Welcome to the latest installment of our occasional series on libraries you should really get to know. 

social workWhat with the widespread Columbian ignorance of most things further north than Appletree, you’ve probably never been to the library of the school of Social Work, located on the East side of Amsterdam at 121st. And with its normal people hours of about 9am to 9pm, it’s not likely you night owls and procrastinators will make it a habitual Butler alternative. But for the rest of the world, take heed—this is as lovely a study spot you’ll find in Morningside, and one to keep in mind when finals roll around (all too soon!). 

The primary, overarching virtue of the Social Work is its health. Floor-to-ceiling windows onto Amsterdam remind you that you are part of New York, and provide light to remind you what time of day it is. The grad students are not unattractive—although not quite as good-looking as those hovering outside Avery, or frequenting the SIPA café—but it doesn’t matter, because you know they all have golden hearts.

It’s a small library—only a few rooms, really—but rarely crowded, and far enough away from campus that if getting away from people was your goal (one of the virtues of a cavernous library like Butler, where there’s always somewhere no one else goes). There’s a small Blue Java downstairs, but also the pleasant-enough Café Fresh just up the street, as well as Morningside just a block over if you need a lunch break.

The main disadvantage to the undergraduate lifestyle, as mentioned above, is that it’s never open later than 9pm. But there is a silver lining in the reduced hours; the place has a clean and wholesome feeling, as if frequented by people who live normal, well-adjusted lives that involve going home to a family or at least a significant other after a fulfilling day at work, rather than the groggy just-woke-up sense you get in Butler.

It isn’t the biggest collection, but there are two distinct upsides: first, they’re about social problems that stretch your mind a little beyond your immediate problems; and two, you get them on loan for four months, if the “Due By February 16, 2009″ stamp on Bwog’s stack of books is to be believed. 

So get thee north, for a study experience any social worker would proscribe.

- LBD