Library lovers never go to bed alone

The VAIO bailed out since the beginning of the semester, and thus begin an escalation of my time (and life) spent in the library for computer screens.

Now that i had decided upon the fateful decision to become permanent resident of the McGill library, it was taken up to task to make the experience as advantageous to me as possible. I hereby will jot down a somewhat rough  guide on Redpath library, based on personal experiences, to make you amateurs who are planning to lose your library virginity (i. e all nighters in the library) weep with gratitude.


Redpath library can quickly resemble a shopping mall during exam season, especially when now it is open 24 hours. Most of the time you”ll discover that students are more attracted to the allure of studious nature of the tagline ‘library opening 24 hours’ rather than studying itself. Evidence is aplenty if one just take a brisk walk downstairs, to the cafeteria, and there you’ll see it–twenty year olds shouting (chatting) uncontrollably, in groups of four to seven, mostly competing on who’s exam schedule more ghastly than the other counterparts and the usual  ‘my life sucks’ barrage of whines. If you go on with your business and come back a couple of hours later ( i steal my supply of hot water from Tim Hortons), there will be the possibility of the same group of people still sitting on the same spot talking, perhaps with a  different display of condiments (now a Tim Horton’s Maple Boston Cream). On other occasions, it will the same person, with a different group now, talking and hanging out with each other. Cant you SEE? Library is the coolest hangout place at this point, with the 24 hours cafeteria opening hours certainly not helping. Henceforth, if someone claim ” yeah, i spent 12 HOURS in the library, my life SUCKS! ” please do not be all aghast and taking it literally.  One should reserve some sympathy still,  but most of the time, students don’t sit down for solid 12 hours in the library. 3 hours is spent in the cafeteria, another 2 will be on youtubing, another 1 will be the short trips to the washroom ( ill take on the issue of washrooms later).

Avoiding mayhem

Perhaps you’ll find a cozy , super comfortable spot, with outlets and huge tables. Bear in mind, the chances are, other students will find that spot cozy, super comfortable spot , with outlets and huge tables as well. And herein lies the race of who gets there first.  I personally refuse to take part in this race, however awesome that spot is, because i find it mentally lethargic and ridiculous. So why not go to places which repels attention. I personally liked the computer labs near the printers and reception desk, for its huge tables, high ceiling, outlets under the tables, and the most temperate temperature in the whole wide library world. The only drawback is, one of the many reason why people avoid the place is because it gives off an officious air (it looks like a classrooom), has staid furnitures, everybody can see what you’re doing on the screens as if some class is going on in there and you wouldn’t want to disturb it. It is also mostly filled with students from the older demographics, lending a more serious air to it. It is also the only place with fans, whereby i find that subtle hum somehow encouraging focus and silence, like a soothing meditation hym.


One can easily lose faith on the future of humanity upon entering washrooms during  peak exam season. Really, spare yourself the agony.  The library has THREE floors. Go for a little walk one flight stairs up and you might find a gem– washrooms only the library staff uses, brimming with toilet paper and flushes so beautifully you’ll cry.

Logging on for hours

The annoying part when logging on a school computer is when you’re away for a coffee break, you have to  log on all over again.

Handy trick:  Get a heavy object( i use my heavy pencil case). Place it on the mouse –as if nonstop click. Leave it there. You can thank me later after you jump for joy .


The hardest part of the library is not the misery, its the loneliness. That is why, sometimes one sees an influx of facebook statuses up when people are nerding it up the library. It is very easy to get lonely and then bored. I found out that, althought quipping to a  facebook friend might be a good outlet, talking to a real friend is a much a better option. Especially if your friend is also nerding it up in the library. Its somewhat a relief to think, that you’re not alone in this endeavour ( some might call it a sacrifice of comforts), and not only you’ll thank the person, THAT person is most likely is thankful to you as well. It removes the misery somehow, keeps you focused as one encourage each other to work hard, and also an invisible promise is made. We’re in this together, so dont let each other down, im watching your back kind of thing, and if we behave, lets do lunch.

I would like to personally emphasize this point because it was a hell of a Eureka discovery for me.  Talk to a real person. Honestly, it’ll do good for the morale.

Or if you’re reaaaly that desperate :

All Nighter Code of Ethics.

Congratulations, you decided that an all nighter is a necessary evil to ensure your work is completed. Let us go back to the basics. What is the purpose of an all nighter? To sleep less. This rule doesnt apply for the allnighter of making the deadline. Its for those who do all nighters for studying. If you are going to sleep the next morning from 8.00 till 3.00 pm, that is not an all nighter, that is just a shift of your normal sleeping schedule. Dont brag in front of me if you’re having an “all nighter” if you do that, i’ll sue you for the breach of Code of All Nighter Ethics.

Kiddies, if you’re looking for a place to sleep a couple of hours after an exhausting all nighter, go to SSMU building and head to the 4th floor (Opens at 7:00 am). There are sprawling sofas up there, there is minimal human traffic and you’ll thank the Gods for the silence. The gender friendly bathrooms on the same floor is also useful for brushing your teeth in the morning, (or making ablution for Fajr), because you have the whole washroom to yourselves.

Dearie me, im such a first class tramp.

All in all, this might sound depressing, but the library holds  a special place in my heart. I dont even care no matter how sad that sentence sounds. I cried in there, i laughed in there, i made fateful decisions in there, made strong friendships, made meals in there(one can do wonders with the microwave downstairs) and spilled coffee on the keyboards.

Good luck 🙂

Video description: Me finding books at McLennan library which utilizes the SaveSpace Technology for the shelves. It’s really cool.

P/s: before finding outlets on the walls, look under your table first to see if there is any.

P/s/s: If the chair is too low for you, and there is no physical device that adjust the heights in sight, try looking for a button-ish device, something you can press on.



  1. anem · December 29, 2010

    I have to admit that I owe you big time for introducing me to that computer room. (I remember it was the night where we’re doing the first EMC assignment together). Totally changes my view towards library (and my life during the whole semester too).

    Thanks Farah. Big thanks.

  2. Lil · January 7, 2011

    which computer room??

  3. Irving Tan · January 18, 2011


    Hope you’re well, wherever you are!!

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