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Study Space Suggestions for all Libraries

(Nov 30/23) The Thode meditation room should be soundproof. It only slightly masks sound which is disappointing since its name implies that it would be silent. It’s not much different than just being in the first floor of Thode.

Library response: Thank you for letting us know. Unfortunately, we are unable to make this room completey soundproof but we have been considering renaming it to "Individual Study Space". You are correct in sharing that this room is not different from the rest of the first floor, which is labelled as "Collaborative Work Space". I appreciate your feedback. (Jan 26/24)
Answered by: Lynne Serviss (Associate University Librarian, User Services and Community Engagement)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Sep 26/23) The chairs on the second floor are very squeaky and make so much noise

Library response: Thank you for your comments. Since the 2nd floor is a very popular and busy study area I suspect the chairs are squeaking due to wear and tear. We can look into this and appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Thank you again for your comments. (Sep 27/23)
Answered by: apearce,servisl
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Aug 14/23) 4th floor Mills - study space in the stacks near the window overlooking the centre plaza between MUSC and Mills - the outlets near the study desks are not working. Considering how limited study space is on campus, this becomes a problem for students who cannot reliably use these spaces to work when they need to charge their devices. Please address.

Library response: Thank you very much for letting us know. We will put in a call to the electrician to take a look at our outlets on the fourth floor. (Sep 12/23)
Answered by: Lynne Serviss (Associate University Librarian, User Services and Community Engagement)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Mar 6/23) I am frustrated with the noise level in the library, which has significantly increased over the past few weeks. Despite the librarys quiet policy, it has become difficult to concentrate due to noise from group discussions, loud phone calls, and eating. This is affecting my academic performance and that of other students who also require a quiet environment to study effectively. I suggest the library management implement stricter measures, such as designated areas for group discussions or noisy activities, or hiring more security personnel to enforce the rules. Please address this issue promptly to maintain a conducive environment for studying and research.

Library response: I am sorry that Thode has been so loud that you have not been able to study. This is indeed frustrating! Staff respond to noise complaints sent via the form or the Quiet email very quickly - you are welcome to use either of these reporting tools when you notice students being too loud. You can also speak to staff at the front desk. From the staff side, I can encourage staff to make more frequent walk-arounds in the library as this does help with noise control. We are also looking at making some improvements with our Quiet signage (adding more signs and making them more visible). We are also working with a group of students who are investigating alternative ways to report noise complaints. Hopefully these solutions will help with the noise. Thank you for bring this issue to our attention. (Mar 7/23)
Answered by: Lynne Serviss (Associate University Librarian, User Services and Community Engagement)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Feb 7/23) There should be an online-live chat or something where we can report if people in study areas are being inappropriate / loud. SO many times there are people who are extremely loud in the quiet areas which isnt fair for the many students who choose to sit in quiet areas to study.

Library response: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The library has a Report Noise in a Quiet Area online form that is monitored by library staff throughout the day. Staff normally respond to a noise compliant within a few minutes. We also have a chat box on the bottom right side of the library homepage which you can use. We have recently been discussing alternative ways for students to bring noise complaints to our attention - we would be happy to take any suggestions on how you think we can make this process more visible and easier for our students. Here is a link to Noise form: https://library.mcmaster.ca/forms/report-noise-quiet-area (Feb 8/23)
Answered by: Lynne Serviss (Associate University Librarian, User Services and Community Engagement)
Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink

(Feb 10/22) Hello, I wanted to know if there were any private 1-person conference rooms on campus (to hold meetings and such). When discussing sensitive research data, I want to ensure the privacy of participants in research studies but dont have a place to hold Zoom meetings with professors.

