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Building new space, building new partnerships by Madeleine LeFebvre, Ryerson University, Toronto
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Building new space, building new partnerships by Madeleine LeFebvre, Ryerson University, Toronto



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  • 1. Madeleine Lefebvre, Chief Librarian Ryerson University ARLG 2014 Conference: “The final frontier – to boldly go where you have never been before” University of Sussex, June 23-25 BUILDING NEW SPACE, BUILDING NEW PARTNERSHIPS
  • 2. • once a polytechnic, now a large comprehensive university • in the heart of downtown Toronto • 38,940 undergraduate and graduate students • over 100 programs • 440 PhD students THE CONTEXT: RYERSON UNIVERSITY
  • 3. RYERSON’S RAPID GROWTH Graduate Enrolment FTEUndergraduate Enrolment FTE
  • 4. 1. Commitment to Design Excellence 2. Density: Urban intensification 3. People First: Pedestrianization of the urban environment (
  • 6. MASTER PLAN: STUDENT LEARNING CENTRE • Create a gateway and window to Ryerson on Yonge Street • Address the need for much more study space and collaborative learning space
  • 7. THE CURRENT LIBRARY • Built in 1974 for 9,000 students • Brutalist architecture • Good environment for books, not users • Over 11,000 visits per day at busiest times • Strong user dissatisfaction reflected in Library as Place LibQUAL+ scores
  • 8. CONTEXT - THE FORMER ACADEMIC PLAN: LEARNING SPACE “Flexible, comfortable, informal space for students is essential” “Students… need a place to ‘land’, to work in teams, to read quietly, to multitask their academic work and social engagement”
  • 9. THE LIBRARY’S VISION FOR THE SLC No books, but ubiquitous access to digital resources Mobile learning/laptop loan program Collaborative services and learning spaces, barrier free Seminar/teaching space Versatile and congenial space Sensory stimulation A place of interaction, inspiration, innovation and discovery
  • 10. DESIGN ELEMENTS • Total Space: Approximately 155,464 sq ft (14,443 m2) • Retail at street level and below grade approximately 16,000 sq ft (1,486 m2) • Incorporates academic support services to promote learning success • Formal and informal group & individual study areas • Approximately 2,000 additional study seats
  • 11. DESIGN ELEMENTS (CONTINUED) • Seminar rooms for instruction and videoconferencing • Bookable study rooms for student use • Casual seating and a café • Advanced Technology - the Digital Media Experience and the Digital Media Zone • Connected to the existing Library Building via the Commons • LEED Silver Certification with at least 50% green roof
  • 12. THE PROJECT TEAM ARCHITECTS Snøhetta (Oslo and New York) Zeidler Partnership (Toronto) PROJECT MANAGER GENIVAR CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Ellis Don
  • 16. LEVEL 01 - VALLEY Mobile welcome desk with trained student staff
  • 17. Level 01 - Valley Tiered casual seating to left of the SLC entrance – a place to meet, to see and be seen; informal events Café to right of entrance Information kiosk and triage in central area of entry hall Stairway on the right leads to bridge to the existing Library building on Level 02
  • 18. LEVEL 02 - BRIDGE View from Library building connector
  • 19. Level 02 - Bridge Casual tiered seating adjacent to stairs Library staff lounge lower right Bridge connector to existing Library Building on right
  • 20. LEVEL 03 - BLUFF Digital Media Zone - DMZ
  • 21. Level 03 - Bluff Digital Media Experience (DME) - workshops & one-on- one instruction in the use of advanced digital technologies Digital Media Zone (DMZ) - centre of innovation & technology incubator DMZ DME
  • 22. LEVEL 04 - GARDEN Learning support services, group study areas, and seminar rooms
  • 23. Level 04 - Garden Student Learning Support services: Writing support Math support Access(ibility) Services English Language Support Seminar rooms SLS staff offices including Head of Library Learning Services Open study area
  • 24. LEVEL 05 - SUN Open study area as well as library instructional rooms
  • 25. Level 05 - Sun Seminar rooms Classrooms Videoconferencing Multi purpose room Open group study areas Group study rooms Library Faculty Teaching Chair office Zone learning potential
  • 26. LEVEL 06 – BEACH Casual seating
  • 27. Level 06 – Beach A series of broad, gently sloping ramps for casual study and informal gatherings
  • 28. LEVEL 07 - FOREST Quiet study area
  • 29. Level 07 - Forest Graduate Reading Room and graduate discussion rooms top left Quiet Study Room lower left Group study rooms Open Study areas
  • 30. LEVEL 08 - SKY Casual study area with lounge seating at perimeter
  • 31. Level 08 - Sky Group study rooms Open study areas Ceiling rises to double height on lower left Panoramic views of Yonge & Gould Streets
  • 32. STEWART BRAND, MIT MEDIA LAB: “All buildings are predictions. All predictions are wrong…but it is possible to design buildings so that it doesn’t matter if you are wrong.”
