Garver Room Seating Shortage: An Increase in Students Using Silent Study

Garver Room (Silent) is a popular study spot among students.

This past Fall Term, there has been a noticeable increase in the use of the Garver Room (Silent), leading to a higher demand for seats each day. From spots being saved hours in advance to differences in Silent etiquette, many students have expressed that the student body’s use of Garver Room has significantly changed within this last term. 

Tyler Tran ’26, a new Lower, shared how the Garver Room has been a reliable space for him to complete work and not procrastinate, confirming that the study space is a common spot for students for these reasons.

“The silence is just nice, no talking is great. I’ve tried my best to do work in my dorm at night, but I’ve always found myself going back to talking with my roommate and playing games with them. Obviously in Silent, there is no space and no reason to do that,” said Tran. 

Camille Torres-Hoven, Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) Director, noted that in her years at Andover as an administrator, the Garver Room has always been a popular space for students. She added that the amount of students occupying the Garver Room depends on the time of day. 

“To me, Silent has always been busy. There have been times where it hasn’t been as busy, like sometimes during classes, but since I’ve been here I’ve noticed that students are always, ‘Is there room to study, Silent is full.’ It’s always been a popular spot, and I think a lot of students depend on it,” said Torres-Hoven. 

Elise Zhang ’26 noted that the increase in the demand for seats in the Garver Room is special to this school year, and is still a surprise. Zhang voiced her confusion about seeing Silent completely filled on the first few days of school. 

“It’s been a mystery to me as to why there’s been a sudden increase [in the demand for seats in Silent]. I noticed it starting from day one [of school]. After the first day of school, I expected Silent to be pretty much completely empty, and for people to be lawning in the good weather and whatnot. Even on the first day, Silent was pretty much completely filled. I don’t think it was like that last year, so I’m a little bit confused,” said Zhang. 

Due to the increase in use of the Garver Room, many students have resorted to saving seats by leaving their belongings at a table. Isabelle Quito ’25 spoke about how she disliked this, as it takes away seats from students who want to actively work in the Garver Room. 

“On Fridays, it’s usually pretty empty, but on the other days you’re fighting for a seat. It’s also hard, because people leave their backpacks there, and don’t come back for four hours, and they’re wasting seats in a way,” said Quito.

Robert Perry, Library Proctor, believes that finding another room to be silent would be a functional solution to this increased popularity in the Garver Room. In the past, extending the silent study space into the Dole Room was a pilot plan, however Perry does not see that as a good idea. 

“One good solution [to the high demand of seats] would be to find another semi-silent room. I personally am not a big fan of making Dole our choice on that. The Dole Room to me is also a beautiful cherished room. It’s sort of the quiet but not silent cousin to the Garver Room. It has its own patrons, people who are there year in and year out. To take it away from them and make it absolutely silent is an issue. Before doing that, I would need to see a grand consensus among students that it’s really what they want. I have been here for a couple of trials of that and the resistance was great,” said Perry. 

Similarly Zhang expressed the idea that each room in the OWHL has its own distinct atmosphere, stressing that the Dole Room is a collaborative space which should not be used for silent study. 

“I’m not too familiar with the Dole Room, but I’m not sure that would be a great solution [to ease the demand for seats in the Garver Room]. First, the Dole Room is a very collaborative space. For example, in Silent, you can’t talk so it’s really hard to collaborate. In the [Freeman Room], it’s very loud and you can’t hear someone over another. In the Dole Room, it’s the perfect intersection between work and socializing, and it’s a really good collaborative study space,” said Zhang. 

On the other hand, Quito spoke about how having the Dole Room so close to the Garver Room can be distracting, discussing how turning the Dole Room into a silent study space would solve two problems at once. 

What I’ve noticed is that people will be in Silent, and people in the Dole Room will be really loud and you can hear them through the doors. So making Dole also Silent would be more beneficial to the atmosphere, but would also give students more seats,” said Quito.

Torres-Hoven emphasized that for a solution to be put into action, she would need the student body to communicate with her directly about their needs. Torres-Hoven discussed how this issue has not been brought up to her at the moment.  

“I’m the Director of the Library, and with my team, where we set most policies and we work with the Dean of Studies Office, I would love to hear from [students] and make a plan, and work with [students], but I haven’t heard from anyone about [extending the silent study space],” said Torres-Hoven.