Library Renovations: Built with Students in Mind

Monday, September 24, 2012

  • Students taking advantage of the new changes at the library

    Students taking advantage of the new changes at the library

Written by Abigel Lemak

With the thousands of students that visit the McLaughlin Library everyday, there’s often a struggle to find a place to study, especially when meeting as a group. To help combat this struggle, the recent renovations made to the library hold exciting new changes for students, with over a hundred new seats introduced to the first floor. 

Communications Supervisor, Andrea Karpala, explained some of the new services introduced to the library with refreshing enthusiasm.  

“The big change in terms of service is the Ask Us! desk,” said Karpala. “Now when you come into the library, that’s where you can go with all your starter questions and they’ll be able to refer you [from there].” 

Ask Us! is also an online service for students that allows for them to chat, e-mail, phone a librarian across Ontario. This service extends the hours and the reach of the library, and gives students the ability to conduct research off-campus. For students who are new to academic research, or just want help taking out a book or finding a particular journal, Ask Us! serves as an easy way to get in touch with someone who can help point you in the right direction. 

Improved features like the Ask Us! help desk on the first floor, the increased number of seats on the first floor, as well as the sixty new outlets installed stem from the demands of students and staff.

“Basically, it was a result of student and staff feedback,” said Karpala. “Students were very clear [in saying] we want more space, we need more outlets and that’s why these changes occurred.”

Karpala also stressed the important role of surveys, as they allow a dialogue between the library staff and the students. Student and staff feedback can lead to improved services as they are more catered to the specific needs of students, enriching their library experience.  

Other features of the library renovations include a gender-neutral washroom on the first floor, a new Research Help Appointments desk and a relocation of the Circulation and Interlibrary Services desk. These changes are meant to maximize the space of the library, as well as make research a more user-friendly experience. Students can make appointments for a more in-depth one-on-one coaching experience on how to navigate the library site, access certain types of material and uncover resources they may not have known were available.

Though the first floor may be the most obvious source of change, the third floor is also undergoing some renovations.

“The third floor [is] still under construction,” said Karpala. “But they've expanded the Chemistry Learning Centre and have refreshed the Math and Stats room.”

For those puzzled about the decreased number of computers in the library, it’s only temporary. 

“We’re currently in the process of replacing some of the old computers,” added Karpala. “Once the new ones arrive we’ll have the same number of computers as last year.”

The library is working on providing a series of workshops for students who are new to the basics of research; basics that are so often omitted from the first-year curriculum. These workshops stem from the view that “common sense” is just not common when it comes to library resources, and most student’s don’t take full advantage because they just don’t know that those services are there.

Student’s interesting in seeing what the library has in store for the next month can refer to the news feed on the right side of the university library page, as well as explore Reg, the online workshop registration system. The increasing amounts of resources available to students on and off-campus are overwhelming in their ability to help students find what they need to succeed academically. It’s now a question of making those resources known to students within their first year.

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