Cecily Sheppard

Where to pretend to read once you’re bored of the Sydney Jones

As much as we all love the SJ, it can become a little soul destroying when you have to spend HOURS in it reading the first two pages of that 40 page article for tomorrow’s seminar. And that’s without the entirety of Jane Eyre and what seems like an entire textbook on top. So, to sooth your poor brain as it tries to decipher the squiggles of academics and Austen alike, here’s a list of places that’ll make your reading that little bit less tedious…

The Harold Cohen Library

If we’re honest, we probably only really go in there when we’ve forgotten to print something, but a visit to the HC still seems adventurous (let’s be honest, the SJ has a much better ring to it.) As an arts student, you can’t help but feel a little like you’re trespassing as you watch the sciencey, numbery students at work. What the Harold Cohen lacks in Shakespeare, however, it makes up for in fancy study rooms and a rush of adrenaline similar to that which Harry Potter probably felt when creeping about the Restricted Section.


Abercromby Square. Image courtesy of Cecily Sheppard

Abercromby Square

Weather permitting, the grass at the centre of Abercromby Square is another great place to chill and flick through a few pages of Freud. On the rare occasion that blistering sun visits Liverpool, you can guarantee it’ll be a busy spot for chillers and workers alike, but let’s be honest, it’s better than fighting for a seat in the SJ, which likes to turn into a greenhouse on days such as this.

Liverpool Central Library

While this library doesn’t have the 24/7 access that the SJ benefits from, it does look a little less like a multi-storey car park. The Picton Reading Room is one of the most beautiful reading spots in the world and you should definitely check it out (and make a wish to one day live there.)


Liverpool Guild of Students. Image courtesy of Cecily Sheppard

The Courtyard @ LGoS

The Courtyard in the Guild is another place to read if you like the gentle babble of conversation as background noise. Failing that, stick some Backstreet Boys on your IPod and get stuck in regardless. They also serve food, which obviously has its positives.

92 Degrees

Sitting on Hardman Street, 92 Degrees Coffee is what some might call a hidden gem, except for that it’s not that hidden and right smack next to the Philharmonic Hall. BUT as well as being super cute on the inside, they make a mean iced latte and serve every kind of bagel you can think of. Bagels + Sofas = Motivation.


Sefton Park. Image courtesy of Cecily Sheppard

Sefton Park

Whether you’re living in off-campus halls or trying to make a Smithdown house as homey as possible (bunting and cushions are the answer, by the way) Sefton Park has plenty of grass for everyone.  And whether you like open expanses of green or prefer to be under/in a tree, Sefton is abundant with perfect reading spots. There’s even a boating lake, which is the perfect location for pretending Mr-Colin-Firth-Darcy is right there reading Pride and Prejudice with you.


If you’re a fan of tea, you should visit Leaf on Bold Street. If you’re not a fan of tea (???), you should visit anyway and drink something other than tea until you’re so intrigued by all the different flavours that you eventually find a type of tea you ARE a fan of. The best company for tea, other than biscuits, is a book. So this was destined to be a match made in heaven.


The perfect setting for a book. Image courtesy of Cecily Sheppard

Albert Dock

If you fancy taking a slightly longer walk (maybe take some cake with you for energy), the riverfront of the Mersey is abundant with benches, just waiting for you to plonk yourself on. Maybe a bit of sea air and the constant fear of seagulls landing on your head will make your law textbook minutely more interesting. Either that, or it’ll make you read faster so you can take that really fat seagull eyeing you up to court.

In Conclusion…

Though morally questionable on various occasions, Tyrion Lannister wasn’t wrong when he said “a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.” So if you get to the end of this list and panic, just remember at least the SJ isn’t Westeros, and the chance of someone slipping poison into your Starbucks is highly unlikely.

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