Iowa State study spot breakdown


By Jack McClellan

Parks Library photographed from it’s southern face

Iowa State is home to plenty of study spots for students waiting between classes, looking for a quiet place to get some work done or even just to relax. Students told the Daily the two most popular spots are the Student Innovation Center and Parks Library, but what draws students to each of these locations?

Allison Chappell, a freshman in pre-graphic design, said she prefers the Student Innovation Center for a variety of reasons, one of which is the seats along the steppatorium.

“I feel like the library has a lot more people in it than in [the Student Innovation Center], and I find it awfully hard to find a spot in the library,” Chappell said. “And if I’m with friends or something, I don’t have the pressure to be super quiet like in the library.”

On top of the variety of volumes accepted in the Student Innovation Center, some students also prefer the Student Innovation Center simply because of the newer and fresher appearance. Ryan McFadden, a freshman in computer engineering, said the vibe of the Student Innovation Center helps him feel more productive.

“It’s really new and bright, and I especially like the balcony area at night,” McFadden said. “That’s kind of a favorite spot, but it’s nice to have the whiteboards and everything for math and stuff.”

Both the Student Innovation Center and the library house a variety of small rooms which are available to students looking for a private place to study or a venue for a group session. While the rooms in the library must be reserved before use, rooms in the Student Innovation Center are more accessible for students without reservations.

“The rooms are hard to find because I don’t usually reserve them; I just try to walk into a room that’s green,” said Advaith Thimmancherla, a sophomore in computer engineering. “A lot of times, about half the time, the rooms are reserved and the other half people are already in there. So, it is a bit hard to find rooms.”

Boston Gilpin, a senior in animal science, said the rooms in the library were a bit easier to reserve, especially for scheduled events like tutoring sessions.

“I’ve reserved [rooms in the Student Innovation Center] before, but I think it’s easier to go over to [Parks Library] because you don’t have to go email someone or do an application and wait for them,” Gilpin said. “You can just immediately reserve a room as long as it’s available. So, I would say it’s easier here.”

Thimmancherla also said the usability of the Student Innovation Center depends on the time of day and the general amount of traffic.

“I think the library is usually very busy during the day,” Thimmancherla said. “The Student Innovation Center is also kind of busy, but there are not as many people. I just think it’s a nicer place to study.”

While some people do prefer the Student Innovation Center, the library is not without its benefits, between the artistic works around the library, the plethora of space and the amenities like access to computers and printers.

“[Parks Library] is quiet. It’s an easy place to focus. I also really like the windows; there’s a lot of light; it makes me feel like I’m not just in a dark room all day,” said Eleen Mohd, a junior in software engineering. “I always find that [the Student Innovation Center] is super packed, though. And then in [Parks Library], there’s a lot more seating.”

On top of preferences between scenery, Mohd said she often struggles to find a good place to work at the Student Innovation Center. Many other patrons of the library stick around solely for the convenience of its location. Still, more students used the library while waiting for classes or tutoring sessions.