Library Flirting

Feel like you have a pro-schwefff-orship in chirpsing but that Cindies and Life don’t do it justice? Try BETH SWORDS’ and ANNA WILMOT’s review of libraries for their potential for flirting…

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Flirting is rife in the libraries of Cambridge University. The time-honoured belief that a library, where  talking is frowned upon, is only conducive to interaction between a book and its reader, is outdated, silly and crass.  A glance here, a frustrated shush across the table there: the library is more fertile for philandering than any club or bar.

In The Tab’s Reviews of Libraries,  we’re going to outline the best places in Cambridge to conduct your courtships. A naïve young man once told me that ‘libraries are riddled with sexual tension and that this level of tension is the same everywhere, in all libraries.’

Reader, he could not have been more wrong.

The ability to turn a grab for the same book from awkward encounter to romcom climax varies to a worrying degree. The potential for conversational titillation (nothing more at this stage, friends, let’s keep it traditional) shall be measured by the overall ambiance of the library, the types of people working inside, and the ease of which it is to corner someone. College libraries were not included (the minefield of incest that they are).


Home to French séducteurs or séductrices and where Italian stallions congregate en masse – promised a lot but delivered little. The library’s first pitfall is the layout. After about 10 minutes of searching, we finally found our way in. So, unless you have the ‘lost damsel in distress’ nailed, steer clear. The most dominant thing that strikes you is the distinct lack of le males, and the men that were there had a questionable taste in jumpers – something we came to call the ‘frumper’. Despite coyly dropping mon stylo (odd word for knickers) in front of le one potential prospect four times, I was unable to secure a date. On top of this, speaking was frowned upon. Great for developing your ocular flirting skills but anything else proves plus difficile. 5/10

They couldn’t tell me off for reading this aloud



Here every person can be seen and every action detailed from every angle – this is of use to both the woo-er and the wooed. The natural light from the glass roof is a real bonus and makes everyone have an au naturel glow to them. On the negatives, the temperature is very temperamental and layers of clothing coupled with the sweats can make it tricky to look enticing. However, we walked in on library flirtation in progress – two people leaving and coming back within twenty minutes, looking brazen-faced. A testament to the Seeley’s conduciveness to library flirtation. 9/10


No evidence of flirting whatsoever. The open-air, spacious ambiance promises a lot but the deathly silence nips any embryonic titillation in the bud. Shakespeare once wrote, “True love cannot be found where it truly does not exist”. Love does not exist in the Law Library. Avoid it. 0/10

No heart-racing interactions here


Chic artwork on the walls, comfortable beanbags, nice acoustics, and a balcony reminiscent of that famous scene from Romeo and Juliet make for a picturesque flirting arena. The whole department also seemed remarkably well dressed – one girl in a saucy crop top. The strengths of this library depend on your type. One man clearly was stopping off in Cambridge before heading back to Renaissance Italy, wearing a billowing white shirt and locks to his shoulders. If this turns you on, then the English library is for you. 7/10


Inside, it was heavily male-dominated with a strange mix of stash and North Face fleeces. If you’re willing to sift through non-committal outdoors-y types to find a rowing Adonis, then persevere. Using laptops was rare so if technical stimuli are your main source of flirtation, then this is not the place for you. One of us tried to strike up a conversation about the rubber the boy opposite was using. He muttered something about ‘art putty’ and moved on. Maybe it was our background in the Arts, but the Engineering department did not feel conducive to romance. 4/10


Word on the street informs us that many students of Criminology have been implicated in crime before and now are reformed citizens. For those of you who like a ‘bad boy’, this is your calling. The décor emulates this with weird paintings by inmates and skulls lining the walls. However, beyond that, we were disappointed. This was the hottest library we visited and although this excuses wearing skimpier clothing, it does not make a comfortable environment for the more demure flirters of you out there. Sweat patches and a SULA (sweaty-upper-lip-alert) are not the greatest turn-on. That and fairly tame students walking the place meant scores were low. 3/10

Bring an illegal level of flirting here

We hope you enjoyed our guide and will carry it with you under your arm as you flirt with the idea of taking out a book and also an actual human being. Remember: staying safe in the library is important, but staying sassy is the dream xoxo