10 things to know about the BLU

Love it or hate it, for most Arts students (like myself) the Berkeley-Lecky-Ussher library complex (or BLU) can sometimes feel like the center of college. The first time you enter the library it feels like a confusing maze of bookshelves and desks, and after a few visits you’ll realize you’ve barely scratched the surface. Put simply, in spite of the fact that most of the books available are in storage, as Ireland’s largest research library, Trinity’s library complex is huge. So here are insider tips on the BLU.

  1. If you can think of a book then the library has it


As a legal deposit library, Trinity is entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland (and I mean every book). From Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’ to ‘Dora the explorer: ultimate sticker book’, we’ve got it all (including three copies of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, although don’t expect not to get some raised eyebrows if you check one out).

  1. Berkeley’s law


Not exactly a real rule, but “Berkeley’s Law” states that you will only run into people you know in the library when one or both of you is on a tight deadline and really can’t chat (usually just on your way to the infamously solemn Berkeley study space).

  1. The best desks are in the furthest places


The first desks to fill up are usually the most accessible; if you think there isn’t any space try going up or down a few floors, or to an obscure section, and you’re likely to find more room.

  1. Don’t leave your stuff over lunch


This issue has divided the college; with some saying that ‘saving’ a desk to use later is the privilege of arriving early to the library, and others arguing that this is a selfish way of hogging a desk without using it. Either way the librarians can fine you or claim your stuff, so maybe it’s better just to find a new study spot after lunch?

  1. Early Printed Books


Through a side door, down a winding passage and up in a little lift you’ll find the Early Printed Books room where you can read manuscripts published hundreds of years ago, some with ancient annotations by unknown scholars.

  1. Excessive PDAs will end on up the internet


When students are bored studying in the library and they see a couple all over each other, it is only going to be a few minutes before that picture ends up on Facebook with an appropriately disparaging comment (you have been warned!)

  1. Leave plenty of time to get out


Because there are only two exits in this vast library, packing up your stuff and going to class can take significantly longer than you would think, so leave plenty of time (particularly if you’ve been studying in a far-off corner!)

  1. Shh!


Making too much noise in the library, or having a phone that goes off, can lead to a fine from one of the librarians (something which they make a point of enforcing during exam season), however there are marked areas where you can now use your phone to make calls.

  1. Don’t forget the DVDs


As well as millions of books and online journals, Trinity also has quite a good DVD collection. Although it is intended for Film and Drama students, you can often find a good movie there to take out for free.

10. Each library is different


Obviously they each contain different collections of books, but what really distinguishes the three libraries in the complex are their atmospheres. The many windows and relaxed atmosphere of the Lecky makes it a sociable study space. The red carpets and basement sofas of the Ussher make it a great quiet spot for getting your reading done and working at your own pace. But if you’re on a deadline then the only place is the Berkeley; where you can cut the tension with a knife as rows of students churn out their last-minute essays and cram information into their brains before their exams.


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