Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Re: Killam Sch’millam

Thanks very much for your Opinions piece about the Killam Library (“Killam Sch’millam” Nov. 17). It is encouraging to read how much you value the services and spaces in the Killam! I’d like to respond briefly to the issues you’ve raised.

We hear frequently that there isn’t enough space for students in the library. As you point out, the student body has grown considerably since the Killam was built in 1971. Over time the library has actually regained some space that was used for non-student purposes, and our goal is to keep as much of the Killam available for student use as possible. We’re working hard with our colleagues from IT and Student Services to ensure that more academic support services are delivered within the library, like the just-in-time writing, research and IT support that have been brought together in the Learning Commons, but not at the expense of study space. The introduction of satellite Learning Commons Hubs, beginning with the new McCain LC in the Life Sciences Building, will certainly help, creating more collaborative learning space in a variety of areas on campus.

Library use in 1971 was also different than it is now. It is a challenge to accommodate the pressing need for quiet study space and the newer competing demand for collaborative learning spaces. The top two floors of the Killam are designated as Quiet Floors, but as you have noted, students do forget on occasion. We do our best to promote respectful use of the space through plentiful signage and “quiet patrols” during exam periods. We’d welcome any suggestions you might have on ways to involve students in the enforcement of the Quiet zones.
The “pungent aroma” from Subway is a reminder to students, faculty and staff that any time is a good time to eat—but it’s not always a welcome presence in the library. We are working with Facilities Management to improve ventilation and you should notice a positive change shortly. There is not much we can do about the loss of space but we do appreciate your concerns, and as mentioned above will work to ensure no further study space is lost.

–Donna Bourne-Tyson, University Librarian (Killam)


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