Library response: I am sorry, you did not provide an email address so I cannot reply to you directly. Feel free to reach out to me at pottier@mcmaster.ca I need to understand a little more about what you need before providing any suggestions. The only one I have at the moment is to book a Group Study Room in any of the libraries. Have a good day Anne Pottier Associate University Librarian (Feb 11/22)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink

(May 4/19) I was very disappointed to see today that the Health Science Library will be closed every weekend (along with every other library on campus) over the summer. I find this to fall embarrassingly far below the standard of services expected at a world- leading medical school. It is well known that medical students and residents do not follow the traditional University calendar and often have many exams (ALL Royal College exams, MCCQE etc) taking place during the summer months. As such, the Health Science Libray plays a vital role to medical learners at McMaster, as residents and medical students continue to study, learn, teach, and work. I would also underscore this fact by highlighting that there are NO other dedicated study spaces at any of the other major teaching hospitals across the city. As such, the library has remained the only place for medical students and residents to study, collaborate, and advance their clinical knowledge. A quick online review demonstrates that this thrifty approach is unique to McMaster. In fact, there is no other medical school in CANADA that closes its health sciences library on weekends (this includes a review of all 14 English language medical schools health science libraries). This is for good reason - the medical community including medical students, residents, and faculty depend on the library as a space to work year round. In an era where our medical school has received some of the largest philanthropic donations in Canadian history, I find it puzzling that the very heart of any univerisy, its libraries, would be a place the University would try to pinch a few pennies. I wonder if the medical school/students, PARO resident representatives, or Post Graduate Medical Education, were consulted when this decision was made?

Library response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. Unfortunately, the Health Sciences Library budget has been showing a deficit for the past several years. We have worked to balance our budget by cutting some of our services (including weekend hours) and cancelling journal titles. We have recently received some additional funds to prevent the cancellation of additional journal subscriptions, but no additional funds were provided to cover staffing costs. We continue to provide 24 hour access to our online collection and we hope this will help you with your information needs. Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to discuss your concerns in more detail.  (May 7/19)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

(Apr 15/19) Hi! The Grad study room in Mills has some great high desks at the windows, but not enough high chairs to fill them - might it be possible to get a couple more?

Library response: Thanks for your email. We will definitely look into providing some more stools in this space.   (Apr 24/19)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Mar 24/19) This year I have noticed an increase in 2 issues that have made Thode more and more unfriendly to study in. Number 1 There has been a huge increase in the lack of respect for the quiet study areas and staff are less and less responsive to complaints. Number 2 There has been an explosion in the number of people vaping inside the library. It was bad enough when people were doing it outside despite McMasters status as a non-smoking campus but for it to now have spread to inside a university building makes it look like the new rule only made things worst

Library response: Thank you for submitting these comments.  The Library just ran its Respect Campaign to try to encourage students to be more respectful of those around them in many ways, including respecting what type of space they are choosing to study in. We will try to be more digiligent in responding to noise complaints, but can only do this during the regular hours of opening. If this is happening in the late night study period, please let the security guards know there is a problem and they will talk with the offending groups. With respect to your comment about vaping, this is not condoned by anyone. Please report these issues to the staff at the main floor service desk as soon as this happens and they will deal with it. We have been told to notify Security immediately when these incidents happen and they will come talk to the offenders. If you are unable to come to the desk you could report this kind of a situation using the noise@mcmaster.ca email address as well. Please make sure you clearly identify where the vaping is taking place and we will send someone to deal with it. Thanks again for bringing these issues to our attention. Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian (Mar 26/19)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Mar 19/19) There is an awful buzzing noise in Mills Commons which makes it quite distracting/annoying when Im trying to get work done there. The buzzings been going on for a couple of weeks and gives me a headache Im there for long - could you kindly look into remedying the situation?

Library response: Thanks for submitting this suggestion. You are correct, there is a terrible buzzing coming from the lights in this area. We suspect the ballast for each light will need to be replaced, but this is not work we can do until after the end of term.  We appreciate your patience while we work to get this problem resolved. (Mar 21/19)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Feb 4/19) Hi, I have noticed that multiple people continue to vape (smoke) in the middle of the library, especially all over second floor. It smells gross and I really would rather not breath that in. Please put signs or something saying no vaping or actually enforce the rules. thanks

Library response: Thank you for your comment. We were not aware this was happening. We will not post signs since we are at a Smoke Free Campus, so there should be no need for the signage, but we will start monitoring the area on a regular basis and will call Security Services to deal with any offenders who are contravening this policy.  Please do let us know if this continues to happen. Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian (Feb 5/19)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Nov 18/18) Hi! I have noticed that all other libraries have somewhere to report loud noise in quiet spaces. The health science library does not have this option. I find that the group study rooms near the silent study space do not have very good noise cancelling abilities and groups are often very very loud while they are using them. I was wondering why the health science library does not have a noise reporting system like the other libraries do.

