The Six Wonders of Cornell Library (1st floor edition)

The 1st Floor of Cornell Library is my all time favorite place at Swarthmore.

Located in the Science Center, Cornell is Swarthmore’s Natural Science and Engineering Library. Consists of three floors with a modern outlook. Overlooks the Crum woods. Proximity to many classrooms, lab spaces, and a cafe. Cornell is one of the popular libraries on campus. 

1st Floor of Cornell Library during the summer

Cornell 1st comes with many study spots with different characteristics:

#1: The Booths 

The booths consist of tables lined up by the entrance of Cornell, sectioned off with comfy couches. Limited in number, these booths are hot commodities among Swatties. 


  • Comfy seats
  • Accommodates large groups
  • Great for naps and study breaks
  • Somewhat private


  • Easy to fall asleep
  • Faces the entrance of Cornell so very easy to get distracted 
  • Gap between seats and tables are too wide for short people

#2: Tall Tables

A long table with high top seatings located in the very back of the library nearby the shelves. 


  • Many available seats so relatively easy to find a spot
  • Abundance of charging ports and outlets
  • Close to the trash bin
  • Gives off airport cafe vibes


  • Farthest from the bathrooms, reserve desk, and printers
  • Not so comfy seats
  • Chairs too high for short legs

#3: The Fish Bowl

The private room next to the booths and tall tables. Consists of a table, whiteboard, and floor to ceiling glass walls on both sides, thus comes to the name: the fish bowl. Faces the hallway, cafe, and entrance of Cornell. 


  • Private and has a door
  • Comes with a white board


  • Having to make awkward eye contact every five seconds with people entering the building or walking down the hallway
  • Floor to ceiling glass walls defeating the purpose of “privacy”
  • Poor sound proof walls also defeating the purpose of “privacy”

#4: Table behind the Shelves

Private space behind the bookshelves that comes with a TV and a whiteboard. 


  • Has no door but still quite private 
  • Access to a whiteboard


  • A lot of people peek in to see if the space is available
  • Blasts AC

#5: The Independent Chairs

The independent chairs that come in pairs and share a small round table in the middle. 


  • Great nap spot
  • Comes with a great window view of the woods
  • Close to printers and desktops


  • Great nap spot (aka not a great study spot)
  • Contributes to a lot of the back problems we have

#6: The Seminar Room behind the Printers 

A decent size private room located behind the printers and reserve desk. Comes with a large seminar table, black board walls, and a small window. 


  • The most private Cornell First can ever get
  • Private entrance
  • Close to printers and reserve desk


  • Not so comfy chairs
  • Not great for naps 
  • Having to write with chalk (personally not a huge fan)
  • Dim lights
  • Runs on a reservation system, meaning you can be kicked out for classes or club meetings that happen in the room

Despite the many cons, still serves as a very popular spot in Cornell.

I like to say Swarthmore is everything but competitive, but the one time we actually do compete is for study spots around campus. Study spots also reflect well on the student’s study habits, personal preferences, and personality. That said, Cornell 1st offers a variety of places with distinct features from which students can pick and choose from. So… where do you picture yourself in Cornell?

Leave a Reply