If you are looking for a library whose atmosphere might shape you into a more conscientious student, look no further than the Theology & Ministry Library (TML), located on the Brighton campus of Boston College. Located near the School of Theology & Ministry and Saint John’s Seminary, this library may not look like a beautiful masterpiece, but it is rumored to truly be the quietest library on campus. It is fairly accessible, as it is located behind the Cadigan Alumni Center – just look for a ‘Star Wars’-like structure with a spacious parking lot and you will arrive at the TML.
While the TML is used primarily by graduate students, especially those in the School of Theology & Ministry, any member of the Boston College community is welcome here. A reference librarian I spoke to said that most undergraduate students who visit the TML utilize the TML’s crucial study spaces from the last week of classes for the semester through finals week. Typically, he added, the most conscientious and academically driven students use the TML early and often.
Let’s focus on the amenities that the TML provides. It is a short walk from many off-campus apartments, so juniors will see the TML to their advantage if they choose so. In addition, the library provides the same quality printers and scanners you will see at O’Neill, without the long lines. Other benefits include the neat and tidy study carrels, some of which are located in side rooms for added silence and privacy.
Meanwhile, even though the library has an old-school vibe with its dated green carpets and aged bookshelves, the TML provides an ample computer lab and free WiFi. Final amenities include access to thousands of theology books and journals, religious literature offered in dozens of languages, a spacious lower level lounge that is great for study groups, and a beautiful and charming art gallery on the walls of that same lounge.
However, the TML has some negatives. It is a bit of a walk to get to the TML, especially if you live on Upper Campus or have to take the Newton bus to get to main campus. In addition, for most of the semester, undergraduates who utilize the TML may be significantly outnumbered by graduate students, which can be either intimidating or awkward. Finally, the TML does not have the utilitarian, modern feel of O’Neill, due to a lack of renovations for the library. However, the library’s negatives are outweighed by its amenities and how much it can help students.
The TML has a lot to offer students; one just has to venture to Brighton campus (only two minutes from Lower Campus) to realize its potential as an asset to their education. The old-school ambiance and design of the library may not make the TML shine as a modern, gleaming library, but it brings spunky character to it that distinguishes it from other libraries. Finally, the staff is very helpful at the TML and one will not find a quieter study space on BC’s campus. In conclusion, based on my usual criteria, I rate the TML an 8.9 out of 10.