Photograph by Ibrahim Azad (’23)
Hidden Gems

Secret study spaces

Students seek out low-key spots during Carrier renovation

Nearly a year into the reconstruction of Carrier Library, numerous students have been left without their usual study spots. Many Dukes have turned to places like Rose Library and the Student Success Center, but these spaces can feel too crowded and noisy. That’s why some students have turned to more unique locations around campus.

Sophomore Alexis Dobberstein has found success studying on the second floor of Holland Yates Hall, directly outside the Center for Global Engagement. She discovered the space about a year ago while waiting for a meeting with a study-abroad adviser and has been using it ever since.

The Center for Global Engagement lounge inside Holland Yates Hall is among some lesser-known study areas that students enjoy during the Carrier Library renovation.
(Photo: By Julia Weaver (’21))

“Holland Yates Hall isn’t a building that holds undergraduate classes, and it’s on the edge of campus, so students may not know it has places to sit and study,” Dobberstein said.

Although she used it before Carrier Library closed, her time there has increased tenfold this academic year. “There aren’t many students there, so I always know I’ll get a table or spot and that it won’t be too loud,” she said.

Students looking for some of that Carrier charm can find it on the main floor of The Union, which has the large wooden table once housed in the library.

Students study at The Union.
(Photo: Courtesy of The Union)

When considering study spots on campus, students might not think of the basement of Moody Hall. But for third-year Kelly Simon, it’s one of the best spots on campus. “There are two hallways, each with an indented space in the wall. It’s the perfect size for one person to sit and study,” Simon said.

She said it’s a hidden gem for the simple fact that many students don’t have classes in the basement of Moody. “Last semester I needed somewhere to get my work done before my Psychology class, [and] since Carrier was closed and many other places on campus were filled with students, I thought I would go see if my classroom was open early. When the room wasn’t open, I looked around the basement and found this spot,” Simon said.

Students have been finding new study spaces around JMU.
(Photo: By Ibrahim Azad (’23))

Prior to Carrier Library’s renovation, fourth-year student Julia Delaney frequented its “secluded and private” stacks. “Imagine your own cubicle where there were, at most, five other people. It felt like my own personal study space that was close enough to where else I needed to go on campus.”

Being in the stacks was like a little getaway, she said. “I liked having my own little spot because it felt like my own little corner of campus. It became part of my daily routine. The third floor of Carrier was the silent floor, but most of the time, the stacks were even quieter.”

Sometimes open classrooms offer great study spots.
(Photo: By Ibrahim Azad (’23))

Now that the stacks are gone, Delaney has changed her routine. “When it’s nice out, I like to sit outside in the Adirondack chairs that line the buildings on the Quad. When it’s colder out there and I want or need to be inside, the second floor of Harrison Hall has benches and chairs back by the faculty offices.”

With warmer weather on the way, students are sure to flock to outdoor spaces across JMU’s campus. Though the Quad is tough to beat, don’t sleep on the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, a woodland sanctuary with plenty of spaces for study.

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