Category Archives: labs

Library classrooms

You wrote:

I have spent the past hour running around the library, trying to find an available computer (downtown library) to do work with little luck, aside from the 10minute computers. I just passed by the little lab (first floor) in the hopes that it’s available but it’s been booked all day.

While I understand you have library skills workshops, is it really necessary for people to actually be on the computers? Just glancing in the window, I think about 5 people out of the entire class were actually on the library page. I do acknowledge the oft-repeated explanation that the lab was created specifically for these workshops, but given the reality that a)people REALLY need computers to do serious research and school work (especially around this time of year), b) are spending a lot of frustratingly wasted time trying to find a computer, and c) people in the workshops are not even using the computers, could this somehow Please be taken into consideration?

thank you

As you say, this issue has been raised before.  Unfortunately, at the downtown library, these are the only classrooms we have.  Every square inch of the library is in high-demand.  If we use the classrooms to give our workshops, we get complaints like yours.  If we book a group study room, we will need to take several laptops out of circulation, so less equipment is available. Furthermore, we get more noise complaints because another group of students will be talking too loudly in the main parts of the library, for lack of a group study room.  

It is a very difficult situation.  All I can suggest for now, is to check out the libraries’ classrooms’ schedules and plan your work around that.  Also, please consider going to the Vanier Library at Loyola or visiting the IITS labs.

Thank you for writing.

High demand for lab space

You wrote:

I came to work in the small lab in Webster, and saw there was a sign saying there was a workshop to take place from 5:30-8:30. While that is normally fine, it was 6pm and there was a grand total of two students plus the librarian in the lab. This is really insane. This is wasting a potentially useful resource for those two. If at 6pm none other than two showed up how can you justify blocking it to the rest of us who need to work? It would be incredibly appreciated if there is found to be low attendance for workshops, to consider opening it to others, while  informing them of the potential distraction and to act responsibly and work quietly. Especially with it being a busy time of year, this seems selfish and incredibly frustrating.

Thank you for your comment.  Something similar was suggested earlier in the term.  You can see my response here.  In the plans for the Webster Library renovations, there are several small-group instruction rooms.

LB 203 booked for instruction

You wrote:

As a Masters student, I tend to spend a good chunk of time researching in the library.  Unfortunately, a chunk of my time is also spent trying to actually find a computer to work on. This is absolutely ridiculous, and almost as infuriating as the new ‘printing’ system (but that’s another issue on its own :)). 

Traditionally, my one haven in the (downtown) library has been the small lab near the reserve room.  It’s quiet, out of the way, and fantastic for working for hours on end. What has happened recently is that the lab is taken up by ‘library workshops’. While I realize this was the original intention of the lab, this is completely unjustified in light of the reality of the paucity of computers. I cannot begin to tell you how infuriating it is to run around trying to find a computer, and pass by the lab, barred to regular use while four and a half students rapturedly listen to the evolution of citation styles, in a room that has over 30 computers.
In what way is this justified? When a workshop is in session, we aren’t allowed in even if the room is three-quarters empty. If we are able to block out the noise and won’t disturb, this type of monopolization should not be allowed.

I was absolutely increduled to just come from seeing the lab completely empty but locked, with the time slot 10-4 blocked off. I was told that due to there being numerous workshops, it was locked “so that the librarians won’t have the unpleasant act of kicking students out”. So for that reason, perfectly functional computers are barred from use. I find this the unfortunately typical type of response in the library- I suppose it would not occur to anyone
to simply put up a sign saying, “please note that in 1.5hours, there will be a class and you will have to leave?” This would save the librarians the burden but enable people to at least get some work done. Whose interests is this intended to be for?

I’m actually counting my lucky stars that I actually found a computer, as this is a rare find
these days. Please take this (extremely frequent) concern/frustration/injustice into consideration- we have legitimate work to do, and the location that ought to be most conducive to encouraging it, is simply not.

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded it to the Director of the Webster Library.

I understand your frustration, however, I can tell you that LB 203 *is* heavily used for instruction sessions. That’s what it is there for. Until a few years ago, it was exclusively used for that purpose. Also, staff has told me that, unfortunately, *some* students are extremely unpleasant when they are told to leave the room when it is needed for a class.

As for your suggestion to allow people to use the room while it is in use for a lecture, I think that would be highly inappropriate. It would be very disruptive to the lecturer and to the students in the class to have outsiders there. Imagine such a thing in any of your own classes? How would you feel?

Unfortunately, until the Webster Library undergoes its major renovations, students will have to look at the room’s schedule, which is posted on its door. You can also call the Information Desk at 514-848-2424-7700 to find out that room’s availability, before leaving home.

Computer Lab Closings

You wrote:

I’d just like to preface this complaint with an acknowledgement of the library’s fantastic array of opportunities for computer access, from the extensive number of laptops to the many labs. However, many students find it incredibly frustrating that the small lab on the main floor is often blocked off for workshops, often only catering to 4-5 students, as was the case when I passed by today. I acknowledge that allowing students in and out is incredibly dirruptive during a workshop, but especially during final papers and exam season, closing off an entire lab for four students seems ludicrous. Is this the only ‘teaching lab’ that is available, or can students be compelled to sign up for a workshop, with a room correspondingly booked depending on this number?

Thank you for the thoughtful comment.  Both your encouraging feedback and your expression of concern are appreciated.  We are very sensitive to the fact that the library computer labs are in much demand throughout the year, but especially during this final period of the semester. There are only two labs at Webster library available for hands-on training, whether for students, faculty or even library staff. When we close one of these labs for only a handful of people, be assured that it is definitely because it was our very last available option. On the day you are mentioning, the lab LB 203 was booked for  a period for the training of new librarians to be working at the Reference Desk.

If you are interested in finding out about the opening hours and booked times of our two labs, LB 203 and LB 211 (laptop lab), you can consult weekly schedules posted near the door of labs. You can also always enquire  about those schedules via Ask a Librarian.  Thanks again for this reminder about the importance of the computer labs to the student population.

Power for laptops

We received two recent comments about outlets for laptops.

You wrote:

The power outlets scattered around the library are a major problem. First of all the number of these outlets is too few. Secondly, there are numerous systems that could be used to provide power outlets for every or at least every two study stations.  Right now there are plenty of free spots around the library but people only use the stations that are near the power outlets. This lack of power outlets not only makes the seats near them too noisy and crowded but also makes it almost impossible to find a seating spot near them.


At the library, I usually bring my own laptop as I enjoy writing papers here rather than in my noisy home. However, I usually have to stump my
“writing-flow” as my computer slowly runs out of battery (usually lasts three hours). The stations with outlets are always full (night and day). It would be wonderful to have at least one outlet for every four stations.

Thank you for your suggestions. Last year over one hundred 7-outlet power bars were added to all floors of the Webster and Vanier libraries in order to significantly increase the number of outlets available to students with laptops. It looks like there is still a need for more  in certain areas of Webster however.  We are planning on adding electrical outlets during this academic year and will keep you posted on the progress of these plans.

And a bit of related good news:  We have just renovated our library classroom LB 211. When it is not booked for classes the room  will offer seating  and laptops for up to 30 students.  This semester it should be available for general student use as of Novermber 30.