MacPháidín Library opened in 1998, and the teaching classroom was filled with 25 computers in state of the art cabinets that housed recessed monitors and featured a desk that could retract to reveal the keyboard.  

The room was used for traditional front-centered bibliographic instruction and for individual use as a computer lab when library instruction classes were not in session.  Faculty also used the classroom at times when they needed students to each have access to a computer for a one-time class session.

In 2012, the Faculty Learning Spaces Committee (Stacy Grooters, Richard Gariepy, Sarah Gracombe, Mitch Glavin, Bob Dugan, Heather Perry, Norah Esty, and Cheryl McGrath) began a reading group  to discuss developing learning spaces on campus.  The group travelled to UMass Amherst for a workshop, and early on identified the MacPhaidin Library classroom as an excellent candidate for a sandbox renovation. Teaching librarians were invited to participate in a focus group for the faculty to learn their needs.  The final product of the Faculty Learning Space group was a requirements list for the new space, from the faculty perspective.


Once the library classroom was selected, the librarians began a process of discussing their own and their students needs in a renovated classroom/computer lab/study space.  A group of reference librarians visited Harvard University’s Lamont Library B30, a collaborative learning space and the Larsen Room, with mediascape modules.  Library staff also worked with students and faculty, conducting individual interviews to gather information about how the spaces was currently perceived, preferred changes and uses, and any other feedback on space.   Using methods articulated in Studying Students, librarians had students draw ideal spaces, list activities taking place in the space, and provide any feedback they thought relevant.  One unusual result of this process was the number of students who volunteered that they wished the room to be blue in color.  Research shows that blue enhances creativity, so our Stonehill students were on the right track!

DisCo Final Costs:

  • Project total Costs: $198,579
  • Grant Funds: $165,000
  • IT Replacement Budget: $22,600
  • Library Budget Contribution: $10,797

DisCo Facts: 

  • Seating went from 25 fixed workstations to:
  • Teaching Corridor: 30 flexible seats
  • Quick check stations: 6 fixed workstations
  • Comfy seating: two 5 person areas seating 10 total