Chairs are perhaps the most important aspect of a library experience. Desks are fairly consistent, and lighting can be improvised. For those not brave enough to transgress the omnipresent line of chain-smoking architecture grad students, read on for a full review of how Avery’s chairs stack up against its rivals.

The discerning Columbia student recognizes that the likes of Butler and Lerner are studying spots of the unwashed, and underclassed, masses. No, a proper upperclassman prefers the pleasures of alternative study spots, the best of which is Avery Library of Architecture and Fine Arts. Avery offers the finest amenities for any student: a wide variety of study spaces, a plethora of books completely unrelated to your homework, and a convenient cafe in the basement. One aspect of Avery, however, glaringly leaves much to be desired: the chairs.

You walk though the heavy doors, flash your ID, descend the staircase, and find your seat in the reference room. As soon as you lower your rear into position you know that there is something wrong. Perhaps you hear a small crunching sound or feel tiny wood fibers buckling and cracking within. Either way, you instantly know that these chairs are living on borrowed time. It’s inevitable that one day, at any instant, with the smallest provocation of a seated rump, the chair will give in and collapse on itself: the hanging Sword of Damocles of library chairs.

But if you are spared the catastrophic demise of your seat, then you are treated to old world comfort. The chairs are seasoned veterans and survivors of decades of buttocks abuse. Only the strongest and most distinguished have survived. It’s given them character: chipped paint and scuffed woodworking give the complete package the feel of a lucky find at Goodwill—good enough to salvage, shitty enough to give away. Perhaps that will become the ultimate fate of Avery’s chairs, living out their retirement on patio porches in Forest Hills, but only if they can resist the hefty onslaught Columbia throws that them daily.

The truth is that these were fine chairs in their day, maybe even resplendent. They’re from an era long before rolling office chairs with optional height adjustments and plastic arm rests came to dominate our seating culture. No, these chairs are the product of real, honest American woodwork. The kind that raised barns in upstate New York before a single girder was hoisted in Manhattan. Like a retired army grandfather, you can tell they were something impressive back in the day, but since then, their majesty has faded.

Conclusion: 4.5 impending disasters out of 10

appropriate reference via Wikipedia.