Visiting the George A. Smathers Libraries

15 Marston Science Library

The "french fries" statues made from crisscrossed yellow beams. Text below: George A. Smathers Libraries, Marston Science Library

Marston Science Library at a Glance

  • Collaborative, talkative lower floors for group work (including group study rooms for reservation) and silent upper floors
  • Dead battery? Check out a phone charger
  • Famous 3D printing lab and Marston Makerspace
  • Large collection of tools and technology to borrow
  • Spaces adorned with beautiful plants
  • The most visited library on campus!

Hunker Down at Marston Science Library

The Marston Science Library, usually just called Marston, is located in the heart of the campus between Turlington Plaza and the Reitz Union North Lawn. When you head to Marston, look for the iconic “French Fries” statue outside — you can’t miss it!

Completed in 1987, the library was named after the seventh UF president, Robert Q. Marston. Although this library is only about thirty years old, there were previously multiple science libraries at UF that were brought together into the Marston Science Library. In the past decade, the amount of study space was hugely increased and Marston became an undergrad favorite. When you visit Marston now, you’ll find it is a buzzing and dynamic place!

Marston is the STEM library, where you will find the science librarians and materials. It is the home of the library collections and course reserves related to agriculture, life sciences, engineering, mathematics, chemical sciences, and physical sciences. Marston also has a mission to make tech and tools available to students at no cost to use.

Sometimes undergrads think Marston is only for STEM students, but that’s not true. Marston is open to everyone regardless of your major, including undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, and the public.

In this chapter, you can find out more about the different resources at Marston that students should utilize while at UF.


Fun Fact: With over two million visitors each year, Marston is the most visited library on campus!
A colorful library space featuring round tables, chairs, and a "collection highlights" bookself
The entrance floor of Marston is a bright, colorful, lively space. (Photograph by Sarah Prentice)

Events and Fun at Marston

Marston holds pop-up events throughout the school year, especially during finals week. You might see therapy dogs visiting the building or Marston library workers handing out snacks while you are studying. Some other things to look out for are the Blind Date with a (Science Fiction) Book cart around Valentine’s Day, the Marston “button wall” with free buttons made by Marston workers, and a traveling Welcome Wagon at the beginning of the school year.

If you are a night owl at Marston, say hi to Jason on your way in! He is the Nighttime Security Assistant, and he’s a local celebrity among students. Jason is a huge fan of Star Wars — tell him your favorite character.

(Photographs by Sarah Prentice and Robin Fowler)

Marston Spaces, Floor by Floor

Special Note: Marston is getting a big upgrade during Fall 2022!

The upper floors are temporarily closed while brand new furniture is being installed. Some of Marston’s unique spaces are moving to bigger and better ones, including the Makerspace and 3D Printing Lab. We will update this guide with new information when these renovations are done!

A trailing pothos plant hanging over a seating area
You can spot beautiful plants all around Marston.

Marston is known to be one of the most popular places for students to study on campus. With several floors dedicated to group study as well as others dedicated to silent, individual study, students are given the opportunity to complete their assignments in the comfort of their own learning style.

Some good stuff to know about the study spaces at Marston:

  • Floors 1-3 are known for group study; students can feel free to talk on these floors.
  • Floors 4-5 are quiet floors; students must remain quiet on these floors otherwise they might catch a glare from one of their fellow peers.
  • You’ll find lots and lots of plants. The Marston library workers are very proud of these plants and are always collecting more.
  • Computers are available on every floor.

First Floor, “The Basement”

A table with a TV monitor surrounded by chairs. Outside the glass window is the rest of the library floor.
View from one of the many study rooms in the Marston Basement.

The first floor of Marston, officially called the Collaboration Commons and lovingly referred to as “The Basement,” is an open and collaborative space with over seven hundred seats.

This floor is usually the busiest and loudest, and it’s full of social energy. It’s perfect for group work and for taking a break between classes.

Head downstairs from the entry floor and check out these features:

  • There are twenty-one group study rooms available for use on the first floor, which can be reserved online for two-hour blocks up to two weeks in advance.
  • Pro Tip: Book study rooms early because these rooms can get filled up quickly, especially during final exam season!
  • A big-screen TV room is available for hosting student events on the first floor.
  • Full-sized poster printing can be done here anytime Marston is open.
  • There is a vending machine for office supplies near the bathrooms.
  • The gender-inclusive bathroom is on the first floor.


A large open space filled with round tables, long desks, and chairs
The Basement is a bustling hub of group study work, even late at night.

Second Floor, the “Main Floor”

The main entry floor of Marston is the second floor. This area is always buzzing with students and has an open, welcoming atmosphere.

Here you will find:

  • The Service Desk, where you can check out books and ask library experts for help. Truly the heart of the library.
  • The famous 3D printing laboratory! Peek through the windows and see the printers chugging along.
  • New Books and Collection Highlights, with special shelving for rotating books.
  • Rotating exhibits located in the cases right in front of the entrance.
  • KIC Scanners: Scan books or other items and send the digital files to yourself by email.
A display of books about orchids standing on a tabletop. Live orchids in pots surround the books.
The “Collection Highlights” bookcase on the second floor features rotating book displays (and in this case, live orchids!).

