McGill Library update on: Redpath doors, smoke-free terrace, Redpath cafeteria, accessibility & gender-neutral washrooms


Published: 4Dec2014

Originally published: December 3, 2014

Over the last few weeks, white boards were placed around the Humanities and Social Sciences Library by the SSMU Library Improvement Fund (LIF) Committee. The goal was to collect feedback and ideas and explore how these funds could be used to improve McGill Library. The LIF Committee and the McGill Library would like to address a number of questions that arose from the consultation.

1. Why are the doors to the Redpath Library Building closed?

The Library’s administration recognizes that the situation is less than ideal and would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused. Like every department at McGill, the Library has been forced to deal with funding cutbacks while minimizing disruption of services to all members of the community. Having the Redpath Library Building doors function in a non-emergency exit capacity would require an additional full-time security agent posted at the entrance during opening hours at a cost of $210,000 per year. With reduced staff and a decreased security budget we are unable to afford the cost of a security guard stationed at the Redpath entrance. For these reasons only, we took the step to reduce the number of entrances to one and to transform the Redpath entrance into an emergency only exit. We will continue to work to find a solution that is practical for the entire community.

2. Why was the Redpath Cafeteria changed to a Première Moisson?

McGill Food and Dining Services manages the Redpath Cafeteria located next to Cyberthèque. We understand that some members of the McGill community have concerns and ideas and encourage building users to submit them directly to McGill Food and Dining using the following link:

For more details on the change in food service provider:

3. The McLennan-Redpath Terrace was recently designated a non-smoking space however there are still people smoking in the tunnel underneath the bridges. Are other options being proposed to resolve this issue?

Creating this smoke-free area was a first step. Since this is a community effort in support of a cleaner living, learning and working environment for all, the hope is that people will respectfully self-enforce. It is up to all of us to ensure that the terrace area around the McLennan-Redpath Library complex remains smoke-free. On-site and patrolling security agents have been notified to redirect smokers to the designated areas. Word of mouth continues to be the best way to get the word out.

The area in front of the McLennan doors has improved significantly since the launch of the campaign. There is less tobacco waste in the area but there are still improvements to be made. Library users who smoke have suggested that larger ashtrays, benches and an awning/shelter be available in order to address inclement weather conditions. The project team will continue to gather feedback over the next few months and will look at addressing the needs of all our users.

4. Is there an update on the Redpath Library Building main floor washroom project co-funded by the SSMU LIF and the Library?

The Redpath Washroom project team, made up of Facilities experts, Library staff and student representatives, has been meeting on a regular basis since August. The project is in the final stages of design and will be implemented in the upcoming summer months. The project team is very excited about the design overall, the expansion of the existing washrooms and the addition of a gender neutral/universal washroom. We look forward to completing this project and paving the way for more universal washrooms in other buildings and future library projects.

5. How can those with limited mobility or other disabilities access the libraries?

The Library works in partnership with the McGill Office for Students with Disabilities to ensure access to McGill Library branches and resources. To learn more and provide feedback, please visit:

Have an idea on how to improve the Library?

The Library has initiated a Feasibility Study to examine how to transform and improve the Library and address critical user needs. We are and looking to build a better Library for all members of the community and would love to get your input!

To submit ideas and feedback for the Library Master plan:
To learn more about the SSMU Library Improvement Fund:    

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