An overview of the best libraries in London!
London has a wide variety of incredible environments in which a student can find useful resources for their studies, libraries are a huge part of that and when looking for studying resources, should not be avoided. With the exam season nearing, it is time to reveal the best libraries in London, which will provide you with the perfect atmosphere for revision, as well as for research. The libraries listed here are free to visit, and most of them provide free Wi-Fi and plug sockets which is useful for laptop users. When visiting, do keep in mind that these places are used by many, and can be incredibly busy, so try to get there early in order to be as productive as possible.
Let us begin looking at the Canada Water Library. With its modern and stylish design, it offers multiple activities for students, such as creative writing groups and reading groups. This will help relieve stress and allow you to enjoy literature at its finest. The library provides rooms designated specifically for studying, which will certainly keep you motivated. For those who are studying the creative arts, a Culture Space is provided, where you can hire space for yourself, or become a member of the audience and relax.
The next library you should definitely visit is the British Library, although this is quite an obvious choice for students. The library has a huge scale of sources to be used, with a variety of subject matters and friendly staff to aid you with what you’re looking for. The age of the texts provided by the library is astonishing, ranging from letters of Henry VIII to the books of Ian McEwan. The library is accompanied by an exhibition space which makes room for a relaxing break in your studies at the library’s reading rooms. In the surrounding area, there is a range of restaurants and cafes for food lovers, which the library provides directions to. If you do plan on visiting this library, I do suggest you spend a lot of your time there, as there is an overwhelming amount of resources to appreciate fully.
For film lovers, or media students, the Mediatheque at BFI Southbank is worth visiting. This place provides booths in which you can discover films and shows for free. However, do note that the space is quite limited, so I urge you to book a booth in advance of your visit. The catalogue of films and TV shows is provided online, so you can easily find out what it is that you want to see. The video sources range from the first episodes of Sherlock, to recordings of the Olympics. When you there requiring a break from this entertaining experience, an eatery with reasonable prices is also provided, with excellent service and a view onto the river.
If you are a student of history, it would be worth your while to visit the National Archives based in Richmond. In advance, you can research through their catalogue and reserve the items you want to see when you arrive. Along with archives of family trees, a museum, as well as an image library are available to public. If you are researching public records, papers or publications, this place provides just that under high security, so do prepare to take some time with those checks. Desks are available for studies in the library, and a café is also worth visiting when in need of a break.
For the studies of the history of women, specifically focused on the 19th and 20th centuries, the Women’s Library is filled with historical sculptures to set the mood, as well as a quiet working space. However, this is a very busy library, so make sure to book a study booth in advance so that you don’t have to watch the time ticking closer to your deadlines. The library has a wide amount of information on women throughout history and includes pamphlets, protest banners, magazines, diaries and much more. The library also has a museum, which will enhance your history studies. /font>
Those interested in theatre and drama should certainly visit the Bush Theatre, which is a replacement for the Shepherd’s Bush Public Library. It keeps the building’s history alive and provides a café, as well as a play library for the public to enjoy. In the sunny days, I recommend that you visit the cosy garden provided there. The area is very relaxed, so you can certainly entertain yourself by seeing a play, or just reading one. For those with creative minds, creative workshops are also available if you want to expand your knowledge of theatre or playwright.
There are many more places you should certainly visit for your studies, or simply to relax in a quiet space. From spending time in roof gardens of central London to Hatchards bookstores filled with sitting space, it is truly hard to distinguish between the best of spaces to study in. Although, those listed here certainly provide a variety of media to use for your studies, so make the most out of them!
Magdalena A. Kolodziej, 19. English Literature with Creative Writing student.