Renovations to 4th & 5th Floors

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Hello iSchool Community!

As you may have heard, we are renovating our 4th and 5th floors.

This page is updated regularly so you will keep informed of our progress.

iReno 2016 KEY DATES


The renovation to our 4th and 5th floors is going well and is on schedule. We will be back in the Inforum space—open for service—on Monday, September 12.

There will still be some fine detailing as furniture is assembled and new doors are installed over the next few weeks, but it will be business as usual. Well, except for all the amazing and innovative new spaces and options!

Stay tuned for the official launch party date for the new space—sometime in October.

Here are some key dates for the Inforum space:
Saturday, Sept. 10 (closed)
Collections and Tech Loans will be moving back into the Inforum.
Monday, Sept. 12 (open)
More moving but partial services offered including Course Reserves, Tech Loans, and Stacks items available for borrowing.
Tuesday, Sept. 13 (full service begins)
Full services offered.
Monday, Sept. 26
Tours for new students begin. Learn about every opportunity from labs, to exhibition wall, to study space!



April to September 2016:

- Inforum staff, tech loans, and course reserves, available at Robarts (1st floor, Digital Studio)
- An Information/Circulation Desk, a few user workstations, individual study carrels, worktables, and a reference consultation space will also be available in this space
- Staff can help with reference & research services
- Inforum General Collection accessible at Robarts (13th floor)
- Copying, printing and scanning available @ Robarts Information Commons

April 18: 
Construction by Olar Ltd. begins

Service Updates

Inforum Services (April 1 close / April 5 reopen): Update from Lari Langford, Interim Director, Information Services (opens in PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions on Renovation (opens in PDF)

Update for Summer 2016 iSchool Instructors (opens in PDF)

Messages from iReno Chair

April 15, 2016

iReno 2016 is well underway! Inforum services and staff have settled into their temporary home in Robarts. The End-of-Term iTea was a chance to revel in the cleared-out Inforum, and imagine the possibiliTeas (get it?!) for the refurbished hub of our building. Careers Officer, Isidora Petrovic, joined the 6th floor and has already out-decorated most of its long-term inhabitants.

Now that classes and exams are over, the renovations will begin in earnest. The construction bid has been awarded to Olar Ltd, a company with deep roots in Toronto and plenty of experience at U of T. The Blackburn Room in Robarts is one of their projects. Olar has also done several projects in Toronto hospitals.

Those working and attending classes in Bissell over the summer can expect things to be busy. While the 4th and 5th floors will be inaccessible, students will continue to have access to the PhD area and Student Lounge on the 7th floor. It will be business as usual for most of the building.

Contractors and tradespeople will start early and work until 4:00 pm, when courses begin. This scheduling should keep disruptions to summer classes to a minimum. One elevator will be dedicated for the construction crew (this makes it a great time to join the FitBit and Jawbone enthusiasts in the stairwell.) The University has protocols about giving notice for major disruptions like water shut downs, or specific kinds of work like x-raying the concrete floors, to minimize inconvenience and maintain safety. These protocols have already been reviewed with the Contractor.

We’ll keep the iSchool community updated on the project’s progress through reports, photos, and social media. To that end, I’d like to extend a special thanks to our Communications Officer, Kathleen O’Brien, for teaching the Renovation Committee about communications strategy, and then gently reminding us to stick with it.

Professor Cara Krmpotich
Chair, 4th & 5th Floor Renovation Committees


February 22, 2016

I’ve had the privilege to serve as Chair of both the 4th and 5th Floor Renovation Committees since May of 2015. These two groups have spent countless hours considering and planning what kinds of spaces the iSchool needs: for research, for student life, for community building and for life-long, experiential learning.

The Committees worked together to create an integrated plan to create inhabited spaces that match the vitality of our students, staff and faculty. You might think of the 4th and 5th floors as a hive, a hub, or the heart of the Faculty. The vision for these two floors is dedicated, shared, creative, experiential and experimental spaces. Our community can draw, brainstorm, innovate, and facilitate knowledge exchange in these spaces. We will diversify our learning, research, and teaching in these spaces.

Since Fall 2015, the vision and objectives of the Committees have been in the hands of various University units, as they work with us to transform our plans into an architectural reality. Now, we are only a few months away from the start of construction, and this post is the first in a series of updates to keep the iSchool community, friends and colleagues informed about the renovation. Other ways you can stay informed include the iSchool's Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as the notice board beside the circulation desk in the Inforum, or in Faculty Council meetings.

Also, watch for Inforum-related news and updates specific to users and what to expect in terms of service at the Robarts location on the Inforum's webpage, as well as its Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

For those of you new to the iReno, here are a few highlights:
• new research labs supporting faculty and student research into databases, big data and digital preservation
• 24 hour fob-access for iSchool students to workspaces in the Inforum
• a museum “gallery wall” for testing out exhibition components
• an improved event space for the Convocation reception, professional development events, and public events
• bringing the book stacks to the 4th floor
• relocation of the Semaphore Demonstration Space to the 4th floor, and
• new offices for Inforum librarians and technicians.

It’s a big project, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We continue to plan for the relocation of Inforum resources and staff over the summer, prepare for summer courses, and work on contingency plans just in case the renovation is not completed for the start of the Fall 2016. We’ll be doing our best to keep everyone informed, and we’ll ask for your patience in return, as we see the final design stages through.

You can send any questions you may have to ischool [dot] renovationatutoronto [dot] ca

Stay tuned!

Professor Cara Krmpotich
Chair, 4th and 5th Floor Renovation Committees



Opening of the Bissell Library (aka "original Inforum") by then-Chief Librarian, Barbara Mann (1970).
Photo published by permission of Mann family.










History of the Inforum Exhibition (4th Floor):