Category Archives: study carrels

Study Carrels at Webster Library

We have heard from many of you about the lack of study carrels in the renovated spaces in Webster Library.

We have good news!

When the 4th floor of Webster Library closed for renovations in December 2016, the last of the old study carrels were removed.

Webster Library is planning on acquiring 88 carrels with 18-inch frosted glass partitions on 3 sides for reading rooms on the second floor and 4th floor of the library (in groups of 22).

They will be placed on the Bishop Street side near the back of the reading rooms. We are hoping to have 44 carrels installed by the end of May 2017 and the rest of the carrels will be in place by the end of Phase 4 (late 2017).

Students can still find carrels in the Vanier Library on the second floor.

For more on study carrels, please see the Webster Library Transformation blog: https://library.concordia.ca/webster-transformation/2017/03/14/study-carrels-a-must-for-concordia-students/

 

Cubicles/Study Carrels at Webster Library

We’ve heard from several of you about the lack of study carrels/cubicles in the newly renovated spaces at Webster Library.

The cubicles of the style you refer to are being phased out as part of the Webster Library Transformation Project.  Once the Transformation is complete all silent study spaces at the Webster Library will be contained within closed rooms, such as the new reading rooms currently available on LB3. 

The new reading rooms include a new contemporary style of individualized study space, or carrel. These new spaces feature partitions that are significantly lower than the old style cubicles in order to provide improved visibility, lighting and security. The facing partition (30 cm) and the side partitions are meant to help limit distractions.

 However,  as a result the comments we have received on this issue, we have decided to re-examine the design of the carrels to be placed in the renovated 2nd and 4th floors of the transformed Webster Library.

We are exploring the possibility of having a carrel design that will still allow improved visibility, lighting and security but which would have higher partitions to provide greater isolation from distractions.

Thank you for your comments.

Library Cubicles and Outlets

You wrote:

I’m probably not the first to suggest this, but I think it would be a good idea if the individual study cubicles in the Study Hall had power outlets to charge things like phones, tablets, and laptops that students would use for studying.

Also, a ring or something to which a laptop (or other device) can be locked, so that a student who is using their device to study can get up to use the washroom (for example)without having to take the thing with them.

Thank you for your comments.

It sounds like you are referring to LB 239 at Webster Library, which is a study hall with cubicles.  In this study hall, the cubicles do have electricity.  Every second cubicle has two outlets: one for the person in the cubicle and one for the person next to it.

We expect this study room will be closed to students starting Reading Week, for renovations.

But the good news is that LB5 will be opening on March 3, 2016 and there will be 550 seats available to students on this new floor!  All of the tables on LB5 will be electrified as they are on LB3 in the new Reading Rooms.

In terms of providing temporary rings  for security, unfortunately, these would not be secure enough to prevent theft.

An important reminder: you should not leave your valuables when you step away from a workstation or seat.

Please see Concordia Security’s website for more tips on preventing theft in public places: http://www.concordia.ca/campus-life/security/prevention.html#theft 

 

Webster Library 4th floor wifi and power outlets

You wrote:

Hi, Concordia library is a great place to study. It provides me a great atmosphere to concentrate. Best part is the Blue Zone.

But there are some suggestions I want to make.

1. Really weak WiFi signal in some places on 4th floor. Some times it takes too long to open even a e-mail. As we need internet to study, to do assignments so with slow connection sometimes it irritates.

2. The power plugs- there are many cubicles on 4th floor in the blue zone where the power plugs doesn’t work. Personal experience- In the winter exam period when the whole library was fulled with students I find a empty cubicle but when my laptop battery gets down i plugged it but it was not working, not even the nearby plugs, so I had to change my place. Few days back also when i try to connect my laptop power plug was not working.

These are just my personal suggestions. Hope you will understand and try to resolve these issues. Thank you. 🙂

and:

I have a suggestion for the library. I do regularly visit the library and I have noticed that Wifi connectivity on the fourth floor (orange zone) is really poor. Which makes it difficult for students like me to browse for any curriculum related contents. Could you please look in to the aforementioned problem. Thank you.!!

Thank you for your comments.  We’re glad to hear that you’re regular visitors and have helpful suggestions for the library.

Power outlets: We did testing of the outlets near the study carrels on the 4th floor, East side blue zone, and all of them were working except for one cluster.  We have reported this to Facilities Management and the Electrical team.

Wifi: We contacted IITS with your comments and they found an area of the 4th floor in LB where the signal strength could be improved.  IITS has installed an additional access point that will help improve connectivity in this area.

Please continue to send us your comments and suggestions, the more details you include about the location of problems when reporting building issues, the better we can assist you.  

Study space = prime real estate

You wrote:

I have some ideas on the topic of reserving study spaces (particularly the study carrels. I’ve noticed that people will often leave for one, two, and sometimes three hours, but leave their books behind to hold their place.

In my opinion, if you plan on leaving for more than 20 minutes or so, you automatically forfeit your place.  The carrels on the 3rd and 4th floors are prime real estate, especially at this time of the year. It is both inconsiderate and rude for people to leave their  belonging behind to reserve “their” carrel. The carrels belong to the library and cannot be reserved while you go out for Tim Horton’s break…

I’m not really sure how the library would go about enforcing this, since moving personal belongings is a very touchy subject. A publicity campaign is a good start.

