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Alexander van Olm and friends try to book a work room at the Taylor Family Digital Library.
Michael Grondin/the Gauntlet

Study space concerns revisited

New furniture and websites will continue to improve library experience

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Last September, the Taylor Family Digital Library replaced MacKimmie as the university's main library, and in October, concerns arose about a lack of study space.

The library administration moved 180 carrels from MacKimmie into the TFDL and permanently reopened the basement and second floor of MacKimmie. The third floor of MacKimmie was open during fall exam period.

The old carrels will be replaced with new furniture, which will be chosen based on experience of how students use the space. They will be installed after April exams.

The library administration also implemented full-time monitoring, especially on floors five and six.

They are also looking to create a single website where students can book work rooms, not just in the TFDL, but all across campus.

"Once we provided more guidance and students came to understand how they wanted to use the space, it's increasingly a self-policing space," said vice-provost and university librarian Tom Hickerson. "We just don't have the problems that we did early in the year."

Students' Union president Dylan Jones said student feedback indicates the issue has been dealt with and improvements have been made.

"I haven't heard anything but positive comments from students," said Jones.

A webpage was created in November, posted under "Current Students," listing all of the available study spaces on campus. The location, number of spaces, furniture, noise level and the availability of outlets and fixed computers are listed.

"I've had a lot of students tell me that they're really glad that the website is up," said Jones. "I think it's good how quickly the university responded to that need."

The webpage had 3,000 unique visitors in November, although the amount of visitors has decreased.

Jones mentioned the su wants to take over the Loft on the third floor of MacHall.

"We would love to take control of it and that would mean extended hours. We would open up a satellite store in there with some healthy food options and have it regularly cleaned and maintained," he said.

However, the su is still negotiating with administration concerning these plans.

One issue that students still find frustrating is the misuse of study space, particularly in the tfdl.

Second-year neuroscience student Emily Beaulieu said, "it's so annoying to see people using the big screens in the study rooms to watch YouTube."

Some students think the different cultures in the two libraries is the issue.

"The old library was less open. There were books everywhere and it enforced an environment of quiet studying," said second-year sociology major Courtney Boyle. "The new library is too open. It enforces socializing. There are books if you look hard, but it's not a library. It's like a leisure centre."

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