There are five libraries at the University of Sheffield.
- The Diamond
- Information Commons (IC)
- Western Bank Library
- Health Sciences Library, Royal Hallamshire Hospital
- Health Sciences Library, Northern General Hospital
That means a number of chill out spots and in-between-lectures rest stops to choose from. But most importantly, multiple options for students like you and me to finish up our last-minute assignments and revisions for the upcoming examinations (Autumn Semester is almost over *gasps*).
Each library has its own features designed to accommodate students with different needs and preferences. Since I’ve only been to three of them, I will outline the pros and cons of the libraries I’ve been to.
Western Bank Library
Ahhh, my favourite library.
Pros: The silent study area on the 5th and 6th floor overlooks Weston Park (featuring the duck pond and wavy willow tree). A very quiet environment with relaxing ambiance. Perfect for nature-loving people and those who enjoy some peace and quiet.
The Western Bank Library also hosts the East Asian Studies (Japanese, Chinese and Korean) collections. Not only that, classic textbooks featuring law, psychology, philosophy subjects can also be found here. The authentic wooden book shelves arranged row by row really gives you that Hogwarts’ library feel.
Cons: Unlike the IC and the Diamond, Western Bank does not offer 24/7 service hour. No food is allowed at all in the silent study area as well. Not an ideal spot if you are looking for a place to spend the night cramming your studies and rushing your assignments.
For me, this library is my favourite spot because it is situated at the centre of everything. The SU, the Arts Tower and the Psychology Department (I’m doing Psychology) are just a five minutes walk away from Western Bank, making this the perfect en-route destination before I am off to my next lecture.
Information Commons (aka The IC)
If you find the bed in your room very distracting and just can’t help yourself but to cuddle with your duvet in the midst of your revision, the IC might just be your second university home.
Pros: 24/7 services, cold food is allowed and offers various types of study space to suit different preferences, ranging from silent study, round tables and group study rooms (advance booking required)
Western bank offers only two printing PCs. The IC has at least two printing PCs on each floor, you get the drift. It also houses many desktops for the students to use, be it for casual browsing or intensive reading for your assignments.
All your core textbooks could be found here. So before actually spending money on purchasing your core textbooks, do come to the IC and have a look at it. Ask your seniors/tutors/mentors whether the textbook essential is for the module or only part of it is needed. If it’s not essential, you are better off borrowing the textbook from the library and renewing your loan every now and then.
Cons: You won’t be the only one camping at the IC during exam seasons. And with so many students, the IC can be very crowded when you need it the most. Not only you could have difficulties looking for a place, it can be quite noisy as well.
This green building situated near the roundabout offers a suitable “study camping” environment for students, but wait, did I mention that there’s another library that offers round the clock opening hours as well?
The latest member of the University Library sites, and also an important place for Faculty of Engineering students. I like to describe it as an alternate version of IC, with an outer space twist.
Pros: Additional 1000 study spaces. No luck at the IC? Try again at the Diamond! In addition to the silent study areas and group study rooms, the Diamond has comfortable sofas as well! Perfect for a power nap before resuming your revision.
Even more computers and printing facilities available. Furthermore, the ground floor houses even more core textbooks for all the courses. So just in case you couldn’t find what you want in other libraries, there’s still some here that you could borrow.
Cons: Same problem as the IC. You might need to come here early to secure the spots you want (especially the comfortable sofas!)
All in all, the University provides a selection of libraries to choose from, as well as comprehensive library services. Study places are not the only benefit you can gain from visiting the library. There’s also laptop rental services and study help, just to name a few. Not to mention the StarPlus, the University Library Catalogue where you can browse the available books and request for them.
Hopefully this post will help you to enhance your library experience at the University!