Despite flying under the radar, UVic’s newest private study spaces have been booked over 1 000 times
Following the renovation of McPherson Library’s first floor, UVic has put in new “Tek Booths” for students to have private, quiet space for online work and meetings.
According to librarian Courtney Lundrigan, the inspiration for the Tek Booths came from student needs evolving. “The pandemic has changed how a lot of folks learn, and it has changed a lot how some courses are delivered,” said Lundrigan in an interview with the Martlet. “One of the main [goals] behind the Tek Booths was giving people that flexibility and a space they could go … if they needed to take a Zoom class.”
The Tek Booths are part of the library’s goal to remain a “user-centered space,” added Lundrigan. The booths can also be used as a private study space for “students who might have a different need around how they’re using technology to study or learn.”
The spaces are fully enclosed and are set up with a hook, a light, and multiple outlets. They also partially block out sound from the library, making them fit for online classes or meetings.
The Tek Booths can be booked through the library’s website, and sessions range from 30 minutes to a maximum of two hours per day. Students can still book group study rooms in addition to the Tek Booths, but the two hour limit includes all library study spaces.
There are currently four Tek Booths. At the time of writing, the booking page showed that availability for the Tek Booths was more open than the 16 group study rooms.
Mya Toews, a third-year psychology student, told the Martlet she didn’t know about the Tek Booths until she looked them up on the library’s website. “I didn’t hear anything about them … I was wondering, what are those?”
Another psychology student, Allie Franks, expressed that the privacy of booths would be useful.“I needed to take a semi-serious video call [on campus] and couldn’t find a place to go,” said Franks. “In the Tek Booths it would be way easier.”
Not all opinions about the Tek Booths have been positive, however. After checking out the booths, students Luna Zickfeld and Neko Wollard agreed that they would feel “claustrophobic” and “showcased” in the booths. “I don’t think I could be very productive in there” said Zickfeld.
Despite them being less popular than regular study rooms and mixed student opinions on the Tek Booths, librarian Lundrigan confirmed for the Martlet that over 1 000 bookings have been made for the booths since the beginning of September. “Whenever I walk by the space, at least three of them are occupied.”
When asked about whether or not the library will add more Tek Booths, Lundrigan said the library would have to “assess the usage … [to] see what kind of need there is,” and that student feedback is always encouraged. “We’re happy to hear directly from students.”
Questions and feedback on the Tek Booths can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.