Which library am I most likely to get a seat in?

Don’t go to the main library, it’s a waste of time

It’s halfway through second term and you’ve finally decided to go the library and try to work, but you can’t seem to find a seat anywhere. Here’s a handy guide to synching that coveted library spot.

Main Library

There are two good times to go to the main library: at 4am or after exams. No, you can’t get a seat in the history section, and Hebrew studies is always occupied.

When the hall becomes a seating area

Change your body clock to become nocturnal and you’ll more likely than not be able to find a seat anywhere, unless it’s a week before exams then just take some hiking gear and set up a tent around you. If you move, you’re fucked.

Space likelihood: 1/10

SSEES Library

The SSEES library is the Valhalla of library space. Whereas the main library is disgustingly full, SSEES is the idyll with desks as far as the eye can see.

Eastern Bloc bookshelves

OK, the basement is sometimes full, but the other two floors are practically empty save for the week before deadlines where you’ll find people quietly crying into Russian Literature.

Space likelihood: 9/10

Science Library

If you’ve tried and failed with the main library, you need to be doing that 100m sprint to the science library. The turnover of people is higher and the number of floors means there’s space somewhere.

Less busy, but don’t even bother with the computer area

There’s more room, but never bother trying to get a computer. Second floor anthropology section is always a good bet – but don’t bother trying medical sciences next to it. If you want a computer, bring your own. It’ll be easier to bring a full desktop than trying to get one in the science library.

Space likelihood: 4/10

Senate House

An art-deco monolith towering above the countless rows of terraced houses gives a strong sense of superiority to those who work inside. Compared to other libraries, you can almost always guarantee yourself a seat here at any time of the year – apart from exam season where unless you arrive before lunchtime you might as well turn back home.

There’s also sofas for the more relaxed

Compared to the more modern libraries which array seats in a mercilessly logical fashion, Senate House retains a quirky seating arrangement with single desks and alcoves crammed in willy-nilly, wherever there’s room. The more often you go to Senate House, the likelier you are to grab yourself a seat.

Space likelihood: 7.5/10

Cruciform Hub

Home of the medics and thus the worst place to try and get space. Not only is it one of the smallest libraries UCL has but it also hosts the largest course and the medics get angry when non-medics steal their seats.

Post-fire alarm – only the risk of death will move people.

You’ll probably complete 10 circles before you can get a seat, but persistence is key. And if there’s coat thrown over a chair, then you have to be vicious and take that seat. So many people leave for lunch and you’re sacrificing it in order to study. I think you’re more deserving. If you go after a fire alarm, you’ll find the hub empty. Such a common event though.

Space likelihood after fire alarm: 9/10

Space likelihood normally: 0/10