Carrel desks are most often found in the study spaces of universities or college libraries. Most carrel desks are rectangular in shape. Above the main desktop area there is often a shelf for books. Sometimes the seat is integrated with the carrel desk. Unlike the cubicle desk, carrel desks usually have no file drawers or other facilities. Since the late 1990s, some carrel desk designs provide AC power and Internet connections for students using laptop computers.
Like the school desk, the carrel desk is normally produced and sold in large quantities for an institutional market. They are made to stand alone or to be grouped together, with or without common sides or walls.
The word carrel can also refer to a small isolated 'study room' in public libraries and on university campuses, usually the room has a lockable door which the user is granted the key to on request. Carrels usually contain a desk (not necessarily one described as above), shelving and a lamp. Carrels are generally quite popular on in universities and are therefore usually quickly occupied. This becomes especially true during mid-term examinations and finals. They have the advantage of power for a laptop (and often internet port) as well as generally being quieter than in the main library building. Carrels can also be used to store valuables such as laptops or heavy books to allow the user to travel to lectures etc without hindrance.