Master Library Space Plan - The Process

The Master Planning process began in January 2015, represented by a kick-off meeting on January 19 with the Library Leadership Group (LLG) that focused on establishing parameters, setting goals, confirming assumptions, and exploring a vision for the library.

Throughout the project, the LLG acted as the steering committee for the master plan development, providing the design team with direction and feedback along the way. The main consultant contact throughout the process was Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian. 

The planning exercise began with a tour and detailed analysis of the Library’s existing spaces, programs, and operational model, against which new service models and planning principles could be assessed.

MILLS SPECIFIC: Mills Memorial Library shares a building with the McMaster Museum of Art, so a tour of the Museum occurred and an interview with the Director and Curator of the museum was conducted to gain an understanding of the high level space issues and needs that the Museum experiences.

THODE SPECIFIC: Swallow Acoustic Consultants conducted an acoustic study of H.G. Thode Library early in the process. 

INNIS SPECIFIC: The Innis Library straddles Kenneth Taylor Hall and the DeGroote School of Business building. The Faculty of Business is currently exploring the possibility of an expansion to DeGroote which could increase the Innis Library footprint. This Master Plan assumes a small expansion to Innis, although the exact shape of that expansion is yet unknown.

For engagement, and to develop key goals and principles to guide the master plan, two stakeholder workshops occurred early in the process:

  1. Staff Workshop with representation from all departments and all libraries (42 attendees).
  2. Student Workshop with representation from all faculties and both graduate and undergraduate students’ perspectives (15 attendees).

An online survey of staff, students and faculty was conducted (279 responses); the Master Plan reflects the majority results.

The master program provides the basis for the master plan and proposes:

  • the addition of spaces that are not in existence but have institutional and student/ staff/faculty support;
  • increases to spaces where current or future demand outweighs current supply
  • reduction of space for areas that are anticipated to require less space in the future;
  • deletion of spaces that are seen as unnecessary in the future or reflect an outdated model.

Two Master Plan options for each library were presented to the LLG and consensus was reached with LLG on a scenario reflecting elements from both options. All told, the design team developed 5 iterations, further refining and improving at each option. The preferred option for each library is documented in this master plan.

A high level building code review was done for both Mills Memorial Library and H.G. Thode Library as the occupancy and usage has changed drastically over the past decade to meet changing needs. In many cases, the master plan is proposing a continuation along that path. Issues relating to life safety and washroom fixture counts were considered.

When the master planning diagrams were at a preferred option state, they were presented to the University Library Advisory Council. The draft Master Plan was later distributed to the University Library Advisory Council.

The University Librarian held meetings with the Provost and each of the Deans and several other senior university adminsitrators to share the status and gather additional input.

The final plan reflects a broadly consultative process and represents a compelling shared vision for the future of the McMaster University Library.