Thank you for writing in.  You’re right, in both libraries, study space is at a premium these days, but the issue of moving personal belongings is indeed a very touchy subject.  In fact it has come up before in the Suggestion Box.  The Libraries now have a policy regarding belongings left unattended at computer workstations.  I do not think that we have the human resources necessary to implement a similar policy for study carrels.

That said, I appreciate you taking the time to write to us and I encourage others to let us know what they think of the situation.

What we’re doing about noise

Noise in the library continues to be the issue about which we get the most feedback in the Suggestion Box. Here are some excerpts of your words:

Given that the level of noise in the library seems to be an ongoing issue, I was happy to see the new sign in the main corridor of the 2nd floor (near the circulation desk) which reminds students that this is a silent zone. However, I find students disregard it nevertheless. As I type in the supposed “blue zone” computer lab (where I am trying to concentrate to get some work done) there seems to be a loud party in corridor – their noise level travels to the lab (and the corridors echo, making it worse).

and

A fellow student once likened the Concordia library to “a club”. Given the noise level, the amount of socializing and students having loud & lengthy conversations on their phones, I don’t disagree with this comparison. What happened to Concordia honoring academics and a place of quiet study for its students?

and

The hallway close to the circulation desk really is a social area, making concentration / focus for students like me who use the computers very difficult. Students are hanging outside the study lounge chit-chatting, laughing, talking on their cell phones disregarding the fact that sound travels, we need quiet when using the computer to do our work. I am less encouraged to use the Concordia library for these reasons. I cannot believe there are no staff who circulate the library keeping the noise level down.

and

A lot of students who move chairs around in the orange zones with large tables are doing this so that they can sit 4-6 people per table. In these instances, they act like the library is a cafeteria and are noisy and disruptive to other students.This is a really aggravating situation, especially when students find themselves spending 10+ minutes looking for a study space once they get to the library.

and

Can there please be signs in the hallways and staircases banning socializing / cell phone use. What about monitors or security guards doing rounds to remind students shouting and talking to KEEP IT DOWN.

and

The library is turning into less of a space of quiet study and more of a place of socializing and phone conversations. This is irritating and obnoxious for those of us who actually come to the library to work, but given the increasing noise level, this is proving to be impossible.

and

I strongly suggest there be large, visible signs /notices around the library – in the bathrooms, in the corridors, on the staircases – reminding students to keep the noise level down and be considerate of other students who have come here to study and who need peace & quiet. Because this fact has seem to be forgotten lately!

and

It is absolutely impossible to focus and study at the downtown library. There is a ton of orange zone spaces and very little blue zone spaces (with tables as opposed to cubicles). There should be a security guard roaming around those areas and ask for people to quiet down in the orange zone. It specifically says QUIET study, NOT loud Study.

and

Maybe the message is that if I wanted a serious education, I should go to a serious university, like McGill. I don’t believe that Concordians should expect less, or that Concordia is a less serious university; but we should create a culture of seriousness and respect here at our library that reflects this. Let’s do it together. Perhaps we could have a round-table discussion with concerned library staff and students, so we can brainstorm together about how best to change the culture of our library. I’m sure many students are willing to take part in efforts to reduce noise levels at the university.

Thank you for your many comments.  Though not all of your words can appear here, each complaint and suggestion is always read and considered.  It may not always feel this way, but library staff and administrators at all levels are very much aware of the difficulties many of you are encountering when it comes to finding quiet  work and study space.  Here is what Guylaine Beaudry, our Director of Webster Library, would like to say:

Too often, many of our users feel  that the level of noise is too high in the library. The Blue and Orange Zones system has produced good results,  but we are aware that  improvements are still necessary for us to meet generally recognized standards of a quality environment in an academic library.

The short-term actions we have taken to address the situation include:  

  • hiring an additional security agent between noon and 10:00 p.m. and on an extra weekend to monitor the entrance of the library, patrol regularly, and assist in reinforcing the application of the library code of conduct.
  • increasing the number of staff walkabouts in the library during exam period.

We also know that longer term actions are required to adequately address the noise problems.  We are actively working on these:

  • a redesign of the library entrance area with the objective of better using that prime space,  lowering the level of noise created there, and setting the  right tone for a quiet library environment.
  • planning for providing more space in the library, and in particular, more study seats.

Thanks again to everyone for participating in this ongoing conversation.

More Books?

You wrote:

As a PhD student, I often find myself needing to check out more than 60 books at any one time. The library’s policy of a maximum of 60 books is very inconvenient and does not encourage research, which any academic institution should encourage. I urge the library to reconsider the 60 book limit for graduate students and increase it to something like 120 or so. I hope this  will be taken into account.

Thank you for this suggestion, which has been forwarded for consideration to the Circulation Services Committee.  As you stated, graduate students can borrow a maximum number of 60 items at any one time.  Undergraduates can borrow up to 30 items at once and faculty members 100. We have not so far heard from other graduate researchers who find these limits problematic, but more comments about this issue are always welcome. 

Our borrowing policies aim to strike a difficult balance between flexibility for individuals and equitable access for the large student body. Serious research can certainly require using more than 60 or 100 books at a time, but there may be alternatives to checking them all out of the library at once.  Have you considered requesting a graduate study carrel at the Circulation Desk?  Study carrels allow graduate students to have books set aside on their own designated shelf (or shelves) in a study room. Though these books must be used in the library, they are not part of your maximum borrowing limit and can be accessed at any point during the 24 hours that we are open for study. Thanks again for the interesting feedback.