Although McGill students are not required to be on campus this semester, an estimated 60 per cent of them are expected to be in the Montreal area. As a result, wrote Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), in a communiqué last week, “we are beginning to safely reestablish our vibrant campus experience, in a reimagined way.”
An important component of the reimagined on-campus experience is the newly-established Study Hubs.
Study hubs are designed for safe, quiet and individual study on campus. Hundreds of such study spaces will be available in Redpath Library Building and the Nahum Gelber Law Library beginning on September 8. Study Hubs in the Macdonald Campus Library will be launched in mid-September.
These spaces will respect both public health authorities’ directives and McGill protocols devised to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.
“These spaces will be retrofitted to allow for social distancing and will follow all of McGill’s careful safety protocols, including enhanced cleaning, mandatory mask use when circulating, safe lineups, and clear signage,” said Labeau in his message.
Ins and outs of Study Hubs
Students must book their Study Hub time online. (There are no drop-in hours.) Time slots will typically be for a three-hour period. Users can book only for themselves and only once a day.
Food will not be allowed in the Study Hubs, although students can bring their own sealed drinking containers, which can be refilled at water fountains. Drinking directly from the fountains is prohibited.
Eighty-five percent of hub seats have electrical outlets however students are urged to charge their laptops, phones and electronic equipment fully at home before heading to the Hubs, as charging stations and laptop lending are discontinued because of their touching points.
Study-spot holders can print on-site.
Adapting to COVID-19
The Study Hubs are the newest component of a library experience that has been revamped to respond to the pandemic.
McGill obtained access to the HathiTrust Digital Library’s Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) in April, soon after the COVID emergency lockdown began. This trust made available 2 million books, including copyright protected materials, to McGillians. In exchange, to adhere to its fair-use provisions, access to the stacks remains closed.
“HathiTrust is a game changer. This temporary service gives all students, no matter where they are in the world, access to materials on our shelves,” said Diane Koen, Senior Director, Planning & Resources for the Library. “Without it, our significant cohort of international students who are not studying in the city, would not be able to access materials for their own research.”
Book pick-up service
Although users cannot browse the physical stacks, the McGill catalogue, WorldCat Discovery, is still accessible online – and books that are not available through HathiTrust can be requested through the McLennan-Redpath Terrace Pick-up Service. Students can fill out a request form online and pick up their book – safely – at the terrace.
Librarians also offer a Virtual Reference Service seven days a week, from 10 am to 6 pm, to help the McGill community with any questions about the library, including how to find materials and to provide expert research help.