In Overheard, we will feature anonymous social media user feedback about the libraries. By sharing what our users are saying about us, we can gain an improved understanding of our users' needs and sentiments, and have the opportunity to improve. At the very least, many of them are very funny, albeit sometimes uncomfortably true.
We welcome your submissions. Please, anonymize any screenshots you send along, to email@example.com.
Last week, UTL and Scholars Portal teamed up to promote the Accessible Content e-Portal and the response was amazing! Here is just one of the comments we received. Check out the highlighted story on Instagram.
Have you stopped by the new conservation lab at Kelly Library?
When in doubt, Ask A Librarian!
Graham Library's rare book collection sparks interest far and wide.
A user found some interesting historical documents on computer science and computational thinking from the 1970s in OISE Library’s Ontario Historical Education Collection!
Our art historical sources were appreciated on Twitter last week
We're a brutalist light in the cold, rainy north!
Our Family Study Space and Reflection Room are popular topics on social media!
Glad to hear our Exam Repository is helping students prepare for future exams
Another user grateful for our amazing staff!
The upcoming Grad Talk event has got grad students talking about how great our library system is!
Have you checked out our Indigenous resources yet? Take a look at this collection at OISE!
Our beautifully renovated Reflection Room is already gaining attention online
Beautiful photos were shared from the Fisher Library open house last week - and we know there'll be more to come!
Anyone can form a lasting relationship with books... and so can some book marks!
Twitter is lighting up at the new iLightboard resource for science and math instructors!
Some write comments, some sign their name, others leave a recipe for Poached Pears!
The Media Commons got some great feedback from a happy patron last week who loves their service!
Dutch photographer Iwan Baan, winner of many awards including the 2010 Julius Shulman Photography Award for architectural photography, was in Toronto recently and shared these photos of Robarts Library with his followers.
In his photography, Baan often captures isolated buildings and attempts to give a voice to the architecture.
OISE Library got a shout-out from the Toronto Seed Library for their beautiful (and well-used) branch!
"Club L" is making waves in Toronto night-life!
Our innovative mindfulness, family study, and multi-faith spaces shone at OCULA last week!
Have you heard Gerstein Library got new tables!?! The reviews are coming in, and they sound great!
The Ginsberg exhibit at Fisher Library ends this Friday - don't forget to stop by before it's done!
Bella the Therapy Dog, who visits Gerstein each term to help students de-stress, got a ringing endorsement from City of Toronto Councillor Norm Kelly!
Mental health matters - and the U of T community loves our support!
Spreading the love of teaching with OISE Library!
We stood out in a user's memories!
We love this shot of the UTSC Library!
There's been a lot of love for OISE Library on Twitter!
Too many beautiful libraries to count at UofT! This week, OISE and D.G. Ivey Library got special attention...
Gerstein is getting lots of positive reviews online! Beautiful views, beautiful ceilings... and free from students' tears...
Kelly Library's umbrella lending sign makes a splash online:
Robarts may be in danger of being eaten by chocolate enthusiasts...
Robarts looks good from all angles:
University of Toronto talent falls out of our pages:
An Instagram user shares the strange sight of empty study spots in Robarts Library - exams are winding down and the holiday break is almost here:
The "heros" of the Map & Data Library got a shout-out from the Director of Urban Studies for their amazing support on a student project!
A user got very excited about a resource on Twitter!
People are going wild for the new Light Therapy Lamps at Robarts!
Robarts Library gets a special shout-out at fall convocation:
A tweet from the Dean of Medicine goes viral as students embrace the new light therapy lamps initiative!
Our new resources (like the Videofashion Library) stir up excitement and nostalgia:
1 student, 3 campuses, 44 libraries... the countdown begins:
The debate over Robarts' bird doppelganger heats up over Thanksgiving weekend: turkey or goose?
Shauna Brail, Senior Associate of the Innovation Policy Lab and Director of the Urban Studies Program, shares her amazement for UTL and Data Visualization Librarian Kelly Schultz:
Our libraries are full of books- and love from their users! :
Student memories (and study days) at good ol' Gerstein:
Librarian Kate Johnson can barely contain her excitement about the Innis Library opening, and frankly neither can we!
Behold, the perfectly executed Zoolander joke in response to the Fisher's tiny books:
The Rev. Prof. Christopher Brittain, Trinity’s new Dean of Divinity, on what he missed during his time in Scotland:
"I missed the U of T library, too – it’s a fantastic library system. As a scholar it’s hard to underestimate the importance of that."
