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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Eight great places to study on University of Michigan's campus

By Kellie Woodhouse


Inside the Rackham Reading Room.

Angela J. Cesere |

The end of the semester is upon us, and University of Michigan students are hunkering down and cramming for finals.

Out of the hundreds of places to study on U-M's Ann Arbor campus (yes, hundreds) has picked eight study spots that students say are conducive to a variety of studying needs. Whether you prefer silence and solitude or the hustle and bustle of crowds, there's a place on this list for you.

We know there are several great places to study on campus, so feel free to add your favorite in the comments section below.


The Pretcher Laboratory at the School of Education

Angela J. Cesere |

Prechter Laboratory

Don't let the "laboratory" part fool you. There are no beakers full of chemicals here. Instead, several spacious tables and chairs are arranged in this room, which has soaring windows and high ceilings. It's probably one of the best-kept-secrets on campus, as far as an isolated study spot.

"It's generally extremely quiet and there's huge windows," said social work graduate student Melanie Dark. According to Dark, there's not usually more than three or four people studying in the large room at a time.

Location: School of Education, room 2022

Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Closest coffee and snack option: The building is right across the street from the Espresso Royale on East University Avenue.

Hatcher Graduate Library Reference Room

This room is usually pretty busy, but it's also very quiet. Library and information science graduate student Leigh Stutler says students flock to it because it's "pretty" and "dead quiet" at the same time. The room is classic Michigan, with huge windows and elaborate lighting and long study tables. Reference books line the walls and there's a large mural above one window. It's not a good spot for groups, though. Students who use the room are "really focused and intend on actually studying," Stutler says.

Location: Hatcher Graduate Library, second floor

Hours: 7 days a week, open to 2 a.m. most nights during finals. Check here for details

Closest coffee and snack option: There's a coffee shop in Shapiro Library, which is next door to the Hatcher Graduate Library.


Students study at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. file photo.

Davidson Winter Garden

This is a great spot for late-night studying and group study sessions. It's also a good place to go if you're getting the library blues and need some sunshine. The ceiling is one large skylight and huge windows let in a lot of sunlight. "I love this place, it's so open and light, which is nice when natural daylight is at a premium in the winter," said MBA student Elitza Barzacova.

Be warned, though, the spot is pretty popular. Hundreds of students filter in and out of the Stephen H. Ross School of Business each day, and many of them set up shop at one of the plush black leather sofas and chairs when studying. Freshman Cassandra Webb says the garden is her favorite place to study. She prefers to study in the presence of a crowd. "It's almost like a competitive thing, you see other people working hard and you want to, too," she said.

Location: Ross School of Business, first floor

Hours: 7 days a week, 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. most nights. Check here for details.

Closest coffee and snack option: Ross has a coffee shop on the first floor.

Rackham Reading Room

This is, perhaps, the perfect study spot. It's open to all students, but for some reason isn't quite as popular as the quiet study room in the Michigan Union or the reference and reading rooms at the Hatcher and law libraries. It boasts huge windows that soak the room in light and antique carpets and lighting fixtures that make you feel like you're studying in the jazz age (with a laptop, of course). Students have their pick between study tables dispersed throughout the room or plush leather chairs.

"It seems like a lot of people don't really know about it because it's never really crowded in there," says freshman Shanice Parson.

And while the reading room has a no talking, no cell phone rule, it's flanked by lounges on the east and west that are great for group study sessions.

Location: Rackham building, second floor

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m to 9 p.m.

Closest coffee and snack option: The Michigan League, across the street, has a coffee shop and fast food options.


Hatcher Graduate Library Reference Room.

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

Hatcher independent study rooms

If you really, really, really want to be alone, study in one of these rooms. There's dozens of them on the sixth floor of Hatcher Graduate Library, and each has a window with some of the best views of campus. The rooms are tiny, but there's a desk with enough room to sprawl out some papers and there's a plug for your computer and a rack for your coat.

"These windows make you feel like you could stay here forever," said Michele DeLia, a information science graduate student. "You don't feel like you're holed up in a library."

