Limited library space McMaster needs better solutions for the lack of space availability in libraries on campus

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By Alex Bak

McMaster University has been steadily increasing its ranking in the world for the last decade with the Shanghai Ranking. Placing 66th in the world last year behind only two other Canadian universities, McMaster is now a top institution for higher education.

However, the access that McMaster students have to study areas on campus is limited, specifically during high-traffic periods such as during midterms or exam season.

The libraries that are often found vacant become packed with space so scarce that some are forced to study in between bookshelves or trudge back home reluctantly or fight for chairs in Thode.

Compared to the University of British Columbia, ranked 31st in the Shanghai Ranking, McMaster’s four libraries pale in comparison to UBC’s 11.

At McMaster, though there are areas that one can study at in each building, it is important to consider that even in these location, it can still be a challenge to find study space.

Have you ever tried to study in the third floor of the student centre at common lunch hour? With an hour break in between classes for both lunch and study time, students shouldn’t have to worry about wasting time looking for a space to study as well.

The upcoming Student Activity Building could be the opportunity McMaster needs to join the other institutions of similar calibre in providing its students with the means to productively study on campus.

Having garnered 857 votes (0.04 per cent of the total student body) in the in-person survey for study space designs, although it was the most requested (26 per cent), it is hard to discern whether study space is something that a majority of students want.

Compared to the University of British Columbia, ranked 31st in the Shanghai Ranking, McMaster’s four libraries pale in comparison to UBC’s 11.

However, the 40,000 square feet of possibility could aid in alleviating the sparsity of space.

One other way that McMaster could respond the study space problem is through lengthening its hours of operations. A joint initiative between multiple student groups launched a pilot program for extended hours at the H.G. Thode Library this past year.

The 3 a.m. extended hours were pivotal, especially for the time-crunch periods before midterms as well as completing the assignments that were due at midnight.

If these extended hours became a part of the university policy instead of a brief student-led program, it could be stable and a solidified function for future students to enjoy and utilise.

Conjoining both extended hours and a large part of the Student Activity Building being allocated for study space could potentially bring about seemingly inconspicuous but monumental changes for the academic life of the McMaster student body.

With McMaster Students Union presidential elections wrapping up, this may be an opportune moment for this issue to be addressed and create dialogue.

A few of the MSU presidential candidates have already addressed this issue on their platforms and are creating conversation about this issue among students.

However, some of the suggestions on the candidates’ platforms don’t seem financially or time-feasible and should be readdressed accordingly.

It’s time now that we start implementing our options and solving the issue of limited study space on campus

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