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How to Live in the Library: A Law Student’s Guide to Coping in Silence

Belle from Beauty and the Beast

With exams approaching, the inevitable cramming sessions are just around the corner. While you can always study at home, university libraries provide the forced silence and can guilt a student into studying. If everyone else is studying, you will too… right?

Why the library?

I haven't been to your house but I’m sure it’s not entirely conducive to kicking legal ass. First of all, you probably live with other people, making it difficult to justify working solo late into the night when others are chilling in front of the TV with a beer. Libraries, on the other hand, are filled with people who are in the same situation: desperately trying to get through the assigned work.

Picking your spot

Even if your trusty MacBook Pro provides 8 hours of battery, it’s always a good idea to find a study spot in reach of a power point. If your library is anything like mine, power points will be in short supply, so if you’re not afraid of the additional nerdiness, take an extension cord or power board – you’re bound to make some new friends!

What you’ll need

I learnt the hard way that taking notes and textbooks for all subjects doesn’t result in a productive study session. Instead, it creates confusion and distraction. By choosing a single subject to work on, you’re forced to knuckle down and get it done.

Be sure to bring snacks to fuel your brain as the day (or night) wears on. If you’ve got great snacks you won’t have to resort to expensive and unhealthy vending machine options. Try to stick with healthy food, like nuts and fruit, but there is certainly nothing wrong with a little sugar! If nothing else, don’t forget a water bottle.

If you’re planning on a long session of study, consider taking some headache tablets, tissues, and a jumper. There’s nothing worse than getting a runny nose just as you’re getting your head around the finer points of equity!

If you’re planning on surviving the exam season it might be helpful to consider taking some antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser to the library. Think about all the people who use the desks and how infrequently they are cleaned. What’s the point of getting your nerd on if you’re only going to end up sick during exams?


The library is a scary place for the uninitiated. While everyone else is studying (or pretending to), there are plenty of distractions around. Fire up iTunes and plug in your earphones so you can tune out. Turn the phone off or put it on silent and try to stay away from Facebook. If your friends are also working in the library, try not to turn it into a social session.

If you’re going to be in the library all night, it’s going to be a long, lonely evening. Don’t be afraid of giving yourself regular breaks; just make sure the breaks don’t become longer than your study time!

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