If you ask any of our MHC students which building on campus is their favorite, you can be sure that many (if not most) will say Williston Library. Our beloved on-campus library, Williston is often renowned for its gorgeous architecture and multitude of resources for both leisure and academic purposes. It has 6 accessible floors, each with its own charm and landmarks, making it hard to choose which one is the best. However, we can try, and this is the ranking I came up with, from worst (or should I say least best?) to best:
6) 3rd Floor
The third floor is the one that has the least to offer to MHC students. It is mostly stacks and shelves, with few clear windows, leading to quite a dark floor. Additionally, it only has one study room that is always full, which can be frustrating, since that’s a resource always in high demand. I have started to ignore its existence completely.
5) 7th Floor
The seventh floor is a nice one, arguably having the best study room on campus, the one with a large whiteboard and a huge window facing the Village Commons. It also has the Octagon Room, a very quiet and peaceful place to study with many comfy chairs and also very large windows. However, that’s where the windows stop. The rest of the floor is mostly devoid of windows, leading to a floor full of artificial lighting that can sometimes hurt one’s eyes. The lack of windows can lead to a more depressing environment, especially since the sun tends to set very early in South Hadley winters. Therefore, it is vital for inside environments to have windows that allow for us students to enjoy the little sunlight we can get when it’s too cold to stay outside. Additionally, the carrels on this floor are structured in a very odd way, once again with no nearby windows. It is also a floor that’s kind of hard to move around in; there is no connection between the South and North Stacks. You must go downstairs, then upstairs to switch, which can get tiring and inconvenient.
4) 5th Floor
Although this floor also arguably has lighting issues, that can be mended by the abundance of windows in each carrel and study room. The views may not be the best, but there is still access to the breeze, campus ambience, and natural lighting. Additionally, there are many different study rooms to choose from, with at least one always available. All of them have very comfy chairs, leading to a pleasurable study experience. However, it can be a little confusing to get there if you’re not familiar with the library architecture, as this floor only exists in the South Stacks — making it easy to get lost.
3) 4th Floor
The fourth floor is huge. Its main attraction is the marvelous Reading Room, filled with study spots that have both sturdy and comfy chairs, desks, printers, bookshelves, and even a bean bag room in case you need a nap. The Technology Help Desk area is lovely, with many computers whenever you need them and gorgeous windows in a lively environment, plus the puzzle room for some leisure. Speaking of leisure, the fourth floor is also home to the leisure reading section, a wonderful place to take a break from academic reading and pick up a YA novel just for fun. This floor also has numerous carrels with wonderful windows! It is connected to Dwight Hall, allowing for easy movement around campus and easy access to a great academic help resource: the SAW Center. Additionally, it is very easy to move around it since the South and North Stacks are connected. The stairs leading to this floor, besides being beautiful from an architecture standpoint, are home to one of my favorite campus traditions: the class-specific staircases. This floor is amazing. The only reason why it isn’t in second place is because I stay in the second-place floor more often, and I wouldn’t want to compromise the integrity of my very authoritative ranking.
2) 2nd Floor/Ground Floor
It took me some time to figure out that the “first floor” was actually the second floor. The second floor is a very charming one and a great introduction to Williston, with the gorgeous sculpture in the Atrium (which is also a great study area if you enjoy noise and movement in your study environment), the very helpful Circulation Desk, carrels (with and without windows), printers, The Frances Perk Cafe, and a bunch of wonderful study rooms that anyone can enjoy; there’s usually at least one open. The only “complaints” I have are, of course, the lack of windows in some carrels, the lack of visibility in many of the windows, and the lack of doors for a couple of the study rooms. Many complain about the absence of privacy in such rooms, and I agree; I usually only choose those when everything else is taken, but I always have a great time in them! They’re similar to a carrel, but bigger, so maybe we just have to give them a chance?
1) 6th Floor
The sixth floor is the best BY FAR. It is arguably the largest floor, perhaps a close second to the fourth floor, which means it has something for everyone to enjoy. This floor has an abundance of study rooms that could also be used as meeting rooms in addition to the most gorgeous carrels in the whole building with the most wonderful views. It also has the Stimson Room, a quiet and beautifully comfortable room for any of your academic needs or honestly just a nap. The North and South Stacks are connected in this floor, making it easy for you to move around, and in this inbetween stacks area, you find the Lounge, another comfy space for quiet, private studying. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of work you must do, there’s a Prayer and Meditation Area in the stacks. The main reason why this floor is the ABSOLUTE BEST is because of its windows. It has the most gorgeous views of campus and the Village Commons, with so much natural lighting that sometimes they don’t even need to turn on the lights. I often stay in those carrels all day, just getting all my work done and appreciating the lovely views of the wonderful college campus I am so blessed to attend.
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