The Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre added 128 quiet study spaces on level one (below the ground floor) this September in response to student demand.
The renovations for the space took place during the summer, replacing the shelves for academic journals, which are still available electronically and at other U of T libraries. Library staff identified the journal collection on level one as one of the first areas to be released for space.
“When we built the HMALC, it was a flexible design, because we intended to release some of the collection space and create new study spaces,” said Ian Whyte, the deputy chief librarian, in an interview. “We’re just doing it a lot sooner because of the growth of the campus.”
Whyte explained that repurposing the space in the library was initially planned forfive to 10 years after the building was opened, but instead began in the second year of the library’s existence due to increased demand. The Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre space was the first new space created.
Student feedback about the lack of study space prompted the library’s changes.
“The ‘Tell Us’ comment board was one of the main ways we received feedback. We do have another online survey where we were collecting feedback,” said Whyte. “We stopped using [the online] mechanism as frequently, but we still have received comments via that mechanism about space.”
The library currently has a total of 1,500–1,600 study spaces, including the 128 newly added ones.