Just a couple of Twitter users with a shared love for Robarts and the East Asian Library ♥
We love this sweet shout out from a former SLA:
Librarian Kate Johnson shared a snap of the Innis College Library's reno preparations:
A photo tweeted onsite at UTARMS inspired a fonds memory for one alumna:
TFW your ILL is interrupting your REM:
All signs point to yay for gender inclusivity :)
Frankly things are getting pretty spooky at Gerstein thanks to their Frankenstein exhibition:
We're not 100% sure what is going on here, but it's nice to see that the Robarts Peacock (or Turkey?) has found love:
Shout out to UTL for helping this student athlete stay on top of his game-- on and off the court:
Visitors enjoyed the chance to get up close and personal with some rare materials at the Fisher Open House last week:
Last weekend UTL welcomed the public in with open doors:
What treasure does the Robarts Book Sale have in store for you?
It's officially Twitter-official-- Ask Chat is where it's at!
Style gurus Colin and Justin shared some bold redesign suggestions for the Fisher:
"We'd love to get your feedback/opinions on this. This is Robarts Library in Toronto. We LOVE its Brutalist style architectural vernacular. As Brits, we see SO much of this on the other side of the pond. Anyway - they seem to be refacing the areas where you can see what looks like insulation foam. Thing is - Brutalist architecture was mathematical. Lines met up. Angles and cuts matched. These large format facings miss the line of the concrete bars to which they 'attach'. Being that the existing concrete is grey, we see a jarring with the new concrete panels, being that the newer concrete has a bluer tinge. Over time this might 'merge'... but we can't help thinking if they'd opted to reface with a dramatic teak (or other wood genus) elevation it would have looked STUNNING. As our wee Scottish grannies would say - "Find a fault, make a feature...". Thoughts? Would that be refacing or defacing? Enhancing Brutalist architecture or doing it a disservice? Give us your thoughts? Please and thank you #brutalist #brutalistarchitecture #concrete #concretelove"
The recent weather conditions have taken a toll on the blossoms-- here's a throwback to a few days ago when they were still going strong. Sigh...
Everybody and their dog came out to see the Robarts Sakura trees this week, including City Councillor, Joe Cressy:
UTL earned top marks from this appreciative student:
This exchange between the Map & Data Library and a former SLA gives us all the feels:
Sure, there was some confusion, and a few well-meaning allergy concerns, but most people seemed to think our Cat in the Stacks idea was purr-fect:
It's beginning to look at lot like finals season again, and students are getting pretty cozy at Gerstein:
Nothing like a snowy view from the quiet comfort of the Earth Sciences Library:
On IWD, the woman who currently manages the ROM's online properties honoured the woman who paved the way:
It's all in the details over at Gerstein, but we prefer the term "antique" to "ancient" ;)
That feeling when you can answer a research query, and work a unicorn into your response (#rare):
Happy to see that this historian's research needs were met in the stacks, or at least in this particular stack:
These inspired students using the Bora Laskin Law Library for a good cause is truly a sight for sore eyes:
If love is what you're looking for, find your way to the Map & Data Library:
The North American Dostoevsky Society (aka "The Bloggers Karamazov") posted a fabulous collection of Professor Kate Holland's students' responses to the Crime and Punishment at 150: Global Contexts exhibit at the PJRC:
Aw shucks... we're sure glad to have our students back too!
What a time to be alive-- UTL is the big 1-2-5!
If Twitter is any indication, students got pretty cozy at Robarts this past semester. Here’s our Robarts Roundup:
1. “Robarts smells like coffee, fear, and a hope that this degree with actually land a job @uoftlibraries #uoft #exams #endofterm”
2. “come to 9th floor of Robarts library and watch me have a meltdown for only $2”
3. “i have a dream that robarts library will one day have chairs that convert to beds for those who decide to stay here until 7am #innovation”
4. “I went to robarts for 8hrs straight I would bring a snuggie or a blanket”
5. “I used a compass to figure out how to get out of Robarts today... that's pretty much where I'm at #UofTears”
6. “NO OFFENSE BUT I NEED TO DIE NOW MY LAPTOP JUST STARTED PLAYING MUSIC FULL VOLUME IN ROBARTS OH MY GOD”
7. “SOS someone plz bring snacks to the 9th floor of Robarts”
8. “prob looking like a crazy person groovin in my chair at robarts but i CAN'T HELP IT WHEN DESTINY'S CHILD COMES ON”
9. “Thank god Robarts is a 24hr library”
10. “never actually stayed at robarts past 9 so you can imagine my surprise when I step into the bathroom to find ppl changing into pj's”
The Crime & Punishment exhibition at the PJRC closes on November 30, so don't punish yourself by missing it!
