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Best Spots to Read Around Carleton

Quinn discusses their favorite spots to read on campus and in the Arb.

Quinn discusses their favorite spots to read on campus and in the Arb.

Aside from being obsessed with the Arboretum, (and the countless other posts I’ve made about it) I am also a big fan of reading. You will find many blogs about the best places to study on campus, but less about the best places to read. I would argue that there is a difference: you don’t need WiFi or a computer to read, so you are relatively free to disconnect from conventional spaces. Does it surprise you that many of these places will be in the arb then?

A collection of my books.

Oak Grove, Lower Arb

In their bid to restore native ecosystems to the arb, an important element of their plan is oak savannah. Generally, they are characterized by small clusters or single oak trees in the midst of expansive prairies. Nestled in the lower arb amidst this prairie, you will find the Oak Grove, a small clearing with oak trees and several benches. Facing west (and slightly north) these benches offer a comfortable place to read, especially in the evening as you can watch the sun slowly dip beneath the horizon. There are also a number of nesting birds nearby, making for a pleasant ambiance of soft chirping.

oak grove
Me, reading in the Oak Grove.

Gould Library, Second Floor

“Second Libe” is my favorite floor in the library. It is quiet, but not as silent as the first floor, making it perfect for reading. I don’t have to worry about flipping pages too loudly or rustling around to find a book on the second floor. Plus, every floor has a different paint color, and I think the green is nice and soothing (it helps that green is my favorite color too). There is an abundance of both armchairs and desks to read at, depending on what you prefer!

reading on second libe
Me, reading on the second floor of the library.

Oak Tree, Hill of Three Oaks

Also featured in my blog about the best views of Carleton, this is a top tier location for book reading. Being so close to campus, it is a quick way to get away from the hustle and bustle of campus. And, for a tree, it is surprisingly comfortable! Even on warm days, this spot gets a lovely breeze and is shaded by the beautiful oak leaves. This is one of my favorite spots to relax on a warm evening and enjoy a light read. 

three oaks oak
Me, reading at the Hill of Three Oaks oak tree.

Laird Lounge, Second Floor

What better place to read than the home of the English department? Here there is a cozy lounge that is perfect for enjoying a good book. There are a number of plush armchairs and couches, and the south-facing windows give a natural brightness to the space. If you need some extra inspiration to read, just take a walk around the floor—there are plenty of posters for famous and popular books!

Me, reading in the English department lounge.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many different places to read around campus! There is a space for everyone to enjoy. Plus, Carleton has tons of great resources. With our InterLibrary Loan, beautiful public library, “free little libraries,” and a small independent bookstore in town, there is enough to satiate even the most avid reader. Plus, great places to enjoy your newly acquired books!

Quinn (he/they) is a junior studying Political Science and International RelationsEnvironmental Studies, and History. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, they enjoy walking barefoot in the Arb, looking for free snacks in department lounges, and searching for their next favorite book in the library. Outside of work and school, they are the Treasurer of the Carleton Student Association (student government). There, they oversee the budget as well as work with the Student Activities Office to manage clubs on campus. Meet the other Bloggers!