Library response: Thanks for your feedback. The library serves multiple purposes and sometimes they are at odds with each other. Though it is not ideal to have group study rooms in close proximity to the silent study space, this was necessary due to the limited space. Sometimes groups in the study rooms are not aware that their voices carry outside.  The walls tend to give a false impression that they are good sound barriers which, as you have noted, they are not.  Signs are posted inside the Group Study rooms reminding students to keep the noise level down and staff regularly walk around the library monitoring the space.  I will ask staff to increase their vigilance to help educate those not observing the use of space, especially leading up to exam time.  Please inform staff at the Service Desk when noise levels become an issue so it can be addressed in the moment.  If you are comfortable doing so, you may wish to speak to the groups in the rooms.  Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient resources to implement an online noise reporting system similar to the other campus libraries, though we appreciate the suggestion. (Nov 19/18)
Answered by: Neera Bhatnagar (Head of Systems & Public Services, Health Sciences Library)

(Apr 26/18) Thank you so much for providing a small and comfortable working space to focus on studies and learning. All the attention provided by the librarians towards the students is truly appreciated. McMaster is a better place with Innis library.

Library response: Thanks so much for taking the time to share these kind words with us. I will make sure this is passed along for the Innis staff to see. Hope the exams went well. (Apr 26/18)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Innis  |  Permalink

(Oct 26/17) The Health Science Library is great, and people love studying here, but recently (particularly during midterms) it has gotten to be very full all the time. The problem is, many students are coming early, and then taking very long breaks while leaving their books/notes on a desk for hours at a time, while there are students working on the floor because they cant find a desk. It might be useful for staff to go around at random times to check and make sure that people arent saving their spots for extended periods of time.

Library response: We are happy that you like the space and we appreciate your feedback.  It is a great place to study.  Our policy on the use of study space does indicate that it is not acceptable to reserve study space except for the group study rooms. Staff will be more vigilant on monitoring the use of the space especially during mid-terms and exam times. (Oct 27/17)
Answered by: Neera Bhatnagar (Head of Systems & Public Services, Health Sciences Library)

(Sep 18/17) The water bottle fill station/ drinking fountain on the lower level of HSL has very poor pressure. It took me 3 minutes to fill my water bottle. A possible reason for this could be that the filter is clogged/needs to be replaced.

Library response:
Thank you for your comment. We have placed a work order to have the filter changed. I am hopeful the water fountain will soon be fixed. (Sep 22/17)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

(Apr 20/17) Emphasize the the Reading Pavilion is a group study space (as listed on the map on the website) rather than silent study. Most people are not aware of this and get upset at people using the space for group work as they are talking.

Library response: Thank you for your feedback. You are correct, the Pavilion space is not reserved for silent study. We do our best make sure all students understand that we have quiet, silent, and conversation zones. When students complain, we direct them to the appropriate signage in the library and to our website. However, it sounds like the message isn’t reaching everyone. Therefore, I will be sharing your comments with our Marketing team and ask that they come up with new strategies for sharing this information. Please contact me directly if you wish to discuss your concerns in more detail. (Apr 20/17)
Answered by: mckinn,bhatnag

(Mar 20/17) Having Group study rooms in the basement of thode effectively defeats the entire purpose of the basement environment, which is supposed to be a quiet study area with no talking. When multiple groups get together in the rooms and talk/laugh very loudly it is disruptive to the outside environment, even though they may not realize it. Unfortunately, the only solutions I can think of that involves keeping these rooms as group study rooms is to properly and professionally sound proof the rooms to allow minimal sound to escape. Or, staff can conduct patrols to keep the noise down, however, this solution would waste staff time and resources. Quiet study is the main reason I come to thode instead of other libraries, but its becoming difficult with the level of noise in the basement. Any assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Library response: Thanks for sending your comments in. You are correct, it is not ideal to have Group Study Rooms situated next to Silent Study. We did do some soundproofing in these rooms a couple of summers ago, which helped a bit, but given how the rooms were built we can't do anything more at this point. We have posted signs in these rooms reminding the students using these rooms that they need to keep the noise down. As you may have noticed, we are starting to do some renovations on the lower floor. When this work is completed there will be an enclosed large Silent Study room on the lower floor. The plan is to build many group study rooms on the 2nd floor. You might consider working in the area outside the Makerspace on the far side of the floor. It is quite quiet there. Please report any loud groups to quiet@mcmaster.ca - this email is read by the staff at the service desk on the 1st floor and they will come speak to any groups who are making noise.  Our apologies that there is nothing more immediate we can do at this time, but this is a problem we are very much aware of and are working towards resolving as we move forward. (Mar 21/17)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Dec 8/16) can we please get standing desks installed somewhere as it improves health and studying

