Hidden Secrets of the BPL

Let’s face it: Emerson College’s Iwasaki library is not the quietest place to work. From archaic printers churning out hundred-page movie scripts, to students complaining that Emerson doesn’t have access to any source materials worth using for a thesis paper (the struggle is truly real), there’s really no place to procure some quiet time. Even if you don’t go to Emerson, I’m sure you can relate to the struggle of being unable to find a serene space on-campus.

Keep calm, fellow Emersonians! There’s a place close to campus where you can go and not only do your work but grab a bite to eat and get cultured as well: The Boston Public Library.

The BPL is on Boylston Street, and is just a fifteen-minute walk from Emerson’s campus (perhaps a bit longer for you poor souls who live in paramount). This means you can get in your exercise without having to go to the gym; yay physical activity! On the way to the BPL, there are also a surplus of places to eat, so if you get hungry on the way, you can always stop by Panera or Chipotle for a quick food break.

Now, most people have probably seen this picture of Bates Hall, the main hall within the BPL:

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Here, there are rows upon rows of tables where people can come in and do their work. Personally, it’s my favorite place to go when I need to bang out an essay or do some reading for class. How cool is it to read The Iliad right below the spot where Homer’s name is etched into the ceiling, eh? Eh? Just a writing major thing? Anyways…

The BPL has a lot more to offer than just Bates Hall, books and free Wi-Fi, however. Here are some hidden secrets of the BPL that you can take advantage of:

  1. The Boylston, Elliot, and Washington rooms

The BPL has three other whole rooms you can do work in. Though much smaller in comparison to Bates Hall, these other three rooms provide quiet spaces with plentiful desk space. They’re also a good last resort if the library is packed, seeing as a lot of people don’t know, or simply forget about them.

  1. You can take out more than just books

This has been a life and money-saver at times, especially if you have a class that requires you to watch films for homework. The BPL rents out movies, video games, music, magazines, and newspapers, some of which you can access digitally if you can’t get to the library in time. You can see if the library has any material you’re looking for by searching for it on their website. In addition, if the BPL doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can request them to procure it for you through their Interlibrary loan, a service through which you can request media that the BPL doesn’t have.

  1. There’s a courtyard area with tables to do work
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I know it’s winter now, but trust me, when it’s warmer out, this area is super chill. There’s a fountain at the very center of the courtyard, which gives a really nice ambiance to the place. Though it can be a bit noisy at times, and you have to watch out for little dive-bombing birds, it’s a great place to do some casual work, or hang out with friends.

  1. The Map Room and Newsfeed Cafes

Each offers a little something different. The Map Room café is a bit quieter, and offers breakfast, lunch, and snack options. The Newsfeed Café, on the other hand, is usually a bit busier, and offers not only breakfast, lunch, and snack options, but also a $10 student dinner special with a valid student ID. I can assure you that the food options in these cafes are far superior to the dining hall options. One Garlic & Herb Roasted Sirloin, please!

  1. There are different events going on all the time

If you go to the BPL’s homepage, they list all the events going on for the current week. There are dozens of interactive workshops, talks, lectures, and readings that happen every day. There’s also a book discussion group that meets monthly; they post what book they’re reading for the month online and are always accepting new members. A majority of the events are free, so there’s all the more reason to attend!

I strongly encourage everyone to go to the BPL to do work any chance they get. The only drawback really is that you can’t have your water bottle on the table (seriously, the security guards will find you, and when they do, they will yell at you).  All in all, the BPL is a great place to go and be productive, and maybe eat a freshly baked muffin… or croissant.

Check out this map of the BPL for more information.

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