Samantha Tinker, one of the rally organizers, said exams are slated to start next week, but the new $25 million Hans W. Klohn Commons is more like a computer lab and café than a library, with students clustered around tables chatting and working in groups.
It also comes up short on basics, such as desk space, and even books, she said.
"It's absolutely ridiculous and it's appalling," said Tinker. "Our first priority as students is to study; we are spending so much money, and as much as I love this campus, I can't study here.
"If we don't have a place to study, that's going to affect our GPA, that's going to affect the primary reason we are at university. You can go socialize at a bar, you can go socialize anywhere else. The university is for studying first."
Some students like Charlene Lunn said they didn't even know the building contained a library.
"Honestly I didn't find out there were the bookcases downstairs until a friend told me cause they went exploring," she said.
The students are circulating two petitions, collecting signatures from other students and staff at UNBSJ. They plan to present the petitions calling for more peace and quiet to administration at the end of the week.
Kevin Bonner, the director of student services, said the administration is aware of the concerns.
The building offers "a lot of consultative space, a lot of areas for people to meet and to study together, he said. "That's what this building's about."
But the administration is willing to work with the students and has already extended the library's hours in response to the demand, said Bonner.
"We're looking to hear what the students collect today in terms of information and feedback, once we hear that voice I think we're going to be ready to respond," he said.
"It's a matter of taking a look at what those concerns are and seeing what can be done from that perspective and from a number of other perspectives across the campus, not just in this building. We are looking at the issue from a campus perspective not just from a building perspective, but the entire campus."