What your go-to Edinburgh University Main Library spot says about you

Ready to get back on the grind?


Now that (re)Freshers’ Week is over and the hangover has started to subside, some brave students will be preparing to fight their way through the Main Library’s barriers, or negotiate their way in past the strangely suspicious receptionists only to be confronted with the most important question – which floor should I go to? For those coming to the glorified multi-story carpark for the first time, let this be a warning: Your decision will shape your future, there is no changing your mind and it’s basically ride or die.

Here’s what your go-to Main Library spot says about you:

The Library Café

Be honest, you’re just here so that anyone stalking your Snap Maps thinks you’re hard at work in your dark academia era when you aren’t at all – I do love a baked potato though.

Ground floor desks

There’s only two possibilities I can think of for your decision here: You’re a fresher and you haven’t explored further, or it’s exam season and you had to bargain half your student loan and an Africano wrap to get a seat. Whichever it is – I believe in you and you’ll get to where you’re trying to in the end, but it’s certainly not here.

Study pods

The only forgivable space on the ground floor – the pods are an immaculate vibe no matter the amount of work you need to do. Whether you’re re-reading the same page for the fifth time because you were too busy watching the World Cup on TV, or you’ve just sat down with your eight pack of Redbull to fuel a group study sesh, you know you’re royalty in this place and you’re going to tell everyone about it on your next BeReal.

How it feels to find an empty pod during exam season

First floor

I have a soft spot for the first floor. It was where I began my library journey in first year and in fact, it’s where I’m writing this paragraph. It’s calm, gentle and sweet (if not a bit boring). Sometimes you need that though, so enjoy this sense of inner peace and know that you have achieved a distinct level of zen.

Truly shocked at the amount of empty seats in this picture

Second floor

This one is for Edinburgh’s indecisive queens. Are you going to be boring and go for the first floor, or stick your neck out and try to break into the third and fourth floor crowds? Neither…really?

Third floor

You have immaculate taste. Whether you’re looking out over the meadows, staring longingly at the Bruntsfield flats you definitely can’t afford, or people watching the hoards of coffee-wielding, faux fur-wearing girlies aimlessly walk around George Square pretending to be productive, it’s going to be a good time.

If you want to get your work done while also rediscovering the beauty of Scotland after a night stuck in Hive, go sit at one of the windows on the third floor, you won’t regret it.

The meadows & Bruntsfield – a student’s dream

Fourth floor

Everyone knows about the fourth floor. The silent judgement, the constant search for suitable match making Monday entries, and the singular pens left on tables to mark territory while the entire floor goes for an extended vape break. For some, it’s home, for others, it’s hell. If you settle down on this floor, I applaud you, you’re braver than I am and you should take pride in that.

Fifth and above

I’m not convinced anyone has ever actually been up there. I’m sure the view is beautiful but is it worth the agonisingly long wait for the one lift that actually works, or the hike up the stairs, dodging the hoards of people who somehow can’t stick to a side or decide that walking side-by-side is a good idea? If, against all odds, you do manage to reach these dizzying heights, you’re clearly on a mission, and nothing will stop you. Your flatmates haven’t seen you in four days and you’ve probably bought enough Redbull to own a stake in the company. Anything for that bag.

Basement