New library renovations underway

Renovations to create more study space in Carleton’s MacOdrum Library are underway, and will continue until the end of June.

Renovations on the third-floor extension to create more study spaces started on Feb. 6. Other renovations include the construction of a bachelor of information technology lab on the first floor.

Washrooms in the first-, second-, and third-floor extensions will also be renovated, and upgrades will be made to the main staircase, according to a release on the library’s website.

According to Darryl Boyce, assistant vice-president (facilities and management planning), the renovations started during the midterm season due to Carleton’s 75th anniversary celebrations this year.

“It’s quite heavily due to the fact that this year, we’re celebrating our 75th year as a university, so there’s lots of events that are going to be going on there later in the year so we wanted to get out of the way of that,” Boyce said.

Construction is being done on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m, according to Gilles Monast, manager of the library’s administrative services. He said noise is always an issue when there’s construction in the library.

“The impact is noise,” Monast said. “It’s always been an issue whenever construction happens.”

But Monast said the library tries to minimize disruptions “by asking the contractor to keep the noisy work before nine o’clock.”

Mike Reynolds, the library’s communication officer, said they are letting students know where to find available study spaces during the construction.

“Making sure people know where they can go for study spaces even at times of construction is a priority,” Reynolds said.

The renovations are part of a renewal project which began in 2011 and is projected to finish in three years. This latest phase of renovations will cost $1.5 million, and the overall renovations will cost $12 million, according to Boyce.

“We need to renew [the library],” Boyce said. “Many areas were worn out and were not designed for today’s level of student activity and in the library and technology.”

Past renovations include the fourth-floor Discovery Centre, the front wall, and additional floors.

The renovations will add 48 individual study spaces on the third floor, as well as four group spaces with six seats in each, opening up space for 72 students.  

There has been constant demand for more study space, according to both Monast and Reynolds. This includes more demand for group study spaces.

“The group study spaces have been pretty popular,” Reynolds said.

He added that he expects reaction to the renovations to be positive.

“I just can’t imagine us getting the feedback of ‘look, you just have too many study spaces,’ ” Reynolds said.

The library currently has 19 group study spaces, having added 12 spaces in 2011, Monast said.

Alex Churcher, a second-year commerce student, said he does group work in the Discovery Centre and that he appreciates the group study spaces.

“For the most part, I get better results studying with other people,” he said. “If I have other people there, I can get real time feedback, which is really important and a lot more helpful.”

Boyce said he hopes it’s a “modern library” once the renovations finish.

He said the goal is “to put the library back as the centre of our campus for learning and study.”

Reynolds said he’s noticed a change in the library’s atmosphere since the initial renovations in 2011 began.

“It is a far more welcoming environment to come in now,” he said. “I think the renovations have just created more of an environment to be able to spend time here and I think that’s what we continue to want to do.”

– Photo by Travis Poland