Keely Martin
Keely Martin
September 20, 2019

Construction disrupting campus study spaces

Construction on the third floor of the HIL began in September | Photo by Jules Keenan

Hammering and loud clanking resound throughout the Harriet Irving Library. 

Anyone who has visited the library since construction began might have noticed a lack of silent areas for study.  

At the beginning of September construction on the third floor of the Harriet Irving Library began after UNB received funding from the Arthur L. Irving Family Foundation for a new Research Commons. 

“We certainly understand that the disruption this year is real. But, ultimately, space for students is going to be significantly better,” says Lesley Balcom, Dean of Libraries.

This construction will bring along more areas for students to study and other spaces previously unavailable to students, such as the new makerspace and presentation rooms. Balcom says students can look forward to expanded seating, with over 100 additional seats being added, a space for quiet reading on the third floor, 10 new group study rooms, a data visualization lab and more. 

To make up for the inconvenience, the HIL now offers free earplugs to students that choose to study there. Thankfully, earplugs are not going to be students’ only option for silent study.

Balcom assures students that there is no need to worry. There are still silent study spaces available on campus.

The seating that was available on the third floor has been redistributed throughout the library onto the first and fifth levels.

In addition, the other libraries on campus—which also offer silent study options—have additional seating to compensate for the expected increase in crowd levels. Beside the HIL there is The Gérard V. La Forest Law Library. Balcom says all students are welcome to study there, but should note that there are some areas that are restricted to just law students. Down the hill there are the Engineering and Computer Science Library and the Science and Forestry Library, with room for all students. 

The Gérard V. La Forest Law Library is another study option for students while the Harriet Irving Library goes under construction | Photo by Jules Keenan

Balcom says they are also working with others on campus to identify spaces outside the libraries to be used.

There will also be a halt on construction during both exam periods in the Fall and Winter semesters.

The noise levels in the HIL is expected to taper off as the term progresses. Hopefully to be less disruptive later in the year.

Students will only have to hold out for one year, as the Research Commons is slated to open in Fall 2020.

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