The University Library is embarking on a new path to meet the changing needs and expectations of 21st century learners and scholars. As noted in our new Strategic Plan, we will aspire to be a true catalyst of intellectual activity - both on campus and in our many communities.
The plan is ambitious and transformative. We will work aggressively to accelerate the pace of research on an already research-intensive campus, draw far greater focus to our most unique and remarkable collections, enhance and enrich the learning opportunities afforded to our students,dramatically improve our users’ overall experience and seek new opportunities for deep community engagement.
Great vision requires great spaces.
Our three libraries, Mills Memorial Library, the H.G. Thode Library of Science and Engineering and the Innis Library, are all in need of revitalization.
Rapid increases in student enrolment, coupled with dramatic advances in technology and ever-increasing user expectations, have put the Library’s physical spaces to the test. Despite the increasing focus on online collections and services, over 2 million visitors pass through our doors each year and students often find themselves scouring the floors looking for appropriate study space.
Our current generation of students expects a wider variety of learning spaces—more collaborative areas for group work, better quiet areas for individual study and reflection, and more technology-infused areas primed for creativity and innovation. Our faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars need more enhanced spaces to support their research activities - better areas for consultation, improved access to unique collections and more comfortable, quiet work spaces. Our staff need better quality space to work individually and with each other.
Historically we have responded to new opportunities with speed and agility—but sometimes without a clear, long-term roadmap for how space should be allocated over time. Like many large organizations, we've renovated individual spaces as funding became available. We have built where space appeared, not necessarily where the function was best suited.
With all these considerations in mind, we commissioned a prominent local architectural firm to do a study of our current and future space needs, and to make recommendations for the best way to plan for these. I am very pleased with the results of the McMaster University Library Master Space Plan. I believe that the report presents a strategic, forward-looking and holistic approach to space utilization. The three libraries, as re-imagined, would enhance opportunities for both formal and informal learning, inspire creativity and innovation, and enhance community engagement across campus. In doing so, the document proposes the kind of Library the students, researchers and staff members of one of Canada’s great research universities truly deserve.
I encourage you to review the plans and to share your thoughts with us.