Last week fans of Leonard Cohen took to Twitter to express their admiration for the late national treasure, and the trove of papers he donated to the Fisher Library:
With time well-spent in Gerstein, this student's big dreams may someday become a reality:
"My absolute fave time of day is when gerstein library is empty and all mine and I can pretend to be curing cancer with my nerdy studying!!"
Professor A.W. Peet of the Physics Department expressed their appreciation of a Robarts staff member on social media this week:
It's encouraging to see U of T Libraries being used as safe spaces for student activism and social justice, as in this image of a #blacklivesmatter forum held at the Criminology Library:
Twitter users are cementing the Kelly Library's status as a destination for architecture buffs and urbanists alike:
"I love studying in the smaller department libraries around campus. They tend to be less busy because not that many people know about them. My favorite? It has to be the Mathematical Sciences Library"
Learning to use the library can be both challenging and exciting for new students and this tweet captures that spirit perfectly:
"Learning how to print at Robarts library has been an adventure that I never wish to go on again"
Getting through the first day back after long weekend can be tough, so here is some much needed humour from a tweet about U of T's iconic concrete peacock earlier this week:
"This creepy abandoned chicken church was actually meant to look like a dove - what Robarts could have been?"
For the full story, see here.
After a couple of press articles about UTL's new Outreach Librarian, twitter was abuzz with words of encouragement and excitement!
1. "Great things are happening @UofT!"
3. "This is great news!"
4. "So happy to hear that UofT hired @desmondcwong for the Indigenous Librarian position. A great addition to their team!"
The TCard lineups in Robarts will be getting longer as the new school year approaches for new students, but even alumni get excited for back-to-school.
"i'm at robarts right now getting an alumni card made and i recited my student number like i graduated yesterday and not five years ago"
It's great to see local authors showing UTL some love. Last week bestselling author Amy Stuart was thrilled to find her book in the catalogue at University College, UTM, and Fisher.
It's not only students who like to visit and tweet from the UTL stacks - check out these snaps from Carolyn Harris (@royalhistorian), local author, historian, and instructor at U of T's school of continuing studies. She shared the view of her desk and the view out the window during her research visits to Robarts last month.
While Pokemon Go remains popular among the libraries and their visitors the game is still working out a few kinks, and sometimes the struggle is real:
Talk of OISE was overheard again this week on Twitter as a library visitor took the time the express appreciation for their new furniture!
"I have been working from the @OISELibrary this morning and noticed we have some new furniture on the 1st floor! Thanks for the new seating!"
This year’s reception for OISE graduates was held in the OISE Library. Several photos of the celebrations were shared via Twitter, including a photobomb by one of OISE Library's resident puppets, the chicken. To top off the excitement, one of the graduates proposed! Congrats Jingying and Andy!
Better late than never when it comes to sharing compliments from our library visitors. The University of Toronto Instagram account shared this photo of Emmanuel College Library a few months ago, and it generated some very impressed reactions in the comments.
1. "That's actually perfect."
2. "This place looks so nice."
4. "Oh wow, it actually makes me want to study!"
5. "ANOTHER LIBRARY THAT WE MUST VISIT."
Graham Library took the time during a frustrating and even scary situation for students who were in lockdown at the library to provide a more welcoming space. They even managed to keep their sense of humour while suggesting useful resources to concerned users.
Sometimes students take the time to stop and smell the roses in Robarts. Or rather, stop to tweet a picture in the stacks and contemplate the vastness of our library universe and the knowledge within.
"Went to Robarts today
Whatever you know, it's nothing compared to what you could know
Over the past few weeks the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library and Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library have been promoting and hosting events celebrating Asian Heritage Month, and have received some social media attention recognizing their work.
Twitter was abuzz with commentary after the Globe and Mail's article on current Robarts exhibit Canada's Oldest Profession: Sex Work and Bawdy House Legislation. It was great to see so many people with diverse interests, from maps to commerce to women's rights, sharing and discussing. Below are 10 tweets capturing some of the conversation:
1. "Archival research @UofT maps long history of #sex work in #Toronto from 1865 #prostitution"
2. "Madams of the 19th-century sex trade were also Toronto's community leaders says professor and students"
3. "Toronto in part built by sex workers, via @globeandmail - exhibit on at Robarts Library"
4. "In 19th Century Canada, women ran businesses! Brothels to be exact! #womanpower"
5. "Toronto's turn of 20th century sex trade fascinating for size and complexity. #history"
6. "Toronto the Good, also very Bad: Story of Toronto's 19th-century sex trade uncovered by professor, students."
