One of the great things about the library system as it exists at Harvard right now is the variety of places it creates. There are places where you can work with a group of people, there are places with food available, there are some great window seats, there are desks, there are obscure libraries with few people… you get the point. One of the best things can be roaming around a library and discovering the perfect study niche you didn’t know existed (Lamont Library Poetry Room, smelled like chamomile tea the day I went in).
I have found, however, that I focus best with a certain level of distraction. By ignoring something else (I’ve found a lecture works best), it causes me to actively direct my attention to the task at hand. But this is not true for everyone, some people need complete isolation, some need to talk out loud with others, some need company but no interaction. There are a whole range of study behaviors and a library system which best serves the intention of studying is one which provides for variety.
Do you think it would be worthwhile to catalog study behaviors? Or should we just make a profusion of offbeat spaces and see what balance works best?