In response to COVID-19 the library building is closed until further notice and library services are changing.


At the library, we’re committed to creating a space that adapts to meet the needs of our users.

To see how we’ve evolved since opening October 25, 1968, read on!

1968: McLaughlin Library opened on October 25 to serve a student population of 9,000 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students

1987: Our card catalogue closed


  • The building’s side entrance closed
  • The staircase to lower level was removed
  • Archives & Special Collections was enlarged
  • First-floor service was redesigned

1999: The Learning Commons moved into the building (on the first floor)

2002: Renovations on second and third floors created the Math & Stats Learning Center and temporary offices for the College of Arts

2003: The Fire Alarm system was upgraded (replacement of transformer)

2004: The Florence Partridge Room was built on the third floor

2005: Renovations on first floor created the Learning Commons and Williams Coffee Pub. We also installed new lounge seating, carpet, front doors, and electronic gates

2006: The Data Resource Centre expanded and was relocated to first floor from the lower level

 2006: We installed power outlets on study tables

2006: Compact shelving was installed on the lower level

2007: Our staff room was renovated

2008: The graduate study carrels got power

2009: We began the process of retrofitting lighting throughout the building and installed energy efficient fixtures and controls for shut off


  • Library Accessibility Services was relocated
  • Statistics Canada Branch Resource Data Centre (BRDC) opened at the library
  • The fifth-floor roof was replaced


  • Lighting retrofit phase two
  • The Science Commons on the third floor was built
  • Renovation of Mathematics and Statistics Lab on the third floor
  • Built the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) Exam Centre on the second floor


  • Accessible study rooms on the sixth floor for Library Accessibility Services users
  • A universal washroom was installed on the first floor
  • User Services rework first floor

2013: Installed the first group of window seating on the fifth floor


  • Library Master Space Plan (LMSP) was published
  • Developed through extensive engagement with students and faculty it represented an aspirational plan to guide future renovation, redevelopment, refurbishment, and expansion of the McLaughlin Library

2014: Starbucks opened on the first floor of the library

2014: The Robert Whitelaw Room was built on the second floor. It established an anchor for the eventual relocation of the Archival & Special Collections reading room to the second floor

2014: Elevators three, four, and five were updated

2015: Elevators zero and one were updated

2016:  Elevator six was updated

2016 to 2018:

  • $20M+ McLaughlin Library Rehabilitation and Renovation (MLRR) Project included:

    • A building system/infrastructure upgrade which replaced two of four air handling units, new windows, upgraded environmental conditions in Archival & Special Collections; new HVAC unit Lower Level; environmentally efficient lighting
  • Second Floor Renovations:

    • New Scholars Studio—a space dedicated to digital scholarship pursuits
    • Data Resource Centre relocated from first floor to second floor
    • New Media Studio created
    • New Archival & Special Collections reading room, seminar room, and exhibit hall connected to the previously built Robert Whitelaw room
    • New carrels (with LED lights, 2 USB adapters, power outlet) and window seating
    • New carpet, paint, ceiling and overhead LED lighting
  • Lower Level Renovations:

    • Large quantity of compact shelving
    • Soft-seating for student comfort and use
    • Window seating (with power, USB connections, and swivel chairs)
    • New carrels (with LED lights, 2 USB adapters, power outlet) and bar seating
    • New carpet, paint, ceiling and overhead LED lighting

2017: Relocated Library Accessibility Services to a more central location on the first floor

2018: Renovated first floor staff space (Collections & Content Team now located behind the oak wall)

2018: Opened new student space (room 109), formally a staff space

2018: Replaced the 1,100 50-year-old carrels with 1,400 modern carrels on third, fifth, and sixth floors (with LED lighting, power and USB connections) and window seating on fifth and sixth floors with power, USB connections and swivel chairs

2019: New Ask Us Desk, integrating IT Help Desk and Research Help

2019: Library Master Space Plan Refresh to review our assumptions and goals in preparation for further renovations


Renovation Contacts

Questions about our renovations? Drop us a line!

Kelly Bertrand, Chair, Library Pandemic Planning Team
(519) 824-4120 x 53359

Kirk Sprague, Manager, Library Facilities 
(519) 824-4120 x 53602