How To Survive A Library Study Session

It’s a Sunday afternoon in the middle of the Easter holidays, and here I am, in the library, working on my essays and dissertation. Welcome to the third year.

During the course of your Sociology degree (or indeed, any degree), you will have a lot of essays to write. And every now and again, you may decide that you want to work somewhere away from the constant repetition of Zayn Malik’s new album from your next door neighbour , the sound of crashing as your flatmate breaks their seventh plate in a month or away from the ice cream that’s constantly calling your name from the freezer.

Well, my friends, there is a place…



The library at the University of York doesn’t just contain books to aid your work: it’s perfect for working without the distractions which are so common in student accommodation. It consists of three buildings with varying zones of noise: silent zones for those who prefer complete silence when they study, quiet zones for those who prefer not to have distractions but do not necessarily want complete silence and studious buzz zones for those who like vibrant working environments or who are working on group projects or presentations (it’s also in these studious buzz zones that you’ll also find the beanbags, comfy spinning chairs and sofas). Each area contains a number of plug sockets, comfortable chairs, easy access to toilet, water and vending machine facilities for all your long-stay library needs. There are also study rooms that you can book online, so you can guarantee a seat even during peak library times during exam and deadline seasons. The library is also open 24 hours per day, so whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, the library will always be at your service.

So, how do you stay at the library to study for long periods of time without losing your cool? Here is my definitive guide of what you need for a productive and non-stress-filled library session…

SAM’S LIBRARY SURVIVAL GUIDE (with a helpful diagram made on Microsoft Paint)


  1. A laptop/computer

If it’s an essay you’re working on, you’ll first need something to write it on (obviously). If you don’t have one of your own, the library has laptops you can borrow, or, alternatively, you can use one of many of the computers in rooms and areas dotted all around the library. You can also use your laptop/computer (or any other internet-enabled device) to check the availability of any book in the university library system, saving you the time of checking the shelf only to see that it has already been taken out later. The university-wide wifi system, eduroam, also provides fast internet connection to minimise the length of time it will take for you to find research articles and books, meaning there’s more time for you to just get on with the work at hand.

2. The charger for your laptop

For obvious reasons.

3. Library books on your essay subject

While researching your work- whether it’s for an essay, dissertation or exam revision- it’s very useful to search for aspects of your topics on the YorSearch library tool to see if there are any available books which will be of interest to your piece. Remember; the more widely you read, the better your work will be!

4. A water bottle

It’s important to keep hydrated when working, so don’t forget to bring a water bottle. There are a number of water fountains in the library where you can refill them too, so you can rest assured that you’ll never go thirsty when you’re on a study session. Alternatively, there are vending machines in several places around the library – so if you prefer to work while drinking Pepsi, you have the opportunity to do so.

5. Snacks

It’s also important to snack while study in order to maintain your energy levels and keep you concentrating on the task at hand. Check the requirements of the study area you are going to as to what snacks you are bringing, however: although cold food is fine in most of the areas, some parts ask you not to bring in hot foods or drinks – bad news for lovers of Pot Noodles. There are also a number of vending machines dotted around the library, as well as a library cafe serving sandwiches, fruit, snacks, freshly cooked hot meals and baguettes, as well as many other exciting foods. Additionally, the campus supermarket Nisa is less than a minute’s walk from the library for a wide selection of snacks (the 3 for £1 offer on Kit Kat Chunkies in first year aided many a late-night study session).

6. Music Player/iPod

Not everybody works well with music, but if you enjoy listening to the Beatles or Lady Gaga while learning about the development of the prison system then these are a handy addition to a library study session. However, once again, it’s important to check the requirements of the area you are going to, as some ask that you do not have your music loud enough to be heard in the surrounding area.

7. A Memory Stick

Particularly important if you’re using a university computer and have your work in different places – but also important if you’re using a laptop as you never know when it’s going to give up on you. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

8. Something to have a break with

Even though you’re in a public working environment, you still need to take breaks or will lose the will to work very quickly. Whether it’s a kindle, your phone, a colouring book or even money so you can buy a coffee and a cake in one of the on-campus cafes, it’s important not to push yourself too hard and give yourself some time to relax in between periods of work.


So there’s how to survive a study session at the University of York library.

Hope revision is going well!


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Hello and welcome to the life of a Sociology student at the University of York! I'm Sam and i'm a third year studying Sociology with Criminology.