Library response: Thanks for your suggestion. We will make sure to include some standing tables/desks as we continue to renovate and change up our spaces, but in the meantime you can borrow a laptop stand from the service desk in any of the libraries which will permit you to stand while using your laptop.  Good luck on your exams! (Dec 9/16)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Mar 31/16) I am consistently surprised by how dirty HSL is, regardless of the time of day. I find garbage on the floor, hair in the cubicles, spilt drinks, used toilet paper on the bathroom floor. Its just disgusting. Students are of course part of the problem. Maybe posters in the cubicles reminding people to pick up after themselves would be helpful. But I am very doubtful that HSL is being cleaned regularly, especially the cubicles and washrooms.

Library response: Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns. The Library has been working closely with housekeeping and facilities management in an attempt to address these issues. Last Thursday (March 31st) all of the public washrooms were steam cleaned. We are now reviewing housekeeping’s cleaning schedule to see if they can prioritize other areas of concern (i.e. garbage removal & wiping down the study carrels and tables). The Health Sciences Library has over 50,000 visitors each month, making us one of the busiest spaces on campus. Keeping up with cleaning demands has been challenging, but we are committed to addressing the issue.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions or comments. (Apr 5/16)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

(Mar 21/16) Spaces that are labelled silent study such as the sixth floor are not being used by students in this way. There should be a better way to monitor this such as putting cameras or something to ensure that students are using this space appropriately.

Library response: Thanks for your email. We agree, it would be great if everyone would use designated spaces as they are intended. Unfortunately there aren't enough staff on duty at any one time to patrol all of our spaces, or to monitor cameras. We have provided an email address which can be used to report problems in Mills, Innis or Thode libraries. This email address is monitored at all times and a staff member will be dispatched to address the problem. We have posted this email address on posters in both the Quiet and Silent areas of the libraries. Next time, feel free to tell us about the problem when it is happening - drop us a note at quiet@mcmaster.ca Good luck on your exams! (Mar 22/16)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Mar 16/16) I love the new arrangement of bookshelves in the Reserve Room (2nd floor behind main desk)! I think moving some of the couches/armchairs from the Reading Pav to the new space, or some desks/tables would be an excellent use of the space. Thanks!

Library response: Thank you for the positive feedback and the great idea. We have ordered new furniture for the empty space and it should arrive tomorrow (March 22nd). We have ordered tables and chairs for individual study. Once everything is set up we will see how much room is left for armchairs. If we can add more seating we will. We are always looking for ways to add more places to sit in the library so any suggestions you have are appreciated. (Mar 21/16)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

(Mar 2/16) The second floor on thode gets really loud, especially during exam time. I understand its a busy time of year, but sometimes there are people that crowd in big groups and talk really loud right beside people that are clearly trying to study. It makes it really hard to concentrate, even while wearing ear plugs

Library response: Thanks for your email. We do realize this floor can get quite noisy, especially given the number of study seats on this floor. Much of this noise is rising up from the 1st floor in the open area beyond the ends of the 2nd floor balcony. We will be adding acoustic panels on the round brick wall and hanging acoustic clouds from the 3rd floor ceiling to help address this issue, but we won't be able to start this work until the end of this term. We expect this to make a great difference in terms of noise levels on the 2nd floor. If the noise is being generated by people near you on the 2nd floor, please first ask them to tone it down, but if that doesn't help feel free to send an email to quiet@mcmaster.ca. This email is monitored by staff in Mills, Innis and Thode libraries. A staff member will be dispatched to speak to anyone making too much noise, especially as we approach exams. Please make sure to give us enough details to help us identify those making the noise. Good luck on your exams! (Mar 22/16)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Feb 24/16) I really love the new online room booking and was wondering if it will be permanent? It makes room booking and staying organized so much easier. Please keep it!

