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.

Equipment crunch

You wrote:

There has got to be something done about the lack of computers in the library. It’s not so much the lack of computers- it’s what people do on the computers- while those of us who have research and work to do, we have to watch as idiots watching Youtube films and sports games stay there for hours. Why does none of your staff do daily rounds? When these people are asked if they have any work to do, Suddenly they have ‘research’ and were ‘just taking a break’. 

This is amazingly unfair. And, although you have these wonderful signs saying if you leave things unattended for over 30min, someone else can use the computer- no one enforces this! I was waiting for over half an hour, and someone just left their jacket there for the whole time. Incredibly infuriating. 

PLEASE couldn’t your staff just walk around and AVOID such unnecessary frustration?! And while you’re at it, remove those people who stay at the computer as they read their homework assignments, but possessively won’t give up the computer, or the wealthy amoung us who insist on hogging a computer as they work on their laptops…

I understand your frustration.  The situation you describe has existed since libraries started providing Internet access to students, many years ago.  Although library computers are for academic use only, it is impossible for library staff to monitor what is happening on the computers.  We do not have enough people to do that.  Furthermore, for us to spy on students while they’re using a computer….   well, let’s just say that it’s not an option.  This is not high school.

Regarding our unattended workstation policy, if you notice that a workstation has been left unattended, please report it to the nearest library service point.  The 30-minute period begins when we receive a complaint.

If you can, you may want to visit the Vanier Library the next time you have work to do on a computer.  Although most of our workstations are in use during the day, we usually have laptops available.  Laptop availability is on our homepage.  You may also want to check out the IITS computer labs.

Thank you for writing.

Library classrooms are zoned blue too

You wrote:

Would it be possible for more frequent security rounds to be made in the blue zones, even the computer labs (LB-203 and LB-211)? I’ve read the blog and I know that I’m not the only one who is frustrated!It’s only the second week of the semester, and already some people have made themselves a little too much at home. Such is my current situation, where despite having been asked by three different students to end her cell phone conversation, this girl is still chatting away. With the amount I pay in fees I should have the right to study in silence on school grounds, especially in the designated areas. It is NOT the students’ responsibility to play baby-sitter to those less considerate.

Thank you for your message.  I understand your frustration.  I had to tell a group of people to be quiet in VL 122 yesterday.  I was lucky in that this group of students moved to a group study room right away.

Please respect the silent study zones.  If you are in a group, use one of our group study rooms.  If none are available, there are plenty of places open to you for group study outside of the Webster Library. At Loyola as well, the classrooms in CC and AD are open all the time and if they are not in use by a class, students can use them to study.

If you do not need to discuss anything for an extended period of time but simply like to sit and work with your friends, please go to the Libraries’ orange zones.

Linux on Libraries’ computers

You wrote:


It would be great if you had computers that ran linux at the Vanier Library. For some computer science students, it is more convenient to come to vanier
library to study, and access to linux would help tremendously.

Thank You

Thank you for your question! I asked the Library Systems Office to help me answer it and here is what they have to say:

While the Libraries do not currently offer or support any Linux labs, ENCS offers remote access to some Linux servers that you could connect to from the library using a portable application:

You can obtain a portable SSH client here (be sure to download only putty.exe, not the installer):

If you’d like to run X (graphical) applications, you’ll need a portable X server as well:

Although unsupported, you may find these links useful. Hope that helps.

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 labs in the Hall Building

You wrote:

I often go the the Hall-building and want to use the desk-top computers in the labs. However, I notice that this semester they are often closed for a large
portion of the day. For example, there will be a note that says, “The lab will be closed today from 8:30am until 6:00pm.

To me, the above seems rather excessive. Why bother call these rooms
computer labs if they will be closed majority of the time. Would it be possible to
make these rooms more available?

Indeed, there are computer labs in the Hall Building downtown.  However, they are not administered by the Libraries, they are administered by IITS.  I would guess, though, that the rooms are booked for classes and that is why they are not available on a drop-in basis.  If you would like to communicate your concerns to IITS, please refer to this page for contact information.