7. "Truth: 'the sex industry played a really foundational role in the building of our cities and country'"
8."19th Century Brothels...or How the West was really won"
9. "Libraries are a wealth of information about everything! #uoftinnovate"
10. "I was very happy to be able to visit this fascinating exhibit today at @UofT on the history of sex work in #Toronto"
Last week's TRY Conference used #TRY2016 to keep up with the many conversations sparked on social media, thanks to all of the great content organized by the conference committee!
1. "Zen and the art of letting go of content for purposeful maintenance and service."
2. "Now attending a session on recontextualizing reconciliation. So glad to see this session on the program today."
3. "Important discussion happening re: classification and cataloging-- how do we counter power dynamics of organizing data?"
4. "Lucky to meet @GuyBerthiaume2 this morning & hear his key note about how LAC is responding to change."
5. "Dr. Berthiaume leads off with a Star Wars reference."
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) started a new series last week highlighting efforts and centres supporting digital scholarship at member institutions. The University of Toronto Libraries had the honour of being the first featured profile, and subsequently received some Twitter attention!
It's always nice to hear when UTL users appreciate the form as well as the content of their online search results!
"I'm feeling the combo of material-type tabs and columns of example results. nice one, @uoftlibraries."
It's finals season and the calm before the storm has now passed! These tweets capture students' travails as they navigate the now rather full libraries.
1. “nothing turns me on more than the sight of an empty table in robarts”
2. “Nothing beats that breath of literal LIFE you inhale when you take your first step out of Robarts after a long day of studying. #help”
3. “Waiting for the elevators after being at Robarts for 8h is enough to make u wanna throw urself down the stairs”
4. “the Jordin Sparks song "No Air" was actually about being inside Robarts Library #uoft”
5. “Concept: a sinkhole opens up and all of robarts disappears into the ground along with me and my dignity”
6. “Girls brushing their teeth at 4 PM in the 10th floor bathroom of Robarts #exams2k16”
7. “Sunday: Zero empty spots in Robarts. Brb crying”
10. “Robarts Library as exams approach ...”
Perhaps from exam-induced haziness or a feeling of contentment as the end of the semester is near, these 10 tweets capture the spirit of students at the libraries, as they push to the end.
2. “so happy to be in the library all day. again. so nice. i love robarts.”
3. “You know your 3rd semester of school in a row is getting to you when you fall asleep in the library & dream you are at the beach”
4. “U of T, the only place that has a library in a library...”
5. “The @uoftlibraries online resources are seriously amazing.”
6. “i love sunday nights at robarts. very quiet and i get the exact seat i want”
8. “Once opened, each individually wrapped tropical starburst is like a world unto its own. I'm in Mexico rn, not Robarts, eating a pina colada.”
9. “I wonder if the people sitting beside me at Robarts know I'm listening to Cotton Eyed Joe”
10. “LOL i just discovered uoft's music library and i will use it extensively”
While a visit to the libraries isn't always the most desirable for students, there is always some eye candy to enjoy, something pleasant to hear or smell (even if that culminates in a mocha at Starbucks). Here's what library patrons are enjoying lately:
“Heard faintly from the ref. desk: a professor briefly singing to his introductory Medieval Culture class from an illuminated antiphonal”
“Decided I have a bigger crush on the guy at Robarts Library than at Graham Library. That's all for now.”
“I just saw some guy going into robarts carrying an official clay Aiken fan club tote ....”
“Happy for the Robarts librarian with the MLA tote bag and the life that she's living”
“Graham Library, at University of Toronto. Something about that place made it smell amazing, 2001-2005. I haven’t been back recently.”
This week’s Overheard captures just a few recent tweets sharing appreciation for services at UTL. Kudos, folks!
Morning, noon, or night, Robarts has U of T students covered, even if they wish it weren't so. Here are our top 10 student tweets as mid-term papers and exams are at their height of inducing stress:
1. “the security guy at the library just asked me if i was ok as if the answer wasn't evident in the fact that i'm at robarts at 3:30am.”
2. “Why pay rent when you could feasibly live at Robarts library?”
3. “if you see a stressed student chugging steeped tea and speed-gathering research for paper due in 2.5 wks @ robarts or gerstein, its probs me”
4. “I have 4 homes: the burger's priest, robarts, toronto/beirut (listed in order of importance)”
5. “This is the first time I’ve ever used Robarts extended study hours and I can literally feel my soul being sucked out of my body”
6. “when an angel…appears at robarts at midnight with banana bread and tea to help quiz me on my flash cards ”
7. “It's gunna be another one of those nights where I stay at Robarts till 7am cuz I just wanna get this…done (also left it till last min)”
8. “There's a special kind of camaraderie between me and the remaining three people in this part of Robarts"
9. “envious hearing the sound of people excited or relaxed or laughs echoing as people filter out of Robarts, calling it a day #midtermseason”
10. “3rd night in a row up at robarts past 3 am”
From March 3 to 5, Robarts Library hosted the Archives Unleashed: Web Archive Hackathon, an event which brought together 45 researchers from across Canada, the United States, and Europe to collaboratively develop new open-source tools and approaches to web archive analysis. Here are a few participant tweets to give you a glimpse into the weekend hackathon:
"The #hackarchives turnout is so great we need to use panorama mode to catch it. Am really excited to meet everybody."
