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Graduate Student Space UX Study

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The UX Team talked to graduate students in July 2018 to find out their perspectives on library space.

Research Questions

  • What do graduate students need from library space? What do they want?
  • What are other academic libraries doing for their graduate students?


  • We interviewed 12 graduate students from various disciplines
  • We attended a Graduate Student Association meeting with 15-20 attendees to discuss space at the library
  • We conducted a brief environmental scan of graduate space in 10 academic libraries in Ontario

What did we Learn?

  • Graduate students want and need the library to provide guaranteed, quiet study space
  • Study space offered to graduate students from their department widely varies. The library is needed to fill this void. We found that even those students with access to departmental space depend on the library for study space options
  • Bookable space is preferred
  • Graduate students prefer to be in a space amongst their peers, i.e. other graduate students. The more frenetic nature of undergrad life--going to classes through the day, whispering with friends, etc. means they are using the library space differently.

Our Recommendations

  • Reinstate dedicated carrels for registered graduate students
  • Designate a select few Group Study Rooms for graduate use only
  • Experiment with lockers to hold books for graduate students
  • Seriously explore a graduate student access space / floor
  • Balance maximum seating capacity with quality of the space
  • Promote graduate library spaces broadly

Year of Study


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