Third Floor

On top of a full bookcase, a sign that says "Read science fiction books! If you would like to donate books to the libraries' science fiction collection, please drop off at the information desk"
Sick of reading your textbook? Marston has a growing selection of science fiction just for fun.

This floor is an in-between volume floor. Quiet talking is allowed, but it’s not loud like Floors 1 and 2. It’s a great place to study with friends when you want to occasionally say something but mostly focus on studying.

  • Marston has a science fiction section on this floor.
  • A new addition to the third floor is that Marston now has a fish tank!
  • The library classroom (308) where workshops and library teaching takes place is right in front of the elevators.
  • The lactation room is available — check out the key from the Service Desk.
  • Print journals and dissertations are located here on the book stacks.
A line of bookshelves with bright, colorful covers. Next to the book stacks and several tables, one of which has students studying
The third floor has a middle-level volume, between the loud lower floors and the silent upper floors.
A brick belltower stands high over walkways, trees, and other building
The view of Century Tower from the fifth floor of Marston is one of the best sights on campus.

Fourth and Fifth Floors

The upper floors of Marston are for silent, individual study. Pop in between classes to focus and get your assignments done.

  • Print books are located on the fourth floor.
  • The upper floors have some of the most beautiful views of campus!

Looking for a unique studying atmosphere? During final exam season, you can hear the carillon music students playing extended songs on Century Tower bells clearly from the Marston upper floors.

Take Advantage of the Tech & Tool Library

Four students standing behind a computer monitor. One student is wearing a virtual reality headset over their eyes and holding the controllers towards the camera
Students using VR in a class at Marston.

Have you ever checked out a virtual reality (VR) headset from a library before? One of Marston’s main missions is to share technology and tools with UF students!

You might be surprised to learn the scope of what Marston has to offer in the circulating technology collection. All of these items are picked up at the Marston Service Desk right by the main entrance. Ask a library worker at the desk about tech and tools anytime — they will be excited to tell you about what is offered.

The Tool Library has everything you need for projects, from basic tools like hammers and wrenches to drill kits, soldering irons, and electronics repair tools. There are also things you can check out for creative projects, like sewing machines and drawing tablets!

The Tech Library has lots of different technology available to experiment with, including 360 degree cameras, GoPros, VR headsets, 3D structure scanners, podcasting microphones, and more. You can also pick up common things from the Service Desk, including phone chargers and calculators.

Look at the full list of Tools and Tech at Marston on their website:

Tool and Technology Lending

Famous 3D Printing Lab and Makerspace

Special Note: Marston is getting a big upgrade during Fall 2022!

Some of Marston’s unique spaces are moving to bigger and better ones, including the 3D Printing Lab and the Makerspace. During Fall 2022, these spaces will be migrated down to the first floor. We will update this guide with new information when the renovations are done!

You can submit files to have printed in Marston’s 3D printing lab online and pick them up when they’re ready. The cost to 3D print is minimal: only the price of the plastic used. Creating a 3D model from scratch? Someone at Marston can help you make it happen.

You’ll find the Marston Makery, a makerspace open to all students, on the second floor. Before Halloween, you’ll see students making costumes in here. Check out a Makery key from the Service Desk and start your own DIY crafts.


A busy room full of crafting material, including a sewing machine, 3D printers, and spools of plastic filament
The Makery is located alongside the 3D printing lab on the entrance floor.

Collections, Resources, and Research Help

Because Marston is a STEM library, there are many resources that apply to these disciplines that can be found within the library.

In addition to all of the online materials, you can find these physical collections in Marston:

  • The course reserves for STEM classes are located on the second floor in the silver shelving behind the computers. If you need help finding them, ask at the Service Desk!
  • There are print books and journals on STEM research topics on the third and fourth floors.
  • A science fiction collection is located on the third floor.
  • Keep an eye on the “Collection Highlights” bookcase on the main floor — you might see things you didn’t realize were in the Marston collection, like cook books.
  • There is also a “New Books” display on the main floor.

Each subject, such as biology or chemistry, has subject specialists ready to help and subject guides that may also help you get started on research.

Help by Discipline


Other services at Marston include:

  • Copy, print, and scan options with the ability to use these services and pay back through your GatorLink account. You can print full-sized posters on the first floor as well.
  • Instruction and workshops about how to use library resources and how to conduct research.
  • Group study rooms for reservation.


Fun Fact: Marston is home to lots science fiction fans. Check out the science fiction collection!


Message from a Marston Librarian

Marston Science Library is here to support you. That may be a late-night space to meet with project partners, a quiet place to read a library-offered course textbook, or a tool to help you with an everyday project. We even have spaces to support your student clubs. Reach out and let us know if we can provide new services. We want to hear from you! We want students to feel at home.”

– Valrie Minson, Chair of Marston Science Library




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Undergraduate Guide to the George A. Smathers Libraries Copyright © 2022 by Nabil M. Chowdhury; Ava K. Kaplan; Cassidy Smith; Omolola Suleiman; Alexandrea Glenn; and Michelle M. Nolan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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