The new downtown Baton Rouge library, River Center Branch Library, offers a quiet, off-campus place for students to study.

The library was supposed to be finished in December, but after structural issues, the opening was delayed until June.

The library is following all the Phase 2 COVID-19 protocols so patrons stay safe. All employees and guests are required to wear masks. The help desk also has plexiglass barriers for extra safety.

Former LSU academic adviser Annette Yancy has worked at the library since February. According to Yancy the library is currently at 25% capacity and is being cleaned often with the help of extra custodial staff. There is limited contact when it comes to checking out books and computers are wiped down after each use.

“The library is making people space out. They have shields and they are taking into consideration how many people they are letting into the building,” Meatte said. “I do feel safe there.”

The library has three floors and multiple places for students to study. The first floor includes the help desk, outside seating, public computers and tables with plugs and comfortable seating.

The third floor has more seating and computers, making it easy for guests to spread themselves out. There are also study rooms; however, they were not available until Phase 3 began last Friday.

The fourth floor has a rooftop terrace that is open from 10 a.m. until 30 minutes before closing. The rooftop has more seating, a small garden and a view of downtown Baton Rouge and the river.

All the tables also have built-in plugs for convenient access.Wi-Fi is free for anyone, not just library cardholders.

“I think it’s a very quiet atmosphere and there are a lot of glass windows so you have a lot of natural light which, for me personally keeps me motivated to do stuff. It’s just a very warm and welcoming area,” Meatte said.

Now is the perfect time to get a library card because it is National Library Card month, according to Yancy. All Baton Rouge residents with a Baton Rouge ID or students with their college IDs can get a library card for free. A library card provides access to the computers, books and DVDs available at the library.

This is a great place for students who do not want the hassle of trying to wander through campus for a good place to study, according to Meatte.

“A lot of places on campus you have to park far away and walk to, and you don’t know if you’re going to find a spot,” Meatte said. “The library on campus is dark and old and feels dirty, and it’s not a place I want to be.”

The library is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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