  • 33. Building Relationships VP Students and Chief Librarian celebrate joint ventures in the Commons One Stop Course Readings team receives President’s Blue and Gold Award for Service Excellence
  • 34. FOSTERING A CULTURE OF COLLABORATION: University community is drawn to our service-oriented technical innovation
  • 35. COLLABORATIONS – ZONE LEARNING “Zone learning transforms your educational experience at Ryerson. “It takes you beyond the classroom and lets you meet and work with students from across the university who are creative, ambitious, and driven by passion. “By becoming part of Ryerson’s zone learning network, you’ll get the right kind of support to create, develop, and launch your idea.” (
  • 36. THE DIGITAL MEDIA ZONE (DMZ) Library –
  • 37. OTHER ZONES WITH LIBRARY INVOLVEMENT • Fashion Zone – incubator for fashion-inspired business • Library providing metadata expertise for digitization of fashion research collection • Design Fabrication Zone – interdisciplinary hub that incubates and accelerates spatial ideas, design learning and 3D production towards construction or business innovation • Library investigating 3D printing in DME • Transmedia Zone – ideation and prototyping space aimed at the future of content, across any industry • Library - Open textbook hackathon
  • 38. DME – DIGITAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE • A new Library initiative for the SLC • Shares third floor with DMZ • Intentionally flexible • Peer assistance with multimedia projects and presentations • Potential to prepare students for collaborative digital projects, DMZ application
  • 39. COLLABORATIONS – E-LEARNING RULArch and St Clair apps - a collaboration between the Library and the Department of Architectural Science • showcases the architectural, and historical relevance of various buildings through embedded information and photos • poised to expand functionality: has been adopted by Master’s of Digital Media program as a platform for further student-driven innovative projects
  • 40. CENTRE FOR DIGITAL HUMANITIES The Children’s Literature Archive “The site was built by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the English Department, the Ryerson University Library and Archives, graduate students from the Literatures of Modernity and Communications and Culture programs, and undergraduates in the Faculty of Arts.” Winnie the Bear Archive and exhibit Forthcoming in September, to commemorate centenary of start of WW1. famous-bear-turns-100
  • 41. DRIVING THE LIBRARY AND STUDENT LEARNING CENTRE WITH THE ACADEMIC PLAN AS OUR GPS To borrow from Stewart Brand… I believe it is also possible to design strategic plans so that it doesn’t matter if you are wrong Sometimes your GPS leads you to a dead end. You have to recalculate…but usually new paths open up as you travel that you didn’t know existed when you started your journey “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” – Robert Louis Stevenson “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” – John Lennon
  • 42. RYERSON PRESIDENT SHELDON LEVY’S ADDRESS TO FACULTY, MAY 22, 2014 • When you take responsibility for something bigger than yourself, those in power take notice • The intersection of innovation, experiential learning and partnerships is the nexus point for strategic planning • Diversity drives innovation There is a library context for each of these
  • 43. “OUR TIME TO LEAD” ACADEMIC PLAN 2014 – 2019 • Enable greater student engagement and success through exceptional experiences • Increase scholarly communication, research and creative activity (SRC) excellence, intensity and impact • Foster an innovation ecosystem • Expand community engagement and city-building There is a library context for each of these
  • 44. TRANSLATING UNIVERSITY GOALS INTO LIBRARY GOALS • Our library values • Our strengths in developing innovative technology and services • Our dedication to providing experiential learning opportunities for students • Our partnerships with faculty and others • Our central, neutral role for all students and faculty, regardless of program or level • Our can do attitude
  • 45. FROM THE ACADEMIC PLAN… “Ryerson’s Library plays a foundational role in connecting students, faculty and staff from across disciplines, and has long been a partner in student success and engagement, knowledge creation and dissemination, and technology-enhanced learning”
  • 46. THE ACADEMIC PLAN CONTINUED… “The Student Learning Centre will provide the library with new spaces and modalities for collaboration with academic partners to deliver innovative services that encourage productive multidisciplinary interactions, and intensify students’ out-of-class learning experiences”
  • 47. PRIMARY STRATEGY “Enhance the Library’s role as a provider of exceptional learning spaces, quality digital and physical collections, and innovative services for teaching, learning, research and collaboration”
  • 48. STUDENT LEARNING CENTRE COLLABORATIONS User Group (USS) F U N C T I O N A L SLC Steering Committee F U N C T I O N A L Transition Committee D E C I S I O N M A K I N G [Grand] Opening Committee W O R K I N G Prep Group for Transition Committee W O R K I N G RU [student] Leaders W O R K I N G Sub cmtte – Soft ‘loud’ Opening W O R K I N G Capital Communications Group W O R K I N G
  • 50. To boldly go… @MJLibrarian