No, Lamont is not the only library worth your time. (Also, if you’re anything like us, you’ll find that there’s a weird af smell that is always present there that gets particularly strong around finals season. Maybe it’s the smell of desperation. Seems legit.) Yes, Harvard librarians seem kinda intense—one of us got busted for having Halloween candy in a bag, even though we were not eating it, thank you very much—but you gotta get out a little bit, man. Try something new. Here are a few places to stop at, sit in, and never leave.
Yeah, okay: lots of grad students, people whose looks could kill when you dare to let out the tiniest of coughs, intimidating librarians who don’t seem to smile. But you can’t deny that Widener has style. Those floors! Those comfy chairs! Those high ceilings! (The weird lamps in the middle of the tables!) If you need absolute silence to make sure that your paper gets written, and you want to experience what all those tourists wish they could, come here. At least once. No, sex in the stacks does not count as a visit.
One word: maps. Lots of them. In case you were curious about fifteenth-century ones that are now relics of a time when Europeans thought that the Caribbean was part of India, this is the place to go. Not necessarily a study spot, but rather a place to go when you’re bored. If you’re ever bored, that is. Either way, you should go. Also, this place is underground, in that sunken-earth-looking area near Lamont. It’s not a pit housing the bodies of overworked-STEM students. It’s an actual library.
Houghton is right outside Lamont, in that building that often gets overlooked but that is still very much part of the campus landscape. They have rotating exhibitions on cool things that both undergrads and grad students are working on as part of theses or dissertations. Your professor might even take you on a fun, “optional” outing. So like, if you don’t have a class on Friday and you prof is like “come see this cool thing,” you should probably go since we know that, realistically, you won’t ever visit on your own. It’s fine.
Typically, most people come here if they’re East Asian Civilizations or Languages concentrators, or if they’re taking an Ec10 midterm. But you can be cool, beat the non-existent crowd, and check out the narrow shelves. There’s a dope auditorium where people actually have class. Yes, it’s on Divinity Ave., which means it’s not in the Yard, but it’s good to get out of the bubble. Sort of.