Library response:   Thank you for your positive comments about the new online room booking system. We have every intention of making this service permanent. We’ve launched the service as a pilot to give us flexibility to make changes as we work out the bugs. From time to time we may need to take the system down while we tweak the software. Please share this message with your classmates and encourage them to contact us if they encounter any problems. The more feedback we get from students the faster we can move through our testing phase and arrive at a permanent system.       (Feb 25/16)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

(Feb 13/16) I would like to thank the maintenance staff, administration and contractors responsible for getting the water pressure for the bottle refill station on the lower floor study area back up to normal. This is tremendously convenient and deeply appreciated.

Library response: Thank you for taking the time to write us. I will pass your comments on the relevant parties (HHS Engineering and FHS Facilities) to let them know you appreciate their work. (Feb 16/16)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)

(Apr 10/15) The 6th floor at mills has varying temperatures; It is getting unreasonably hot for some reason. I asked around, and people feel the same. Its been like this for the past couple of days that Ive come here. If something can be done to maintain a normal room temperature, that would be nice. Thank you.

Library response: We apologize for the situation - campus facilities staff are trying to figure out what is going on so they can resolve it. We hope they will identify the problem shortly, with a solution to go with it. There is nothing else we can do but keeping reporting it and asking for updates. Sorry - we know this is a very difficult environment to study effectively in. (Apr 14/15)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Dec 18/14) Love the Basement study space however can you add some comfy chairs like the ones in Mills to the study space, cause sometimes it is nice to get comfy when studying.

Library response: Thanks for sending your suggestion in. We do intend on adding some comfy seating to both the lower level and 2nd floor at Thode Library. The problem is that we need to keep the area Quiet, which is why there are so many carrels in this area. Keep sending your suggestions in - we are happy to look at them and will do our best to act on them! (Dec 22/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Dec 3/14) Ive noticed recently that there are not enough chairs on the second floor of Thode library. I was looking for a place to study, and, while there were perhaps a couple dozen empty desks, there was not a single unoccupied chair in the room. I know people tend to move chairs around without returning them, but it definitely seemed like there were not enough chairs to cover all the work areas.

Library response: Thanks for letting us know about this. We did purchase enough chairs for each of the study sections when this area was renovated a couple of years ago, but students do move chairs around. We will walk through and try to put things back at the tables. Good luck with your exams! (Dec 4/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Nov 18/14) It is unfortunate how many students are disrespectful of the 6th floor silent zone. Every time I use this space I have to tell students to stop talking, which is frustrating because this shouldnt be happening. I have used the quiet@mcmaster email before, however, I wonder if a more effective approach would be to have someone patrol the floor every hour as my email isnt always responded to immediately. Its frustrating to have to ask this. I am baffled by how many students do not respect the quiet zone. I was going to also suggest more posters about how it is the quiet zone, but Im not sure how helpful that would be considering that I have often asked students sitting next to the giant SILENT ZONE letters to stop talking. Any help with this matter would be greatly appreciated!

Library response: Thanks for your suggestion. We will try to patrol this area more regularly, but in reality people quiet down when they see a staff person then the noise goes up as soon as we leave. We do try to make our presence felt more regularly during the time leading up to exams, and we will continue to do this. We appreciate your efforts to resolve the problem yourself, and would encourage you to keep doing this by speaking directly to anyone making noise, reminding them that people are choosing to be there because it is a designated Silent Study space. And please continue to send emails to quiet@mcmaster. ca.  We do try to respond to these emails as quickly as possible.  Thanks for your patience - if we all work on this issue we might make an impact!   (Nov 19/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Oct 9/14) Hello, I am curious if anybody has noticed a subtle vibration running through the lower floor of Health Sciences Library. I am trying to determine if there is actually a vibration or if I am suffering from a kinaesthetic hallucination possibly brought on by some kind of environmental factor. Its not quite people in the air conditioning, but neither is it particularly conducive to my studies. Thank you for your assistance.

