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A Comprehensive Guide to the Libe

Confused by the levels in the library? Fear not: click here to read Jacob's breakdown of the Libe.

Confused by the levels in the library? Fear not: click here to read Jacob's breakdown of the Libe.

The Gould Library, affectionately referred to as the Libe, is a central point on campus and one of the best resources at Carleton. Last year I very rarely visited the Libe, only going during the reading period before end-of-term exams to sit at a desk for ten hours writing essays and studying. This year, though, I’ve found myself spending more and more time in the Libe. Maybe I have more work than last year, or maybe I improved my study habits (probably both). Either way, I can now tell you that the Libe is a fantastic place to work for everyone, no matter your study style.

Fourth Libe: Blue Monday Quiet

If you don’t know that the entrance to the Libe is on the fourth floor, walking into the library for the first time can be very confusing. From the fourth floor, stairs going down take you to the third, second, and first floors. Fourth Libe is usually the busiest, and loudest, of the four floors. The library’s reserves and technology desk are here, as well as the Writing Center, where you can get writing assistance from other Carleton students. Most of the people on Fourth Libe are working on group projects or are doing homework with other people. The term “Blue Monday Quiet” refers to a popular coffee shop in town, Goodbye Blue Monday. Like the coffee shop, the atmosphere on Fourth Libe is relaxed and it is totally acceptable to talk at a normal volume.

Third Libe: 2A Discussion Group Quiet

Third Libe is a mix of Fourth and Second. It’s quieter than Fourth Libe, but you can still study with people. There are also computer labs for students who need to write papers and desks for individual study. My favorite section of Third Libe is near the front of the Libe. Stairs lead down from the top floor to a section of Third where Fourth doesn’t cover, so it feels much more open. A large tapestry hangs on the wall, and there are several couches where you can curl up and knock out long sections of reading. Here, the volume indicator refers to an early class in which people might be too reluctant or sleepy to participate loudly in group discussion.

Second Libe: Nature Film Narrator Quiet

When I have a lot of work to do, I go to Second Libe. I spent hours and hours here during Reading Days last year, mostly writing essays. The highlight of Second Libe are the semi-private desks. If the floor is not too crowded, you can find a quiet desk, set up all your supplies, and claim the spot for pretty much the rest of the day. This is the only floor with a slightly inaccurate volume description. If a nature film narrator suddenly appeared on Second Libe, I assume that everyone would tell them to be quiet. Second Libe is for more serious studiers than them.

First Libe: Monastery Quiet

First Libe is known for its silence. Whereas sneezing will get you dirty looks on Second Libe, breathing too loudly on First Libe will effect contempt from other students. This is the place you go when you have to do a term’s worth of work in an hour. I never work here, but some people enjoy the solitude. My first (and only) visit to First Libe occurred last year in the midst of doing research for an anthropology paper. I found a perfect source for my paper, a three volume ethnography, that was located in the moving shelves on First Libe. Why they put the moving shelves on the quietest floor of the Libe is beyond me. I must have moved the shelves three or four times before finding the books, and the noise I caused was bad enough that I have not returned since. That’s okay though. I will just work on any of the other floors depending on what work I have to do, and will leave First Libe to those who prefer it. What makes the Libe so great is that there is a spot for everyone. Find yours and claim it.

Week 4 Jacob

Jacob is a potential physics, math, and/or geology major (he’s indecisive) who appreciates the occasional anthropology or English class. Growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has made it easy for Jacob to adapt to the Northfield winters, during which he likes to ski and go traying. In more agreeable weather Jacob enjoys going on outings with CANOE, the outdoors club, and playing Ultimate Frisbee on the Gods of Plastic, Carleton’s DIII men’s ultimate team. Read on to meet the rest of our bloggers.