As WashU students, you are obviously getting your monthly fix of human interaction from library socialization. If not, you are probably one of the kids who draw anime in Bear’s Den, a member of the university’s molepeople population (including the Sam Fox molepeople sector), or someone who “goes out” … whatever that means.
The library contains a highly impenetrable social hierarchy. Not everyone can be on top… Literally, not everyone can be on the third floor because of space constraints and a finite number of cubicles. So where does everyone else fall within the totally happening library scene? Let’s break things down:
Specifically Whispers booths, the holy grail of Whispers. These are the popular kids’ cafeteria tables from every high school movie you’ve ever seen. Regina George would sit here (if only WashU admissions accepted blondes). Whispers booths are the place to SABS (see and be seen). But what about sitting at a Whispers booth alone? It probably makes you feel a bit awkward. Some solo-booth-sitters cope by taking out seventeen textbooks to fill up all the uncomfortable extra table space. Or maybe you are so egotistical that you actually think you are a Whispers socialite who can own a solo-booth-maneuver. WashU Greek life, I’m looking at you. Or perhaps you are not worried about being judged for sitting alone, because you are so stressed out for an exam in five weeks and are doing legitimate work. In which case, get the heck out of Whispers.
Whispers runners up: Whispers tables/Whispers high tables… and NOT Whispers computers.
2. Second floor.
A really versatile environment for all your studying (and socializing) needs. 2nd floor tables generally attract the study hard, party harder crowd. And by party I mean skip Spanish class once to go to Graham Chapel to see a New York Times op-ed writer speak about the global economy. CRAZINESS! The tables are a go-to for anything from research papers to shameless Facebook stalking. They are ideal for people with friends who also go to the library and for people who want to surround themselves with other library-goers to provide a facade of friendship. They are also ideal for people who want to get wasted at the library. And yet, no matter how wild they may seem, 2nd floor tables still maintain proper library etiquette…. That means you, freshman who just birdcalled to your friend four tables away!
If you’re not sitting at the tables, then you might be interested in a comfy chair. 2nd floor chairs offer high Whispers visibility as well as a delightfully awkward amount of eye contact with passersby.
3. Third floor.
Wait, the 2nd floor still has open seats? And you’re here because…? Going up here is usually an act of desperation. Acceptable at times of high library occupancy. Otherwise, you must be stressed out, reckless, and a little bit sweaty (from climbing all those stairs). You’re making a pretty big commitment by going up there in the first place. Every time you want to whisper in Whispers, that’s two flights down and two flights back up… which equals a total of FOUR flights of stairs for my fellow non-math-majors. You’re either up there to stay, or you’ve decided to work on toning your calve muscles. But come finals, 3rd floor cubicles = highly valuable real estate, possibly on par with snagging an empty Whispers booth.
4. B stacks.
If you’re going to be dark, be dark. Never half-ass the whole dungeon-themed studying thing. A stacks are lame. If you are going to the A Stacks, you are not committing to your state of darkness. At least B stacks kids have an identity (of some sort of unclear pre-med-related pain and/or fear of sunlight). They may be in a terrifying mental state but they embrace it with open arms. Note that their arms are not literally open. Rather, they are quite full. Of orgo textbooks, caffeine, and a heaping loss of faith in humankind. A stacks studiers… go upstairs. The light hurts at first, but your eyes adjust after a few days…. Also please don’t eat my soul.
5. First floor.
Points for obscurity. But that’s about it. 1st floor places last for their complete and utter blandness. You are cooler than the kids who hang out in the DUC Fun Room (which is only for students who truly know how to have fun… meaning engineering students who play COD during lunch). Otherwise, minus five hundred million points for being on the same floor as computers and printers which are only slighter faster than AOL dial-up of the 1990s. I’m trying not to let my personal experiences of printing misery bias my otherwise even-handed analysis, but I think we can all agree that the first floor is the scum of the earth. Minus at least fifty points for all the creepy eye contact 1st floor studiers make with people walking by the library. And minus one hundred more if that eye contact is judgmental of people who check themselves out in their reflection.
There you have it! Now you know! The definitive ranking of general library locations! And remember, whichever study location you choose, just please don’t walk around barefoot in the library. It’s unsanitary.
[This has been a public service announcement, sponsored by Student Health Services.]