Library response: I have investigated with the staff working that day and they did not receive any complaints about floor vibrations.  In order to do a thorough investigation, I will require additional information.  Please contact me directly to facilitate this.  If you experience the vibrations again, please inform the staff at the Circulation Desk.  This will help us isolate the date and time the incident occurred. (Oct 14/14)
Answered by: Neera Bhatnagar (Head of Systems & Public Services, Health Sciences Library)

(Sep 23/14) Noise restrictions are not respected in this library too often by a minority of students. However, this minority is enough to spoil the quiet. It is a huge pain to set up computer/book/paper/etc in a good spot, only to have someone else come into the proximity 10 minutes later when they clearly should have stayed downstairs. Too often do people come up with food/chums and begin with raucous laughter... even if they chose to whisper things would be much better. I know levels of respect seem to have declined over the years (I remember Thode having dead silence before in areas), but the noise restrictions must be made more apparent AND enforced somehow. With a new batch every year, they are either ignorant to the rules (unlikely due to the many signs posted) or just flat out selfish. I know its not fun for a librarian to play bad cop, but the message is not received by some who feel it is their right to act however they wish. The idea of a group study space/lounge/cafe on the first floor is great, and these people should be redirected there -- by official staff. I dont see what would be wrong with someone on duty to take a walk around every so often and remind people of the expectations. People would get the message after a while and the problem would improve significantly over time. Thode librarys 2nd floor in particular is a wonderful space: - open space - natural light - an interesting floor layout where you have enough privacy and still feel the energy of fellows around you doing work - comfortable seating/temperature/desk space - good coffee just downstairs Thank you for taking the time to read my comment.

Library response: Thanks for sending us your comments. We do appreciate you taking the time to do this. We agree that there can be problems with small groups of people who don't feel they have to abide by the rules and regs as they are laid out. Thankfully there are only a few groups like this, but they can be quite disrupting to those around them. We have tried walking through spaces and asking those who are clearly making too much noise to keep it down, or better yet, relocate to someplace more appropriate for their activity level, but unfortunately we would have to be doing this all the time. I am sure you have seen things quiet down when a staff member walks by then the noise picks up as soon as they have left the area. We have tried to zone our spaces so that there is a variety of normal/noisy, quiet and silent study space in all three libraries. We do encourage our users to choose the space which best fits their study needs, but this is not always possible. More information on the different kinds of available study space can be found at http://library.mcmaster.ca/study-space. One thing we are trying is to have users send an email to quiet@mcmaster.ca to report particularly loud individuals or groups of people. This email is read by the staff on each of the service desks and once received a staff member is dispatched to attend to the problem. We are looking for different ways to deal with the problem of noise, and are always happy to receive suggestions.  We will monitor the areas as much as possible, but we can't promise a regular patrol. Glad you like the 2nd floor of Thode! We hope to be able to renovate the lower level at some point to make it a little more comfortable and appealing as well. (Sep 23/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Thode  |  Permalink

(Jun 10/14) Why on earth would McMaster build QUIET STUDY ROOMS beside offices? Students, faculty members and staff cant study quietly in these spaces which are signed out when they are built within the zones of offices where people talk loudly! (eg. Study room in MILLS 310/B and C

Library response: Thanks for your message. The study rooms on the 3rd floor are Group Study Rooms, not Quiet Study Rooms. The entire west wing of the 4th floor is designated as QUIET, while the entire 6th floor is designated as SILENT. I am sure you will be able to find an appropriate quiet place to work in one of these areas. More information on designated study spaces can be found at http://library.mcmaster.ca/study-space (Jun 10/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink

