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University of Toronto Scarborough Library offers new 24/7 services


by Danielle Gagnon

Burning the midnight oil to write an essay or cramming all night for an exam can now be done at the library.

The University of Toronto Scarborough library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as part of a pilot project that began on October 15 and runs until December 18. The Scarborough library is the only one in the U of T system to offer these expansive hours.

A special promotion took place on the morning of November 12, during which which library staff were on hand at a staff table to answer questions, and free coffee and tea were available to all visitors, as well as raffle prizes.

When asked why the library chose to expand its hours, staff member Catherine Devion replied, “The students are the inspiration for this opportunity. Last year, a pilot project was organized that had the library open 24 hours a day for four days a week, and we heard from our students who used the service and they suggested that we increase the 24 hour service to include the weekends.”

“The library staff is focused on working with students to improve their research skills and we offer a variety of approaches – in person, by web, chat and phone.”

The first weeks of the University of Toronto Scarborough Library 24/7 open services initiative have been busy, with students taking advantage of the unrestricted quiet study spaces and expansive research materials in the stacks.

Materials and resources available during the expanded hours involve all library resources, including Course Reserves. This year, circulation services, including the lending and renewing of materials, are also offered 24/7. A new collection that stands out is e-books. The library also has an extensive collection of DVDs. Devion adds, “The electronic journals in the U of T system are second to none in Canada.”

As an added celebratory treat, the first 20 students who entered the library each night of the first week received a welcome gift. Library staff gave out a water bottle, a pen or a book bag customized with the library's website address:

In response to the high student demand for quality quiet study areas, the library recently created a new, Ultra Quiet study space. “It is very, very quiet,” says Devion. “Even the door is whisper-quiet.” Study carrels and group study rooms are available to students throughout the library, as well as the commons area. These spaces were designed especially for collaboration and group project discussions.

In addition to academic services, the library also offers various part-time positions to students. The library accepts resumes from students throughout the year. However, officials suggest that the best time for students to apply is in August. If you are looking to add some experience to your resume, various volunteer opportunities are available in the library throughout the year.

Devion advises students to provide frequent input to library staff. “Keep talking to us,” she says. “Tell us what you want and need. The likelihood of success with your request is high. Try it. We value feedback about the 24/7 service and ask students to give comments and suggestions to library staff.”

For more information about the library’s 24/7 pilot project, contact Catherine Devion, coordinator, circulation and access (416)287-7485 or

© University of Toronto Scarborough