s just me)
  • East Tower (aka The Stacks): This is the place where most of the books in the library are held. They also have little nooks with desks and barriers that make it the ultimate place to actually be by yourself and study. I usually like going to The Stacks during the times when the West Tower is full and I am surprisingly productive. (Warning: At first impression, The Stacks seem like a place perfect for a horror movie, don’t fret, you’ll usually find another person or two working on the same floor as you, so I guarantee you won’t be killed.)
  • Unfortunately, the East Tower closes at midnight, but if you are still working hard on that research paper, just relocate to the West Tower, which is open 24 hour

2. The IMU

This is also another classic place on campus to get your work done. You’ll see a lot of people working, which gives you the incentive to work too. It also comes with a Starbucks, Burger King, Baja Fresh, and many other amenities if you need to take a little break from cramming. There are several places to be able to study, but here are just a few of my favorites:

  • The Starbucks – usually comes with plenty of  chairs and tables, along with a beautiful coffee smell which can make the time studying pass by way quicker. It’s also a prime place to meet up with people for group meetings or group studying since you can be as loud as you want.
  • South Lounge – located right next to the Starbucks, this is quite a historical place for many students to get their work done. It’s also located right in front of Alumni Hall, and it contains plenty of comfy chairs and small nooks for people to study, do assignments, or do whatever it is they need to get done. It’s also very pretty with all the wood floors, nice lighting from the wall of windows, and the chandeliers that hang overhead. I actually am sitting at a desk in the South Lounge as I’m typing this, so take it from me, you’ll want to study here.
  • East Lounge – this is located when you go up the stairs, right after you step into the IMU. It is filled with couches and comfy chairs which many people retreat to when they’re trying to study or as a little break between classes. You may also spot some people napping on the couches or chairs, which is totally normal to spot in this specific area. The unfortunate part is that sometimes these nappers will take up a whole entire couch, which could kindly be shared by one or two other people. However, just leave them be and know that sometime during your college career, you might be one of them. (Hint: This is another VERY popular time to study at so seats will be far and few between during the normal school day hours. However, usually by mid-afternoon, the seats and couches free up so you can make yourself comfortable in the leather corner couches. Another idea would be to find a place on the floor or in another chair so that by the time the napper wakes up from their slumber and runs out realizing that they’re late for their next class, you can slip into their spot the minute their bottom leaves the couch.)
  • Computer Lab – yes there is a computer lab in the Union, there is hope if you have a class in the Journalism School or in Ballantine and all the printing stations are full. This is also a favorite place of mine to study in. It’s tucked back behind the bowling alley, right next to where you get a new student ID (you’ll find out you’ll lose them a lot.) It’s complete with plenty of computers, a printing station, a big study room with tables and chairs, and a bunch of those cute little comfy chairs that come with a desk attached to them. So convenient and so efficient for those who are trying to study.
  • Random spots throughout the Union – everywhere you look, there will be chairs or tables in the hallways of the Union that you will see people studying at. If these places seem to be the only place open, by all means, take them. The Union is a very homey place, so even if you wanna park your caboose in a little carpeted corner on the floor, you’re more than welcome to do that. Whatever you can do to make yourself comfortable to study, by all means, take it.
  • Student Tower – now I was just shown this place this semester, but it is a really cool place to check out. In the Union, there is an elevator right across from the hair salon. Take the elevator to the top floor and there will be a lounge on your left. It’s almost all wood with tables, leather couches, with an old time fireplace as well. It’s surrounded by windows and the view is AMAZING. You can see a lot of the campus and it’s usually pretty quiet because not a lot of people know about it…yet.

3. Fine Arts Library, Kelley Library, SPEA Library, Jacobs Library, & Ernie Pyle Library

You’ll come to find out that many of the specialized schools have libraries. Many of them have books specialized in the field and some are just places to go to study if you’re looking to shake up your old ho-hum study routine. I’m always on the lookout to find new places to study if my usual ones are packed with people. I’ve found that these libraries don’t have as many people in them and it’s also fun to find out about new places at IU that you’ve never been before! (Hint: these libraries are also great places to go meet up with professors if you need to meet with them outside of office hours. It’s easier to find them without the mass amount of people and you won’t have to worry about finding places to sit). I myself have found that I enjoy the Fine Arts Library the most because it has the coolest set-up and usually the least amount of people in it. I also just discovered it this year and have been satisfied with the result.

4. Dorms

Now this doesn’t really help anybody who is not a freshman or an incoming student, but for those who are, the dorms usually have libraries (or something similar) that make great spaces to study. I know for a fact that Teter has the prime studying spots because not only does it hold an awesome library, but it also holds “The Cafe” which is a place full of tables, chairs, and computers reserved for studying. It can be used for group study or quiet individual study, but nonetheless, it’s reserved for studying.

5. Outside

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, you’ll see more and more people parked outside reading a book or typing on their laptop. While Bloomington allows for many places to study inside, there are also many wonderful places to study outside. Such places include:

  • The Outside Cafe of the IMU – complete with tables and umbrellas, this patio is great for people who want to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, while possibly enjoying their lunch or a cup of coffee. Take this opportunity to sit underneath the umbrella and enjoy the beauty of Bloomington, maybe get an iced tea or two to set the mood.
  • Dunn Meadow – located right behind the IMU and right before Kirkwood, you’ll see many students playing a game of touch football or tossing a Frisbee back and forth. Many other students will spread out a blanket with their study materials and laptop and get to work. Be one of those people, soak up a sun and get your work done, a two-for-one deal.
  • Showalter Fountain – whether the fountain is turned on or not, many students will congregate around this area for downtime in between classes or just to hang out with a good book. It’s a beautiful picturesque spot at a picturesque university. Soak it all in!

As this year comes to a close and final exams seem daunting, take this opportunity to explore more of IU before the year ends. You’re going to miss Bloomington the minute you step foot out of it, guaranteed. Good luck!

Karissa Niedzwiecki