(May 24/14) Its become a joke how disruptive the environment has become in certain parts of Mills (the second floor is referred to as Club Mills). This seems to be a growing trend: noisy students being allowed to talk, eat, watch videos on computers that are meant to be used for education, and do anything but study in the libraries. Now Thode has a study space in place of its periodicals that will no doubt become a conversation floor in a similar way. This must stop. Something must be done. I am a graduate student and thankfully do not have to put up with this kind of thing, having a quiet study space with respectful student colleagues around me. But, I remember being in even less tense environments than are becoming more ubiquitous now, as an undergrad. Back then, it was a quiet study room with a couple of trouble- makers. Even though I couldnt focus due to the out-of-place noise, being young and timid (as other studious individuals may be) I didnt have the chutzpah to ask for respectful silence. It was awful, and a lot of time and concentration was lost due to this nonsense. And now, the situation is very clearly worse. Please, staff and management of the libraries: do something. Make it a campaign for study. Study should be encouraged and supported. Loud fun times should be looked down upon in the library; noise and disruption should be quelled or expelled. I who has been and those who now are fed up with being pushed out by disrespectful, entitled individuals eagerly await a response, and more eagerly await swift action. Solving this wouldnt cost money, it would only take guts and resolve to preserve and indeed revive a positive, studious environment that those who truly belong in a place of learning deserve and should expect. Kindest regards, especially to those who serve within the libraries and may also be frustrated with this not so recent trend.

Library response: Thanks for your message. We do understand that many students are looking for quiet study space, but just as many are looking for places to work together as a group, or are working on many things at once. The Library has designated both QUIET and SILENT study spaces in all libraries so students can choose to study in spaces which best meet their needs. As you probably know we have also just introduced a Graduate Study Room to provide a space conducive to the research and study needs of our graduate student population. We do our best to enforce the rules in these areas, although we do also encourage students to self-police these areas by talking with offenders themselves. We have a notification system in place whereby users can email quiet@mcmaster.ca if they feel a designated area is too noisy and we will send a staff member to speak to the offending individual(s). More information on these study areas can be found at http://library.mcmaster.ca/study-space We do monitor the use of our spaces throughout the term and make adjustments as necessary. Hope this helps provide a better picture about where the Library is coming from on this topic. Anne Pottier, Associate University Librarian Updated response: We did launch a RESPECT Campaign last fall to address many of these issues. More information on this campaign can be found at http://library.mcmaster.ca/respect. There are plans to expand this campaign in the next academic year. (Jun 5/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)

Follow-up Comments:

Thank you for the information, it is helpful. After some thought and more investigation, it seems that the issue may not be only about availability or designation of study space. Rather, its how the space is being used. The study spaces are being used as social spaces, not for collaborative work. In fact, the socialization that is happening is damaging to collaborative work, which is the intended benefactor of the space in the first place. The establishment of the quiet@mcmaster.ca email address was an excellent idea. Perhaps in addition, more postings could be made around quiet areas to encourage the self-policing and use of the email address. Would it be possible to look at ways of creating a culture in the libraries to encourage students to be vocal and active (in a respectful, co-operative way of course) about keeping things quiet around them? Going along with the above, there may be a need for heightened awareness of social space locations, as well. Perhaps this could be part of what is done to preserve the right environment of study spaces. Do students know where to go to hang out? Are there enough spaces for this, and are they accessible enough? Of course these latter two issues (availability and accessibility of social space) are outside the scope of the libraries responsibilities, but the first issue (awareness of social spaces and their locations) is something that could be a part of a quiet study space campaign. Thank you again for the information, and for posting my original comment and the response to it! (2014-06-12)

Categories: Study Space  |  Permalink

(Apr 17/14) Can we get more plugs for cubicles in Mills (especially 4th and 6th floor)? Sometimes its really difficult trying to find a seat with a plug nearby and we are forced to find somewhere else to study

Library response: Plans are underway to do this work over the summer months. (Jun 5/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink

(Mar 3/14) One concern I have is the lack of adequate 100% silent study space in most of McMasters libraries. Mills 6th floor is designed to be totally quiet, yet there are two elevators that are constantly making that annoying noise that signals when the elevator arrives at the floor. Is there any way to disable that noise on the 6th floor? Because of the floor layout, there really is no space up there that would be free of this nuisance.

Library response: Thanks for sending in your comment. Unfortunately we are not able to disable these notification bells since they are used both as a safety mechanism to indicate when a car has arrived and for those users with little or no sight to indicate when a car has arrived. Perhaps you could consider using headphones while using this space to ensure total silence.  (Mar 6/14)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services/Facilities/Learning Support/Collections)
Categories: Study Space, Mills  |  Permalink