Featured, Life @ BC

BC Libraries in Review, Part 3: Social Work Library

When most people look for a place on campus to do work or study, they usually choose one out of three options. They opt for Bapst or O’Neill, or instead settle on fulfilling their studies in their dorm. However, there are alternative places of study, including the Social Work Library in the basement of McGuinn.

photo-26Although many students of the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work frequent this library, that does not mean undergraduates are excluded. All are welcome! Feel free to spend any valuable time in this library, open from 8am-10pm on Mondays through Thursdays, 8am-5pm on Fridays, and Sundays 1pm-9pm. For information on finals hours, feel free to call library staff at 617-552-0109 or email swlib@bc.edu. The Social Work Library also has a Facebook page for social media fans.

As for amenities that can convert anyone to be a fan of the Social Work Library, they are abundant. First, since the library is in the basement of one of least-flashy and non-iconic buildings on campus, i.e. McGuinn it is not like you will have to hunt for a study carrel like a vulture. Unless you like that, then go to the Reading Room in O’Neill or Gargan Hall in Bapst. In effect, the Social Work Library (SWL) is fairly quiet and provides adequate space for studying, via its study carrels equipped with desktop computers (most are Windows) and outlets.

Also, if you prefer a more comfortable setting for studying/working on papers, take a prime seat in one of the comfortable leather chairs by the magazines. There are also two primary stations for printing, as well as a small but useful Mac computer lab.

Final amenities include beautiful photographs of campus (mounted on the walls), 41,000 volumes, 400 serial titles, several audiovisual titles, access to a plethora of journal databases and thousands of electronic journals. It is important to note, however, that some shelves are being taken down to allow for increased study space. The staff is also very nice.

photo-24Yet, there are some negatives aspects about the SWL. For one, there are not windows to look out onto the beautiful Bapst lawn or at the inspiring Boston skyline. There are not many opportunities for daydreaming, unless you have an overly active imagination/will do anything to procrastinate. In addition, the SWL is housed in McGuinn, an inefficient building that needs a renovation. Another unfortunate aspect of the SWL is that it is not open past 10 on most nights, which does not reflect the needs of college students, some of whom do most of their work late at night.

Overall, despite its small size (as it is only one floor), the SWL has a charm and focusing aura to it that keeps me coming back to do my work. With the increased study space, the SWL will be able to help more students find an accessible, sensible place to finish that paper they’ve been stuck on, or accomplish that monstrous amount of reading they need to finish. Based on criteria of amenities, functionality and location, I give the SWL an 8.6 out of 10.


  1. Thanks, Kyle, for the great review of the Social Work Library! As you mentioned in the article, all are welcome to the library, including both undergraduates and graduates. Please look for future improvements in the library.

    Head, Social Work Library

  2. Kyle Donohue

    Thank you Hannah! The Social Work Library has been a favorite of mine at BC – one of the best study spots on campus!

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