"Happy to be following #hackarchives today from afar! Lots of great examples and tools for working with web and social media data sets."
A popular spot during mid-terms, Gerstein Library gets some love, and some feedback, from library patrons:
“THE WEATHER TODAY IS BEAUTIFUL AND I GUESS I'LL JUST ENJOY IT FROM THE SECOND FLOOR OF @GersteinLibrary :c (which is nice too but stillll)”
"Study break at @GersteinLibrary to admire the ceiling"
“Gerstein library is so quiet O.O”
“The amount of times I've almost walked through the glass divider at Gerstein is getting unacceptable...#putsomepostersonit”
“why is everyone in the Gerstein Library lobby always sobbing into their phones”
“Tbh if utm library 4th floor would become like the study area in gerstein, life at utm would be a little better #silenceisgolden”
Celebrated intellectual and author, Umberto Eco, is being remembered now in the days following his death, with kind words of tribute. His most famous novel, The Name of the Rose, was in part inspired by Robarts Library. There were lots of tweets and retweets about this, including one by the renowned philosopher John Ralston Saul. Umberto Eco spent time at Robarts, writing parts of The Name of Rose while in the library.
As the semester progresses at the libraries, and students are resolute to get through the academic year, we know what’s really on their minds. Here are our top 10 food-related tweets which might resonate with you:
1) “when the robarts starbucks has no line
2) “I once saw someone pull out a giant piece of cake in Robarts Library. So much respect, so much envy”
3) “the guy sitting across from me at robarts needs to stop peeping up his computer. I’m just tryna eat my fried rice.”
4) "Robarts needs to replace their water fountains with coffee fountains instead"
5) “Robarts should open up a taco stand.”
6) “Subway from Robarts #joyatuoft”
7) “when u walk in on someone brushing their teeth in the robarts bathroom... taking study is life to a whole new level”
8) “Not to be the Kevin McCallister of Robarts Library, but why is there NEVER ANY CHEESE PIZZA?”
10) “i cant believe there is good and relatively inexpensive tonkatsu for sale right outside robarts library and id never tried it before today”
Not quite the most direct compliment, but we'll take what this tweet has to offer:
Gerstein Library recognized as #2 in list of 25 most impressive university medical school libraries and we can't help but to agree, and Tweet about it!
“Congratulations to our friends at Gerstein Science Information Centre - #2 on the list of the 25 most impressive... http://fb.me/4hYmbvBIF”
“I still love retreating to
@GersteinLibrary to get work done in peace and quiet”
With a new year comes a fresh start. And, this year will mark a fresh start for Robarts as preparation and construction moves ahead for the Robarts Common expansion. Opinions on the expansion are mixed, but mostly positive, as seen in the tweets below.
"Robarts always gets a bad [rap]. I liked the library while I was there. But this addition does look great"
"the john p. robarts library at @UofT is getting quite the facelift: http://magazine.utoronto.ca/life-on-campus/robarts-expansion-to-begin-this-spring-sharon-aschaiek/ … #PSE #UofT"
"Must have been a real challenge to make @UofTNews Robarts library even uglier, but… http://magazine.utoronto.ca/life-on-campus/robarts-expansion-to-begin-this-spring-sharon-aschaiek/ …"
".@UofT's Robarts Library is expanding and the plans sound great! http://magazine.utoronto.ca/life-on-campus/robarts-expansion-to-begin-this-spring-sharon-aschaiek/ …"
We can all feel it in the air at the libraries when finals and exams season not-so-quietly creeps in. It's the final push of the fall semester! Here are our top 10 study tweets from U of T students taking refuge at the libraries, each worthy of at least a bit of empathy.
Bella the Therapy Dog extraordinaire is all the rage as students look for effective ways to de-stress during exam and final paper season. Check out these tweets, and check out Bella at one of her upcoming visits Tuesday/Thursday this month.
As we near the end of the Robarts Library elevator renovation project, we thought it would be a good time to look back at patron social media feedback about the elevators. Here are some of our favourite tweets that cover the whole range of sentiments about the elevators - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Perhaps, you've even felt the same yourself!
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