In response to the Gauntlet's editorial about the closure of MacKimmie Library and students' concerns about lack of quiet study space in the Taylor Family Digital Library [Oct. 27, 2011], I would like to provide some updated information on how the University of Calgary is responding to this matter.
The university is aware of students' concerns and to that end, I have been meeting with Students' Union president Dylan Jones regularly and we took immediate steps to improve the situation. As of Thursday, Oct. 27, 130 additional single study seats were added to the Taylor Family Digital Library, bringing the total study spaces in the tfdl up to 1,790. An additional 130 spaces were opened in the MacKimmie Block on Oct. 24, which means there are 1,920 study spaces in those two buildings-- up 285 spaces from the old total of 1,635 in the MacKimmie Library. In addition to the library study space outlined above, we have an additional 3,000 study carrels or tables and chair study options throughout the main campus buildings, including more than 300 new study spaces in the Energy, Environment and Experiential Learning building, which opened this fall. We also have additional study spaces in residence buildings and in classrooms that are not being used for instruction.
Overall, there are more student study spaces on campus than ever before, and we know through recent utilization studies that many designated study spaces are not being used to their full capacity. Given this, the exact issue related to study space on campus is not clear. Is it related to amount of study space, the type of study space, a combination of the two, or something else? The university administration and your Students' Union are working together to identify and improve the quantity and quality of student spaces across the campus, and appreciate hearing from students on this issue. One way to provide feedback is by emailing my office. I would like to thank everyone who has taken time to share their concerns and appreciate the patience of all students, staff and faculty as we work to ensure a positive student experience on campus.