Choose Your Study-Dungeon: An Introduction to Cornell’s Libraries

Cornell is home to more than a dozen libraries. With so many to choose from, your choice of library depends as much what you’re looking for as on what kind of person you are: every single one has a personality of its own.


Uris Library has been dubbed “Club Uris” by students who can make light of the fact that, on any given Sunday through Thursday night, the Cocktail Lounge is the place to be (cocktails not included).

Uris Library is directly adjacent to McGraw Tower. Along with Olin, it houses thousands of books, and plenty of carrels and quiet places in which to read them. Uris Library is open 24 hours a day, Sunday through Thursday. You read that right: students can make their party rounds and then get right back to Club Uris to burn the midnight oil with some after-hours studying. With 24-hour access, why bother paying rent? Bring a sleeping bag and a toothbrush, and you’re set!

Olin and Kroch

For those looking for more of a lounge than a club, Olin Library may be the place for you. Although in use at all hours of the night like its neighbor Uris, Olin still keeps its doors open up to 2 a.m. Olin has its other charms, too: it is one of Cornell’s primary research libraries, complete with its own periodical room. The Amit Bhatia Libe Café on the main level is home to Iced Skim Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte (or, as Libe employs say it, “The Long Island”) and the best chocolate brownies in the Finger Lakes.

The decor in Olin is newer and homier than it is at Uris, but a word to the wise: get there early. On a Saturday morning, you might find a line of eager students waiting to get the best seating spots next to the windows. Attached to Olin is Kroch Library, which houses both the Asia Collections and the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. Be aware: any noise above a whisper here is verboten.


One of the steady workhorses of Cornell’s libraries is Mann, which serves the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Human Ecology. Mann sits on the far side of the Ag Quad. Its ends-of-the-earth location, made worse by Ithaca’s cold winter weather, makes studying there a trek too far for some students, but the more determined recommend its spacious halls for this very reason. Maybe it’s worth the trip just to get a tasty drink or treat from Manndible Café in the front lobby. The café, however, does not accept Big Red Bucks, like everywhere else worthwhile in life.


Carpenter Hall houses a 24/7 study space, and as you would expect, it has an enormous computer lab. Libraries are constantly available for research help via the virtual library.


With its beautiful arched ceiling, the Law Library in Myron Taylor Hall has been compared to Hogwarts Castle. But beware: all those serious law students like their peace and quiet.


Catherwood Library, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations Library, located in Ives Hall, is a daytime hotspot with new furnishings.


The students in the School of Hotel Administration may spend much of their time in “real world” learning situations, but even they need to study, too. The Nestlé Library in Statler Hall’s Marriott Student Learning Center has assembled the largest collection of hospitality academic resources in the world, and it has a more social atmosphere than the typical study space.

Fine Arts

The Fine Arts Library can be found on the third floor of Rand Hall, and it’s open until 11 p.m. fie days a week. It offers the greatest concentration of resources on some of Cornell’s more creative fields: the practice and history of art, architecture, and city and regional planning. AAP students can borrow tons of equipment for multimedia production and presentations, like cameras, tripods, light kits, backdrops, digital audio recorders, speakers, microphones and more.

Off the Beaten Path

Though some specialized spaces such as the Physical Sciences Library were closed due to budget cuts, remaining facilities include libraries for Africana studies, management and math. In Lincoln Hall’s Music Library, a curious student can peruse resources and listen to recordings of musicians from The Beatles to Tupac Shakur.

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