McGill Library Feasibility Study Master Plan

Fiat Lux: Reimagining the McGill Library

Generously supported by the Friends of the Library, Fiat Lux: Let There Be Light is the culmination of an exhaustive nine-month planning process to reimagine the Library to match McGill’s 21st century needs.

Rebuilding Redpath Library

The reimagined Library calls for the reconstruction of the Redpath Library Building, creating a state-of-the-art new facility linking McTavish St. to the greater campus green and positioning the Library as the heart of the campus.

Automated storage for the physical collection

A next-generation Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) will be installed under the lower field, allowing millions of print volumes to be physically removed from the Library yet remain quickly accessible.

Inspirational study spaces

With materials moved into the ASRS, vital floor space within the Library will be rededicated to interactive solo and group study areas that will help McGill's world-class students and researchers to fulfill their scholarly potential.

Iconic reading rooms

On the top floors of the rebuilt Redpath Library Building, students, faculty and staff will be treated to stunning views of downtown Montreal, Mount Royal and the exquisite architecture of Redpath Hall.

Connecting the McGill community

A light-filled atrium in the new Redpath Library Building, situated adjacent to the terrace, will serve as a signature event space and iconic hub for the entire McGill community to share.

Renovating McLennan Library

McLennan Library Building's elevators will be removed and its central staircase redesigned, creating open, inviting and inspirational study areas illuminated by a currently-obscured roof-top skylight.

Repositioning key Library services

Floor space throughout the McLennan-Redpath Complex will be rededicated to high-demand user services, allowing students, faculty and staff direct and immediate access to the resources they demand in a 21st century library.



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In the fall of 2014, McGill University (with the financial support of The Friends of the Library) began a Feasibility Study to best determine how the McGill Library and Archives can meet the growing teaching, learning and research needs of our community. The Feasibility Study and subsequent development of this Master Plan have provided a roadmap for a prudent but ambitious reimagining the Library of the 21st century and beyond.

Spanning from the project's initial vision in January 2014 through to the report's final delivery in October 2015, the Master Plan highlights and tracks the systematic progress of the Feasibility Study throughout its entire development. The exhaustive report provides the detailed methodology used to guide the Feasibility Study, including a quatifiable and comparative breakdown of the Library's current collection space and seating issues; the Project Team's critical analysis of academic research libraries' best practices; the consultation with on- and off-campus focus groups; the creation of Three Options and an ensuing Preferred Option; and a detailed phasing plan and budget for the reimagined McLennan-Redpath Complex.

The Master Plan is divided into three main sections: Needs Assessment, Library Master Space Plan and Implementation.

 



Jump to Needs Assessment (p. 6)

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The Needs Assessment contains the guidelines, visioning and mission statement for the development of the Feasibility Study. By analyzing the current issues facing the Library, the Needs Assessment allowed the Project Team to establish the key components required in a reimagined facility while also keeping in mind the policies of McGill as a whole. The analysis highlights the Library's current user seating and space limitations in comparison to other high-level academic research libraries and highlights the methods used to gather feedback from McGill users and partners.

This information was used to compiled a guiding set of 4 Planning Principles: 

  1. Library Services

  2. Collection Management

  3. Staffing

  4. Design Principles

 



Jump to Library Master Space Plan (p. 23)

 

The Library Master Space Plan analyzed the current structural and geographical factors at McGill's downtown campus to access the potential solutions to the seating and space issues. Among the issues considered in this process werethe geographical location of the downtown campus relative to defining Montreal landmarks, including Mount Royal and the St. Lawrence River; the structural limitations of the Library's current buildings and the impact on user services; and the municipal and provincial zoning regulating any potential construction efforts on campus.

Using this analysis, the Project Team created three potential Options (see Appendix for details) before incorporating the best elements from each to create the final Preferred Option. The specifications of that Preferred Option were also used to determine the impact the theoretical site would have on the Library's current seating and space issues.

 

 



Jump to Implementation (p. 40)

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To maximize developmental and funding flexibility and limit disruptions to Library users, the proposed construction is designed to be completed either in a single construction or staggered in a series of three one- or two-year phases. This section provides added details on each of the proposed phases, which are broken down into:

  1. Construct ASRS and light refresh of the McLennan Library and Schulich buildings

  2. Rebuild Redpath Library Building and restore Redpath Hall

  3. Renovate McLennan Library Building

 

 

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