Rate It or Hate it: The Robbo Library

Our Head of Current Affairs and Deputy Editor of The Courier give their take on the infamous Philip Robinson Library

Elizabeth Meade
13th December 2021
Image Credit: Newcastle University

Elizabeth Meade:

The Philip Robinson Library is probably my favourite place to study on campus. It doesn't smell weird (no offense to the Bedson Building intended). There is also, more importantly, plenty of space for a lot of people to study without it feeling cramped.

Of course, I can't wax poetic about the Robbo without discussing the collection. Having visited every library in my home county of Fairfax, multiple US secondary school libraries and a few random ones in Europe, I have to say it has one of the most complete book collections I've ever encountered. I've been able to find books on things most libraries just don't want to cover, such as chaos theory, eschatology and the history of Eastern Europe. It's easy to find reliable sources written from an academic perspective, rather than just whatever popular nonfiction I could get from Waterstones.

There are negative aspects to the Robbo. I don't think I should have to scan my smart card just to get in, and I'm not buying the weak excuse some person gave me that it's for 'safety'. There are already other measures in place to prevent book theft, and other buildings aren't given this level of security. That said, all the libraries on campus are unfortunately like that, and the Robbo is easily the best.

061933:The Robinson Library University of Newcastle upon T… | Flickr
The 'Robbo' as it is affectionately called, is just a five minute walk from campus. Image Credit: Flickr

Muslim Tazer:

The Robbo, while undeniably a Mecca of knowledge, obscure books and students trying to knock out thousands of words within one night, and a venerable one at that, is not worthy of ‘rating’. I’ve spent many a day in the robbo’s prison-like study rooms reading the inane scrawlings on the wall and pretending to work, but I would be deluded if I said it was Newcastle’s best library. 

It's weirdly warm and oppressive, and the air is thick with the scent of last minute assignment anxiety and impending deadlines.

It’s simply too big. It's labyrinthian, and I’ve never been in there without humiliating myself wandering through the floors over and over looking for my desk. It's weirdly warm and oppressive, and the air is thick with the scent of last minute assignment anxiety and impending deadlines. Talk about bad vibes! 

There's people doing bizzare stuff in there, witnessed someone take their shirt off for someone on video call, only to be reassured he was just "showing bro the gains". I've heard stories of people, minds clouded by the deadline haze, doing pushups  in hopes of spurring inspiration. That place should have ‘abandon all hope  ye who enter here’ on the entrance.

Go to the Marj instead. You don't really need all those books anyway, Everything is online these days. Or the Walton Library if you’re a meddie. If you’re on law, you've got the quiet and cozy law library. Really anyone can go to either of these, but If the law library gets cramped up with Eng Lit students or something, I’m really going to regret writing this.

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
(she/her) Head of Current Affairs (News, Campus Comment, Comment, Science). Chemistry major. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking. Wrote the first article for Puzzles. Probably the first Courier writer to have work featured in one of Justin Whang's videos.

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