Library Faceoff

Top libraries in the Fairfax area offer students plenty of alternative study spots

The Dolley Madison library is one of the most popular libraries in the area, for good reason.

Many students at McLean value studies more than most, but often it becomes tiring working in the same places over and over again. If you’re looking to get out of your room and find a new place to be studious, a library is one of your best choices. Some of the top three near McLean High are the Dolley Madison Library, Tysons Pimmit Library and Mary Riley Styles Library, each offering great things for students who are looking to get their study groove on.

Dolley Madison Library
Built in 1967, Dolley Madison Library has been one of the most popular libraries around McLean for students for decades. Their renovations throughout the years have made the building a beautiful place, where natural light is the focal point. The library is surrounded by forestation that the floor to ceiling windows showcase for everyone to enjoy. The peaceful sight of nature creates a quiet and calm atmosphere even when school stress is high. With a computer station, quiet pod and plenty of seating, Dolley Madison has it all. The library staff was extremely friendly and helpful when questioned about anything and made the overall experience even better.

Tysons Pimmit Regional Library
An alternative to the Dolley Madison Library, the Tysons Pimmit Regional Library has many of its own unique commodities. Tysons Pimmit includes a play area for kids, plenty of natural light and private cubicles for self study. While the staff at Dolley Madison’s kindness and helpfulness can not be beat, Tysons Pimmit came in at a close second. Their staff was limited, but those who were there were helpful when asked for anything. While the play area makes the library a little noisier, people seeking peace and quiet can still focus in silent rooms. The architecture of the library itself is also one of its focal points, with windows lining the rooms and unique light fixtures that also make it a visually pleasing experience. The book selection was admirable and many new releases were featured around the rooms. While the Dolley Madison Library is tough to beat, Tysons Pimmit comes is still one of the best.

Mary Riley Styles Public Library
After their recent renovation in 2021, the Mary Riley Styles Library is an excellent place to get work done. The library itself is very quiet—pure silence, even in the main rooms. While they lack tables that fit many people, they do offer study rooms that can be booked in advance. Their book selection is one of the best, from old and new books overflowing their shelves. However, their library staff was very questionable. When looking for books and asking for help, they seemed annoyed, unlike other libraries in the area. Despite this, the great things this library offers outweigh the downsides of their incompetent staff. The children’s section was one of the best, with playful seating and plenty of bookshelves that were low to the ground for full access. Their study rooms were very large and had many comfortable couches when sitting in a regular chair became too uncomfortable. When the attitude of their staff was overlooked, this library offers a lot of great things for people of all ages.