Best places to study for your finals at UBC, SFU, and in Vancouver

Dec 20 2017, 5:12 am

Struggling to find somewhere to focus on those finals? Overdosed on caffeine at your favourite 24-hour coffee shop? We’re here to help.

Here’s a rundown of some studious – and not so studious – places to get your head down and hit the books in Vancouver.

Happy studying.


Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC (Vancity Buzz)

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC (Vancity Buzz)

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Surely you’ll find a spot in this 250,000-square-foot, four-storey building only three minutes from the UBC bus loop? The best study areas are on the west side, where there are window-side tables and study carrels.

Where: 1961 East Mall, Vancouver
Open: 6 a.m. – 1 a.m. every day

Law Library at Allard Hall

If the Irving K lets you down, try the Law Library at Allard Hall, just a short walk north. It has floor-to-ceiling windows, huge tables, study carrels, electric outlets everywhere – and a bunch of reclining chairs for when you need a power nap.

Where: 1822 East Mall, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Education Library at the Neville Scarfe Building

With a large windows and a choice of long and round tables, as well as study carrels, this seldom used, quiet library could be the perfect getaway for you and your books.

Where: 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., weekends noon – 5 p.m.

Asian Library

Try to find a spot in this smaller, 21,500-square-feet library if you can. Accessed through a pocket forest just behind the C.K. Choi Building, you’ll be sure to get the peace and quiet you need.

Address: 1871 West Mall, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday noon – 5 p.m., Sunday closed. Friday hours are extended until 8 p.m., April 11 – 26.

For all UBC library locations and hours:

UBC Life Sciences Institute atrium (Jun Seita / Flickr)

UBC Life Sciences Institute atrium (Jun Seita / Flickr)

Life Sciences Institute atriums

The Life Sciences Institute building is home to two huge atriums, under large skylights, which could provide an airy spot for your studies. Choose between long tables in one atrium, or informal circular seating in the other.

Where: 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekends closed.

Forest Sciences Centre atrium

The Forest Sciences Centre atrium takes studying to the next level, literally. Study areas are raised, there’s even a “treehouse” and the atrium’s bright skylight is supported by a “tree canopy” and “tree columns.”

Where: 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed weekends

Near SFU

Students in the Bennett Library at SFU (SFU)

Students in the Bennett Library at SFU (SFU)

Bennett Library

The Bennett Library is on the north side of Convocation Mall on the SFU Burnaby Mountain campus. All of the 6th floor is as a silent study area and there are quiet study carrells on floors 4 and 5. You can also book private study group rooms.

Where: 8888 University Drive, Burnaby
Open: 24 hours

Bob Prittie Metrotown Public Library

Want to get off campus but still need some library love? The Bob Prittie is just west of Metrotown skytrain station and at 61,000 square feet, you’re bound to find somewhere to sit. And when you need a reward for your hard-earned studies, the mall is only steps away.

Where: 6100 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby
Open: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In Vancouver

Vancouver Public Library Atrium. Image via Andrew Raun (Flickr).

Vancouver Public Library – Central Branch – Atrium. Image via Andrew Raun (Flickr).

Central Vancouver Public Library

The biggest and the best public library in town, Central Library puts 349,100 square feet at your disposal, with seating for 1,200 people on nine floors. You can also access study group rooms on a first-come first-served basis, or book private rooms to study with your friends.

Where: 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Samuel and Frances Belzberg Library

If you’re an SFU student, you can always use its downtown Vancouver library, the Samuel and Frances Belzberg Library. Even better? It’s in the Harbour Centre, so when you feel like inspiration, just take a look out the window on those upper floors.

Where: 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Langara College Library

Langara’s Learning Commons is on the first floor of the Library, with an expanded study space and “technology-enhanced tables.” It also has eight bookable group study rooms.

Where: 100 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver
Open: Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 7:p.m., weekend 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Vancouver International Airport

Yes we went there. Or, rather, your fellow students, who are recommending this all over the internet, went there. It may seem an unlikely place to study, but apparently the seating area above the international departures food court is extremely quiet in the evening.

Where: 3211 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond
Open: All year round, all hours


Van Dusen Gardens (Stan Shebs/Wikimedia Commons)

Van Dusen Botanical Garden (Stan Shebs/Wikimedia Commons)

Van Dusen Botanical Garden

If the sun’s shining and you’ve got some books to plough through, treat yourself to a trip to Van Dusen and you’ll be in study heaven. There’s plenty of benches and quiet spots – and with no WiFi, you won’t get distracted.

Where: 5251 Oak Street Vancouver
Open: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. every day, admission $11.25

Queen Elizabeth Park

Not far from Van Dusen, Queen Elizabeth Park is a free alternative to stretching those brain cells without WiFi. Take a blanket and settle down under a canopy of trees – and if you need some company, go see the birds at the Bloedel Conservatory.

Where: 4600 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Open: All year round, all hours

Locarno Beach Park

This is one of my favourite secret spots for some peace and quiet – under a tree on Locarno Beach just to the west of the Jericho Pier. Nestle your feet into those grains of sand, listen as the waves crash on the shore – and feel your brain soak up those facts (hopefully!)

Where: On Northwest Marine Drive, between Discovery Street and Tolmie Street
Open: All year round, all hours

And finally…

Try not to fall asleep studying in your room if you can help it (Dragon Images/Shutterstock)

Try not to fall asleep studying in your room if you can help it (Dragon Images/Shutterstock)

At home

With unlimited access to electrical outlets, WiFi and as many snacks as you can afford, it might be a good idea to hunker down at home. Just get your roommates to check you haven’t fallen asleep on your oh-so-nearby bed… or the floor.

Where: About a metre from your bed. Or maybe even on your bed.
Open: Whenever you turn the key in the door.
More: Good luck! You got this!

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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