The definitive guide to every floor of the Hartley Library

Have you ever cried, screamed, laughed and slept in a place other than home?


As the heart of Highfield, Hartley Library can range from the most depressing place during exam season to the ultimate social meet-up spot for you and your friends. The sheer size of the building is easily overwhelming when you’re new so here's a quick guide to explain the best places to sit.

First floor: The social hangout

The front of the floor could well become the social hangout for you and your friends, especially if you live in different accommodations. However, be prepared for work that would normally take you 30 minutes to suddenly take three hours. The distractions will fly at you thick and fast, so if you have a huge workload, I advise against working here.

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The back of first floor, like most of the floors, is much quieter. You can talk but at a loud whisper at most. Anything louder and be prepared for a multitude of shushing and evil glares.

Second floor – The most confusing one

It's almost as if it can't choose whether it wants to be silent or noisy. It has one of the quietest areas to work with not even a pin drop of noise. However, the café and entrance combined with the computer room can make it one of the noisiest floors.

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Students go here to take phone calls and eat. It makes no sense. At all. It’s easier just to accept the baffling nature of this floor and move on.

Third floor : The chameleon

I also refer to this floor as "two-faced" or "snake" as the way it can switch up its atmosphere is ridiculous. Third floor changes from being one of the quietest to one of the loudest depending on the mood, the people and the day.

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The small tables on the right are the perfect place for you and your friends to sit and do work while catching up. However, the rest of the floor tends to be quieter. You do get the odd talker, but, if you catch it at the right time, it can be the perfect combination of the two previous floors.

Fourth floor: The silent one

Personally, this is my favourite floor. It’s very quiet, but without the added pressure of fifth floor. You feel a sort of comfort when you glance to your neighbour and see the same helpless and stressed look on their face as they attempt to battle through coursework or revision. You’ll soon realise what I mean.

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Fifth floor: The dissertation floor

Students on this floor are "the serious ones". If you breathe too loud, it's like a scene out of Mean Girls where the glares you get are enough to make you hold your breath and want to curl up into a ball.

Do not attempt to even open any kind of food packet because people will act like you've set off an explosive.

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It is the perfect place to get work done and most people prefer it because of the eerie silence. You don’t have to be fearful of any distractions because of it’s deathly quiet.

A quick tip for exam season

Throughout the year, fourth floor and fifth floor tend to get packed quickly. However, exam season is a completely different story. Your best bet is to either get to the library early in the morning (i.e. before 9:30) or later on in the evening (past 6pm) to get a seat. Trying to go during the day is impossible because every crook and crevice has been occupied by someone.