• Fri. Dec 8th, 2023

The definitive guide to Edinburgh University’s libraries

ByIssy Powell

Apr 28, 2019

Exam season is looming once again, and the main library has begun to fill up. During busy periods of the semester there often seems to be a lack of study-space on campus. However, many subjects have their own libraries and, although the books are subject specific, they are open to students of all disciplines to study in. Here are some reviews for lesser-known libraries to try around campus:

Art and Architecture – Minto House:              2 / 5

The main room has an impressive ceiling but, in general, this library is a little shabby. Tables are basic and grouped together between bookshelves; there’s only 5 or 6 computers so grab a seat by the wall for a plug socket. Downstairs is a small room which could be used for group projects or studying with friends. Although small, this library isn’t very popular so there are always seats available.

9am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm weekdays, closed at weekends

Theology Library – New College:                    4 / 5

It’s hard not to feel a sense of Edinburgh’s history when you’re sat at the old-fashioned wooden desks of New College library. The walls are decorated with oil paintings and the windows are stained glass. Furthermore, the heavy, leather chairs ensure a comfortable study experience. Needless to say, this library is very well maintained; quiet and focused, it has a studious atmosphere. Sadly, there are no computers and no food or hot drinks are allowed.

9am – 6pm weekdays, 12 – 5pm weekends

Evolution House – Edinburgh College of Art:                3 / 5

If you like minimalistic spaces, this could be the one for you. The best seats are by the floor to ceiling windows, next to the road. Unfortunately, as you move further into the room, there isn’t much natural light and it feels rather stark – it’s also deadly silent. You’re likely to find a seat though: there’s a number of computers and the spacious work surface runs around the edges of the room. Although food is not allowed in the library, it can be eaten elsewhere in the building.

9am – 10pm weekdays, 12 – 5pm weekends

(New) Law Library – Old College:                                4.5 / 5      

The DHT library has closed but the new law library more than makes up for it. It’s split over three floors and has multiple rooms to choose from: The Lower Ground floor has computers and a surprising amount of natural light, whilst the other levels have groups of study spaces, split between bookshelves. The desks are well sized, and the tasteful lighting lends a cosy feel. The most impressive room is the ground floor wing, with bold red walls and a lofty ceiling; long tables with individual lighting create a conducive working atmosphere. Although the most popular library listed, it has the biggest capacity and plenty of space. Sadly, no food or hot drinks are allowed.

9am – 10pm weekdays (Friday 7pm close), 9am – 5pm Saturday, 12- 5pm Sunday

Moray House Library – Dalhousie Land                          3.5 / 5

Although Moray House might be off the beaten track for most students, the library is surprisingly pleasant. There are heaps of computers and a large silent study area. Unfortunately, desks are either on the mezzanine or lower ground floor, rather than being dispersed throughout the library. However, covered hot drinks are permitted so you can keep yourself sustained whilst you study.

9am – 10pm weekdays, 12 – 5pm weekends

Not only do these alternative libraries often have plenty of seats available but many of them are much nicer than the main library. After trying the Law Library, there’s no going back to George Square.


N.B. All libraries close an hour earlier on Fridays.


Image: Kangarooth via Wikimedia Commons

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