Updated: Downtown Concordia Library Closed Two Days During Reading Week

Renovations Ahead of Schedule According to the University Librarian

  • According to university librarian Guylaine Beaudry, renovations over reading week will allow the construction team to work ahead of schedule. The renovations were originally projected to only be finished by January 2018. Courtesy Concordia University

  • Construction on the west side of the second floor will be done once reading week is over. Courtesy Concordia University

  • Construction on the west side of the second floor will be done once reading week is over. Courtesy Concordia University

The Webster Library on Concordia University’s downtown campus will be closed for two days during reading week to make way for renovations.

This article has been updated.

It will be closed from Sunday, Feb. 19 at 11 p.m., and will reopen Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m., according to a university press release.

The Grey Nuns reading rooms near the downtown campus, and the Vanier Library on the Loyola campus will be open according to their regular hours.

The renovations that started in January of 2015 are expected to be finished by the fall.

According to university librarian Guylaine Beaudry, renovations over reading week will allow the construction team to work ahead of schedule. The renovations were originally projected to only be finished by January 2018.

“I’ve been working since 2009, it’s the first time that it’s been closed. But we didn’t really have the choice,” said Beaudry.

Once renovations are complete, seating will increase from its previous 1200 capacity to 3000.

“When I first started working here I was so ashamed to see many of our students literally sitting down on the carpet to study,” explained Beaudry. “Concordia had to invest in its library.”

The $35 million dollar budget for the project is being funded by the Quebec Government, under their Plan québécois des infrastructures, she said.

Students who hold Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire cards—or BCI cards for short—are free to go to the other libraries in the city in the meantime.

BCI library sharing cards are provided for free for all students who ask for one at the circulation desk of either Concordia library. It gives students access to the collections of all other university libraries in Quebec.

The Changes to Come

After the break, the west side of the library’s second floor will reopen. The main entrance and staircase to the the library have been remolded and will reopen. The internal staircases will also reopen.

The one elevator that has been used by students to enter the library will start running to every floor—with the exception of the third and fourth floors, as those will go under construction following reading week.

Another elevator near the staircase that currently only runs to the first and second floor will also start giving access to those who need to enter the library, said Paul Fournier, manager of information systems and technology at the library.

An information desk will be added by the loans and returns area on the second floor. There, students can ask for assistance in referencing and research, or ask for help with the computers and other equipment in the library. A new counter holding their digital audio collection will also be added.

A new art installation combining audio and visual elements is also anticipated to decorate the main entrance of the library. It’s being put together by Fournier, developer Francisco Berrizbeitia, and librarian Jared Wiercinski.

Speakers and a screen with music and spoken word will showcase excerpts from the library’s digital audio collection.

“[It will] serve as a transition phase from the noisier lobby to a more contemplative place inside the library,” said Fournier, “and will set the mood as people are walking up the stairs.”

On the second floor will be a room dedicated to students who want experiment with and learn how to use various technological equipment. It’ll include 3D printers, soldering equipment, Raspberry Pi kits, virtual reality headsets, drones and more. Library staff will be present to aid in the interactive learning environment.

“Our concept is really to bring to our students technology that they cannot afford themselves,” said Beaudry.

Called the Technology Sandbox, it will hold free workshops in the library from Feb. 28 to April. 20.

Correction: Previously, this story had a misleading headline and first paragraph stating that the downtown library would be closed for the entire reading week. The Link regrets the error.

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