McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Fewer journals, more people in renovated Health Sciences Library

Published: May 22, 2007
Reading Pavilion in Health Sciences Library
Reading pavilion in the renovated Health Sciences Library located within the Health Sciences Centre.

The heart of learning at McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences is reopening after $8.6 million in renovations. The Health Sciences Library in the Health Sciences Centre will host an open house on Wednesday, May 23 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The focus of the new library design is on people space, with more group learning – essential to McMaster’s style of teaching – and quiet study space.

The latest in technology, together with elegant design elements, art work and enhanced lighting have resulted in a welcoming ambiance. All window space in the library has been designated for seating.

Susan Denburg, associate vice-president, academic, and associate dean of education, describes the health sciences library as central to the mission of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

"The library is the heart of knowledge resources not only for faculty, students and staff of the Faculty of Health Sciences, but also for anyone at McMaster University working in the broad area of health and for health care professionals across the city and beyond who have access to our services," she said.

Fewer stacks of print material were made possible by the availability of more than 4,000 medical and scientific journals in electronic format.  The reduction of the library’s physical collection by more than one-third has allowed seating to increase from 660 to 760 seats. There are 15 new group study rooms, which are important in McMaster’s problem-based learning environment. 

"The electronic resources are available to McMaster students, faculty and other users’ offsite, in their homes and offices," said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences and dean of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.  "This is particularly important as the medical school is growing with new regional campuses in Waterloo and Niagara, and long-distance access to these resources is essential."  

The renovation includes a learning commons, and an e-classroom with 24 laptops for hands-on training.  Altogether there are 90 new computers available for public use.  There is wireless access throughout for people bringing in their own laptops, or borrowing library laptops, and most of the tables have internet and electrical connections.

In recognition of the importance placed on historical collections, the elegant C. Barber Mueller History of Health and Medicine Room with a fireplace, coved ceiling and recessed lighting is a major feature of the library.  There are plans for a café at the dramatic new entrance.

Dorothy Fitzgerald, director of the Health Sciences Library said: "The crowning touch of the library transformation is the marvelous two-storey Jan and Mien Heersink Reading Pavilion. The other library changes are a renovation of original library space.  This two-storey section is entirely new space, an expansion that increases the footprint of the library by more than 2,000 square feet.

"This comfortable room has the best views on campus."

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