Every reason why the main library is the worst place in Edinburgh

Why don’t the plugs ever work?!

If we could work at home without being so easily distracted then we most probably wouldn’t go there in the first place. But, alas, we do get distracted so we spend far too much of our time in the modern day hellhole that is the main central library.

Needing your library card to leave

This queue shouldn’t exist

THE OLD SYSTEM WAS SO MUCH SIMPLER. Now there’ll always be one or two people who’ve forgotten to take their library cards out when they’re leaving, creating a backlog of people queuing to get out. Also, what’s the deal with the automatic doors not being automatic anymore?

The awkward lift

If you think getting into a lift and going up a few a floors is a simply task, you’d be wrong. When you’re innocently waiting on the ground floor, you have no idea if one of  your exes might be coming hurtling towards you or not in the descending lift. Then when you actually get into it, there’s no more awkward scenario than sharing the tiny lift with a mild acquaintance. With the mirror at the back it’s quite hard to have your eyes looking anywhere without it looking like you’re staring at someone. Maybe the safest idea is to keep your eyes closed and hope you end up on the right floor?

People who take the lift to the first or second floor


The plugs don’t work


It is genuinely crazy how many of the plugs don’t work. No other building in the city can have a higher proportion of dysfunctional plugs.

The floor’s not flat

Okay, it might look flat, but it’s not

Ok, this sounds weird but it’s true. When you exit the lift on some of the floors (particularly the third), there’s a disconcerting, uneven ascent in the floor’s gradient that makes you worry about the general structural safety of the building.

People talking

pipe down

“Hugh mate, how’s it going? How was Why Not last night?”

A perfectly fine conversation if you bump into Hugh on Nicolson Street. Slightly less fine if you have it by the fourth floor computers. Yes, I’m sure it’s great to unexpectedly see your mates, but if you want to have a catch up, go downstairs to the library lobby. For some reason, the fourth floor seems to be the home of the worst offenders who quite clearly struggle to see the difference between the library and the courtyard of Chancellors.

People reserving seats

These people are the worst, there’s a special place in hell reserved for them. Sure everyone needs to pop to the loo or get a cup of tea every once in a while, but it is not OK to just ‘pop’ out of the library for a sit down meal for lunch during exam season. If you’re gonna be gone for more than fifteen minutes, take your stuff with you and don’t be surprised if you return to somebody else in ‘your seat.’

The building is pretty fugly

Let’s not pretend that the library is a bastion of postwar British brutalist architecture. Whilst the views from the upper floors are beautiful, that’s probably only because you can’t see the library itself from there. It’s a giant eyesore slap bang in the centre of the uni, with an ugliness now only comparable to that of the DHT.

The taps are useless

It’s actually quite impressive that the taps don’t work with such consistency.

There are barely any toilets

We need more of you

You know the situation. You’ve got a deadline the next day and your best friend in the library for the next fifteen hours will be either pints of coffee or some highly caffeinated energy drink. Naturally, you’ll have to make more trips to the loo than you’d like. But when you get there, the three toilets on your floor are all occupied forcing you to go up three floors to find one that’s available. The campaign to get more library seats worked, so now we need to campaign for more library loos.


Thank God they’re not allowed into the library itself, but their constant badgering around George Square is borderline out of order. From following people to Starbucks to never taking no for answer, we’re probably only not so outraged by them because we don’t take them seriously. Imagine the furore there’d be if they were members of the Islamic Society and not well dressed American men from Utah.

Bake sales

No one wants your soup mate

When you’re thinking about the mountain of work you’ve got as you’re walking into the library you just don’t have the time to think about how to politely tell the hordes of societies selling cakes that you’re actually alright. It’s a surprise that more people don’t just scream what they’re thinking inside: “I don’t want your fucking cake!”

£5 minimum spend in the library café

Teviot finally got rid of its minimum card spend this year and it’s time for the library café to follow suit. Not only are minimum card spends at least mildly annoying, but there isn’t a cash machine any where near the library.

Paninis take FOREVER to make in the library café

The food and drink on offer in the library café is actually pretty good, but it’s a shame that you have to wait for the earth to complete one full turn on its axis before the paninis or toasties you’ve ordered return to you.


University of Edinburgh

The Tab Edinburgh

last seen today at 11:24

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