Crash Course: A handy guide to the Learning Commons

The Learning Commons - Infographic by Giselle for FB

In previous years, when students searched for a nice, cool place where they could research their latest academic topics, do a project or two, or just sit down and relax they would head for the library located behind St. Joseph Hall. Spanning four floors, stocked full with books, and even decked out with a coffee shop, the old library was one of the most common places to be in. All that changed though, with the arrival of the Learning Commons. Taking up twice the number of floors and located in the Henry Sy building, the Learning Commons is much more than just a regular library; it has several new features designed to help students in a variety of ways and also some old features you might have missed. However, some students may have difficulty navigating the several vast floors that constitute the Learning Commons. As such, here is a convenient guide on the newest, coolest place to be around campus.

 learning commons

Heartwood & Chill @ the 5th

The entrance to the Learning Commons is located on the 6th floor of the Henry Sy building. Besides serving as the actual gateway into the Learning Commons, the 6th floor – also named Heartwood – is also home to a large network of computers, also known as the Cafe. The Cafe is designed to assist students in online enrolment, research, and other similar matters. Furthermore, a large area of the 6th floor is designated for special exhibits and events that students are always free to check out.

If in need of a quiet place to lie down and rest, the 5th floor is the place to be; taking a flight of stairs down from the 6th floor will lead students to the area amply titled as ‘Chill @ the 5th’. Here, students will find a large array of cozy beanbags and benches. This is the ideal place to simply drop down and catch up on some much needed hours of sleep.


Main meat & Mezzanines

Going up from these floors will lead students to the main ‘meat’ of the library. The 7th and 8th floors in particular host a wide variety of resources. Being a library first and foremost, the Learning Commons is expected to have an extensive collection of books, and in this aspect, it does not disappoint. The 7th floor to the 8th floor mezzanine hold the Circulation Collection which makes up the majority of the library’s index. Besides the actual books, there are plenty of new services and features to be found on these floors. The 7th floor holds even more computers for student use, while the 8th floor holds a specially indicated ‘quiet room’ where students can work at maximum concentration. The 8th floor is also home to photocopying services which prove useful when in need of certain chapters and sections of a book. Finally, both these floors contain discussion rooms or “Nests”, closed-off rooms which can be rented and can allow groups of students to discuss projects, participate in group study sessions, and other similar tasks. Reservation for discussion rooms are made online at the library’s website (, students can occupy discussion rooms to a maximum time of two hours.


Archives & Filipiniana

Going up even further brings students to the 9th and 10th floors, which offer several services as well. The 9th floor similar to the 8th floor holds several photocopying services, while the 10th floor also has a set of quiet rooms of its own. Also, similar to the two floors below them the 9th and 10th floors also have several discussion rooms, each equipped with a whiteboard, chairs, and a table perfect for discussions, meetings, and other similar activities. A defining feature of the 9th floor is the Periodical Collection, along with the Filipiniana Collection on the mezzanine. The 10th floor, on the other hand, boasts about its Archive Collection and even more computers. These computers, though, are specifically designed for viewing thesis projects of older students in order to help students, especially those graduating, with their dreaded thesis project. Of course, it goes without saying that both these floors are also filled to the brim with books.


Soon to come & Special Collections

While currently the 6th to 10th and 13th floors of the Learning Commons are what are open to students, there are plans being made regarding the opening of the 11th and 12th floor. The 11th floor will hold  more of the university archives, an extremely important and fascinating set of documents, while the 12th floor will soon house the La Salliana Collection which will showcase publications, artworks, and other theses accomplished by students and faculty. All these sections are yet to be featured, although it can be assured that the staff of the Learning Commons are hard at work to make sure that these interesting collections will be released to the public as soon as possible.

The 13th floor features the American Studies Resource Center (ASRC), the European Documentation Center (EDC), as well as other collections. The 13th floor is also home to the Special Collections which consists of materials donated by the friends and faculty of the University, majority of which are for room use only.


Fresh Air

Probably one of the most defining features of the new Learning Commons is its open air reading balconies located on 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th floors. They are called Summerwood and Springwood, these balconies feature small gardens and trees that bend with the breeze. Also with some tables and chairs, this is an ideal place to just sit and catch up on some reading, meditation or a meaningful talk with someone, your choice.

The entire Learning Commons, as a whole, is air-conditioned and filled with several benches, tables, and chairs (a lot of chairs), to complement all the aforementioned services and features. Three elevators connect the multiple floors with one another and provide easier access for both students and staff. Finally, the entire library has an online service that allows students to search for, reserve, and borrow books all through the internet, meaning they can do these things at the comfort of their own home. All these things are meant to maximize the students’ learning, and convenience.

Although still relatively new, the Learning Commons has quickly established itself as one of the most popular places to be around on campus, whether students are looking to get some studying done, hoping to do a little research, or simply want to get some rest. Hopefully, this quick, handy guide will be of service to you as you go around and browse through the multiple floors that make up the Learning Commons. Enjoy the new library!

Wilhelm Tan

By Wilhelm Tan

Ysmael Suarez

By Ysmael Suarez

Known to have a penchant for fun, this young writer enjoys the finer things in life, including but not limited to wine, long walks along Taft Avenue and the Sports Editor.

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