Skip to main content

Library Master Space Plan

Concept art of new Waterloo Campus library. An extension of the library to Albert Street. Large windows on the extension


Initiated in the late fall of 2013, the Library master space plan is a holistic review of the Waterloo campus Library building in preparation for future changes to the space.

The process was undertaken by the Library in collaboration with Physical Resources and an external architecture firm, Cannon Design. Extensive consultations were conducted with Laurier staff, faculty, students and partners in the form of town halls, focus groups, calls for feedback, poster presentations and other outreach.

The planning phase of the project is now complete and all major recommendations has been released.

We are now commencing the financial planning and implementation phases of the project. Please watch this space for additional updates and news.


An archive of past stories and coverage of the master space planning process.

More Information

Report Summary

The situation

The Library has not expanded its footprint on the Waterloo campus since 1984, when the university had just 4,500 students. Since then, the campus population has risen to over 16,000 students, and the Library’s 104,000 square feet of floor space are no longer able to comfortably accommodate our students. The building currently has seating for 1034 users, or just 7% of the campus student population. Standard benchmarks suggest we should be able to accommodate at least 10-15% of students on the campus. In other words, we desperately need more space.


The master space plan calls for a phased approach to expanding and modernizing our space to meet the needs of Laurier students in the 21st century. The plan recommends reorganizing our current layout in order to dedicate less space to staff areas and print collections and more to our users. It advocates the use of compact shelving in order to preserve onsite access to our print collections while reducing their foot print. In addition, the building can be expanded in order not only to increase student space but also to create inspirational new facilities that inspire our users.

Phased plan

To ensure the plan is flexible and financially manageable in the current environment of fiscal uncertainty, the team has recommended a phased approach to implementation. The major phases are as follows:

  1. Increase student seating
  2. Expand Floor 2 student space
  3. Consolidate the collection
  4. Focus on archival spaces
  5. Construct the addition
  6. Complete the renovation

Taken together, these steps would result in the creation of 865 new student seats, for a total of 1899 seats, a healthy 10.5% of the Waterloo campus student population.


The plan is designed with the end goal of enhancing the student experience. This will be accomplished through adding new instruction areas and community spaces, flexible group study layouts and improved service areas. The proposed design includes an attractive, inviting façade for the university on Albert Street as well as distinguished upper-floor space for the Laurier Archives and its heritage collections.


Concept art of new Waterloo Campus library. An extension of the library to Albert Street. Large windows on the extension

Concept art. Interior of library building. Tables with six students at computers. Half the space is carpetted. Many students shown walking around or sitting at the tables.  Unfortunately, no obvious images of students in wheelchairs, with canes, or with guide dogs

Three storey perspective of the proposed Library

Concept art. Large open space, smooth surface, a carpeted area. Straight hallway with glass wall near separating a teaching area. Bright lights and lots of white surfaces.


Project Timeline

  • December 2013 – Project initiated by the Library, Physical Resources and Cannon Design
  • Winter 2014 – Town halls, focus groups, requests for input, a poster presentation and other outreach with students, faculty, staff and other partners
  • April 2014 – Draft conclusions are unveiled at a town hall meeting in the Library
  • Summer 2014 – Preparation and revision of final master space plan report
  • December 2014 – Completion and initial dissemination of final report
  • Winter 2015 – Initial discussions around financial planning and project implementation