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Library Renovation: Information

Library Renovations Coming Soon

Starting soon, we will begin making several improvements on the library's 3rd floor, responding to consistent student requests, made over the last decade (tri-annual student surveys; space usage analysis; student focus groups).

These improvements will unfortunately be noisy and disruptive, and we apologize. Additional seating will be made available on the 4th floor to reduce the impact on studies, and free earplugs are always available at the library’s service desk. As a 24/7, high volume facility, it will not always be possible to complete the work quietly. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we bring about these exciting changes!

Background Documents

Planned Improvements

Commons Expansion

Pending final quotations, the Commons expansion will include some or all of the following:

  • Secure 24/7 access to the 3rd and 4th floors for students and staff; the 24/7 Library Commons will grow from 8000 square feet to nearly 43,000 square feet;
  • Increase in the number of computers available 24/7 from 64 to 101;
  • Access to both silent study spaces, 24/7;
  • Increase in individual and collaborative study seating, from 320 to 450;
  • Redesigned single-service desk, incorporating the IT Help Desk;
  • Centralized printing/copy area;
  • Dedicated space for students with families, featuring family-friendly furnishings; 
  • Improved traffic flow;
  • Universal design elements, including accessible furniture, service points, and significantly improved access to the 4th floor accessibility bridge, which provides essential access to buildings 355, 356 and the upper campus;
  • Green elements to address students’ desire to see more plants and nature-themed art in our spaces.

Washroom Renovations 

We are excited to announce that funding has been allocated to renovate the high-demand, high-traffic washrooms in the 24/7 Library Commons area behind Starbucks. After careful consideration, we have elected to combine the three existing washrooms and renovate them into a multi-stall, all-gender, universal washroom with floor-to-ceiling, high-privacy walls and doors. The VIU Students’ Union, The Positive Space Alliance, Facilities Services and Campus Development department, Human Rights and Respectful Workplace Office, Disability Access Services and the Universal Access Committee are all engaged in the design process, providing critical insights and perspectives. Renovations have begun and will be complete in Summer, 2020.

Gendered bathrooms will remain available on all floors of the Library. During renovations, those needing an accessible or single-use washroom can access these on the second, third and fourth floors of B305. People needing to use a ceiling lift during the renovations may access the all-gender washroom in the cafeteria (Building 300).

Background

"Welcoming and Inclusive Spaces” is the first objective in the Library’s 2018 strategic plan. Throughout the plan’s extensive consultation process, demand for washroom improvements in the library and 24/7 Library Commons was made clear by the VIU community. Accessibility, privacy, fit and finish, additional space, and more regular cleanings were top concerns. The existing washrooms behind Starbucks have inaccessible and inefficient layouts, including entry doors that open into traffic flow.

In 2019, we were able to respond in part to these concerns, with the introduction of a provincially-funded, single-occupant universal washroom in the 24/7 Library Commons. The forthcoming renovations will further respond to community feedback, reflect the Library’s strategic plan more generally and incorporate universal design principles.

All-gender washrooms can be used by anyone, regardless of their gender identity or presentation. All-gender washrooms:

  • Provide dignity and privacy for people of all abilities, including those with disabilities, who may require assistance or an attendant.
  • Are an important part of making the campus safe, accessible and welcoming for those who don’t feel safe or welcome in washrooms designated for men or women.
  • Are intended for use by families with small children.
  • Are increasingly the norm. For example, the University of Victoria, Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools and Simon Fraser University all have at least one multi-stall all-gender washroom.

Next Steps

We are excited about these improvements and we hope our community will be too. We acknowledge that the introduction of a multi-stall, all-gender washroom is a first for the campus. We feel it is important to offer this option in one of our busiest buildings – a building students of all abilities use heavily. Again, gendered bathrooms will remain available on all floors of the Library.

Our thanks to all who have contributed to the process so far. Please contact research.help@viu.ca if you have questions or concerns.

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