If you like the rooms a lot, you can reserve one for next semester. Students can reserve a room for morning, afternoon or evening each day for an entire semester. Most rooms, however, aren't reserved, so they're open to any student in any class.

Location: Hatcher Graduate Library, sixth floor

Hours: 7 days a week, open to 2 a.m. most nights during finals. Check here for details.

Closest coffee and snack option: There's a coffee shop in Shapiro Library, which is next door to the Hatcher Graduate Library.


Students study at the University of Michigan Social Work library.

Angela J. Cesere |

Social Work Library

This is more a collaborative study place than an actual library. There are independent study desks for those who want to work alone and large tables for students working on group projects. Although it's in the basement of the Social Work building, large skylights brighten the room.

Graduate student Michael Stevens, an economics major, comes to the social work library to study because he likes the openness of the room, he said.

Location: School of Social Work, lower level

Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m to 10 p.m.

Closest coffee and snack option: The building is right across the street from the Espresso Royale on East University Avenue.

The Duderstadt Center

Three a.m. and you need to study? No problem. This is the place to go. Commonly referred to as "the dude," the center is open every day, all day. It houses the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library as well as the Digital Media Commons and has a coffee shop that stays open until 2 a.m. on weeknights. It's also a great place to go if you live on North Campus and need to get out of your dorm but don't feel like making the trek to central campus to study .

Location: Duderstadt Center, North Campus

Hours: Open 24-7

Closest coffee and snack option: The Mujo Cafe, located in the Duderstadt Center, serves coffee and snacks.

The Reading Room

We would be remiss if we didn't mention what is probably the most renown study spot on University of Michigan's campus: The law school reading room. The cathedral-like room is famous for its grandeur, which can be found in its huge stained glass windows and wrought iron chandeliers. However, the law school has limited its availability to non-law students this year and there are certain times when it's available only to law students.

Location: First floor of Legal Research Building, Law Quad.

Hours: 8 a.m. - midnight

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

Hey thanks for the roadmap for non student thieves to know where to go shopping!


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

I always liked the League itself - cozy alcoves, good lighting, food court and snack shop.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

I didn't go to school here, but do you know what would "grind my gears?" Some random online paper listing my favorite study spots. ERRRrrrrr.........

Kellie Woodhouse

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

@marguerite. The School of Social Work Library is in the lower level of the SSW building. It exists as a place students can use computers (they can even check out laptops from the library desk), but there have been no books in the library since 2009. Take a look here for more information: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> @Atleast and cgerben You're right. The building I meant to refer to is the Michigan League Thanks for reading! I had fun writing this article.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

At the risk of being redundant the Social Work Library as a UM library branch was closed in 2009 but library services for social work students are available at Hatcher Graduate Library, Shapiro Undergraduate Library, Taubman Health Sciences Library and, of course online from anywhere. The space where the library was located is now a commons area for study and socializing. It is an excellent place to study but unless a book or journal is available online you will have to go to location library. The School of Social Work is updating its web site so the link given above is incorrect. This is yet another example that everything you can find on the web is not necessarily true! UM Social Work Librarian

Rachel Yerkey

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

There are Social Work reference books still available, but not to check out. Also, the laptops are only for SSW students. It also tends to get really cold in the basement down there! I really like the Dana Building- it tends to be pretty quiet and has some nice design features.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

People should share this article with every Umich undergrad they know! I agree that the lower level of the SWB is a great place to study (and has been ever since the building was constructed); however, Marguerite is correct that it hasn't existed as the Social Work Library since 2009. Both the collection and services were integrated into the larger MLibrary. If there is a service desk there for checking-out laptops, it is probably run through Social Work's AV dept; not the library.

Andy Price

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

I am starting grad school there next month. Thanks for this. :)


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

social work library closed in the fall of 2009.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

Many university buildings are open to the public so that could include the homeless. You can bring a back pack in the library and fall asleep at a table, but if you bring in your portable cot, you'll likely get evicted.