Skip to main content

How I Write and Learn

A Tutor’s Guide to Study Spaces on Campus : Davis Library

By Mary-Elisabeth, a Peer Tutor

It’s the beginning of the semester, and the brand new Tar Heels are finally arriving on campus! College can be an overwhelming change for students. It’s a really big adjustment from high school, and many students end up completely rethinking their high school study strategies. One thing I had to learn was how to effectively use the study spaces on campus. There are tons of spaces and places to study on campus and as a first-year, I found it super overwhelming. Now that I am a senior, I have utilized just about every single study space at UNC campus since I arrived my freshman year, so I figured that I would save incoming Tar Heels some of the trial-and-error that comes with finding the study space that is right for you. 

As a new student you might be wondering why the space you study in can be so important. What matters is the work itself, right? While the work definitely matters, I can’t put into words how helpful it is for me to be in a study space that aligns with my study style. Being in the right space can really help me focus and make the most of my study time. For instance, I am a studier that likes to be around people. Something about that environment really motivates me and helps me work better, so I try to study in places that are fairly populated. When I study in isolated spaces, I find myself getting distracted easier and having less accountability with myself.  

It is probably best to start this series with the unspoken rules of UNC’s largest and most popular library: Davis. To give you the best idea of what to expect in Davis, I am going to break down the unspoken rules floor-by-floor to help you make the most of this space! 

A four story brick building with large windowns in each corner facing the main campus.
Davis Library

Davis at a Glance

Davis is UNC’s biggest library, with eight floors and an impressive amount of spaces to study. Additionally,  Davis library has the most hours available for students to make use of the space. I opt to go to Davis more often than libraries with less accessible hours when I really need to crack down and study. It’s so helpful to know that there is a space available for late night study grinds during finals season. 

Davis is also situated centrally to campus, right in between Lenoir Dining Hall and the Student Union. This makes the library incredibly convenient to pop into between classes. Personally, I love to pop into Davis to get a bit of homework done when I have a break between classes. Its central location allows me to maximize my time during classes—I don’t really have to worry about my commute to any of my classes.

A hand drawn map of the center of UNC's campus. Map showing location of Davis Library relative to Lenoir Dining Hall (southwest), Carolina Union (east), The Pit (south east), Student Stores (southeast), and Polk Place (south)
Map showing location of Davis Library relative to Lenoir Dining Hall (southwest), Carolina Union (east), The Pit (south east), Student Stores (southeast), and Polk Place (south)

Floor One: 

My first year at Carolina, I quickly learned Davis’ first floor is for talking and collaborative work. As you go up each floor, the noise level goes down. If you take anything away from this post – remember that you can and should talk on the first floor of Davis. It is meant for collaborative study! I like to use the first floor for study sessions with my friends or organizing group project meetings. There are two large reading rooms with ample spaces to sit and work on the first floor. I like to switch-up where I am studying so I do not get too bored of one space, and the first floor provides that for me with its large range of seating options!

The first floor also houses the super helpful information desk and CCI printers! The information desk helps students check out whiteboard markers, provides chargers for electronics, and is generally available for any questions students might have. The CCI printers on the first floor are also super convenient and there are so many of them!. Davis has both color and black and white printers, so I know that I find myself printing in Davis all the time!

Floor Two: 

The second floor of Davis is still a collaborative space, but is definitely for quieter group work. I opt for the second floor for quiet study with friends. The atmosphere on the second floor keeps us from getting distracted by talking the whole time we study, but still allows us to chat when we want to take a break!

The second floor of Davis Library also houses some really great study areas and resources! A fantastic resource that can be found on the second floor is the Odum Institute. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Odum Institute is a social science research institute that can help students with different aspects of research on campus! 

Floors Three – Eight: 

Floors 3 through 8 are all relatively the same. The basic structure of these floors is as follows :i n the center of the floor, there are stacks of books, and on the perimeter there are 3 different types of study spaces. 

There are tables for quiet group or individual work, study carrels specifically for individual work, and study rooms for group work. These study rooms can be booked on the library website, and are great for group projects or just studying with friends. It is important to note that these rooms fill up very fast—so book your spaces well in advance! Finally, there are study lounges on each floor, typically located in the back right corner of the floor. These lounges are typically used for quiet study and have an assortment of tables and couches. 

Study Room in Davis Library. A beige room with a corner window. Inside the room is one circular, wooden table with four chair. Four more chairs are show around the room.
Study Room in Davis Library

Special Features 

Now, onto the special features on some of these floors! In the fifth floor lounge, there are fantastic treadmill desks where you can walk and work at the same time. I like to use these desks to get some exercise while I study, and it allows me to switch up my study routine every once in a while! The eighth floor also boasts some unique features: comfortable furniture and additional study lounges that I like to use for intense studying before big exams. 

Maybe Davis isn’t for you, and that is totally okay! Everyone has different, and totally valid, study needs! There is no perfect one-size-fits-all study location, but Davis has lots of great options that can fit with lots of different study styles.

I hope this breakdown of UNC’s most popular library has helped you feel a little less daunted by the space, and makes UNC feel a bit more familiar your freshman year. Once you know how to maneuver a study space, it can become a safe haven during stressful times on campus! 

The first floor entrance to Davis library. A large open space with a loft above. Elevators are seen along the left side with someone shown in the middle walking towards the exist. The space is brightly lit by large windows.
The first floor entrance to Davis library.

This blog showcases the perspectives of UNC Chapel Hill community members learning and writing online. If you want to talk to a Writing and Learning Center coach about implementing strategies described in the blog, make an appointment with a writing coach, a peer tutor, or an academic coach today. Have an idea for a blog post about how you are learning and writing remotely? Contact us here.

Comments are closed.