Wanted: Quiet, well-lit spaces to conduct graduate-level research

By Tamarah Feder

Over the last little while, the McGill libraries team has been working on meeting the growing demand for areas where graduate students can be closer to their library research tools and where they can hold small study groups and seminars. “New spaces have been opening up, and others have been renovated as part of a program to enhance facilities, collections and other services for McGill graduate students,” said Diane Koen, Director of Libraries (Interim).

Koen recognizes that McGill’s graduate students represent a big part of the constituency served by McGill Libraries and that there is growing need for the kind of environments that are vital to facilitating their research.

“When renovation and expansions are planned, we work hard to integrate additional reserved environments that are dedicated for use by our graduate students. We strive to provide bright and secure space for our students to work on campus, store materials and collaborate with others,” Koen said. So, it has been a welcome event to announce that a number of new spaces have recently opened up.

The Library recently launched a private “PhD Room” in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, located in the former Cutter stacks on the 2nd floor of the Redpath Library Building. The room is accessed by a private entrance off the Redpath Terrace, up a charming circular staircase. The room is secure, spacious and bright, and most important for the students who have secured a spot for a year – quiet.

“Response has been so positive that the Library is working with the Post Graduate Students Society to determine if their funding will support the addition of 30 more seats for PhD students in the adjacent room,” said Koen. The first PhD Room was the brainchild of the former Trenholme Director of Libraries, Janine Schmidt, who developed the concept in collaboration with Prof. Martin Kreiswirth, Associate Provost (Graduate Education).

In addition to launching the PhD Room, the Library celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Blackader-Latuerman Collection of Architecture and Art in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library.

As well as improved access to the 100,000 volume collection and expanded seating for all students, the renovation includes a dedicated eight-seat graduate student room for PhD students in the Departments of Architecture, Art History and Communication Studies, and Urban Planning.

Recent renovations to the McLennan Library Building in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library have included improved perimeter seating on three floors. One-third of the 900-seat upgrade is dedicated to graduate students. Other additions and renovations across the library system have brought the total number of dedicated graduate student spaces across the thirteen-branch Libraryto 533.