Sensory Friendly Spaces @ HSSL

Sometimes you need a particular environment to feel comfortable and get into the zone. The following is a list of some areas where we Natural Light, Quiet Floors, and Uncrowded Spaces. Make sure to check out the Floor Plans page to get more information on what is available to you, including printer locations, charging stations, and more.


Natural Light

Redpath Library Building

📍3459 Mc Tavish St

The Redpath Library Building has tons of great window seats for natural lighting. The Blackader-Lauterman Collection is hosted on the third floor and this area also provides tons of great study spots. Redpath Floor 1 and 2 are known for their oversized windows and open-concept study spaces, creating a chill environment for your work. 

Standing Desk Windows

📍3459 McTavish Street, 6th floor

Located on the different corners of the 5th and 6th Floor of McLennan Library Building, these standing desks are usually accompanied by spectacular views and natural lighting. Pictured are two of the desks on the 5th floor. It’s also great that you can adjust the table to your comfort and that you’re turned away from others. 

Quiet Spaces

McLennan Sixth Floor

📍3459 McTavish Street, 6th floor

By far the quietest place on our list with the biggest capacity, McLennan Sixth Floor is known for its colour-coded workspaces and extremely motivating environment. Whether you’re looking to face outside onto the lower field, inwards into the library interior (through big glass panels providing tons of natural lighting), or sitting on comfy armchairs in the middle of bookshelves, this is your place! 

Lighting: Natural + Artificial (white) lighting 

Food/Drinks: Not allowed 

Noise level: the quietest you can get! 

Birks Reading Room

📍3520 Rue University, 2nd floor

Shhh! This is the perfect place for the old library vibes. Upon entering, you have to take your shoes off which adds to the comfortable and cosy vibes. They take the silence rule very seriously here, so cellphones off, no food, and not even a peep.

Tranquility (Zen) Room

📍3459 McTavish Street, 6th floor

Reopened after the pandemic, this spot is a quiet oasis located on the 6th floor of Mclennan. For the purpose of getting away from the hustle and bustle of being a student and working, this space is designed to give you a space to go inward. This silent space also permits no food and asks to not open electronics such as laptops and cellphones inside; to keep it a sanctuary away from the noise.

Uncrowded Spaces

ROAAr Reading Room

📍3459 McTavish Street, 4th floor

Apart from being an uncrowded study space, the ROAAr Reading Room provides a quiet and beautiful environment to work in. The room has warm artificial lighting and table workspaces. Permission may be required to access space and materials.

Disclaimer, HSSL is not responsible for any delayed work caused due to distraction because of beautiful artwork. Proceed at your own risk!

Quiet Pods

📍3459 McTavish Street, Main floor (Lobby+Innovation Commons Room B) 

Sponsored by student associations, quiet pods are the perfect space for an individual, quiet study session. The pods are soundproof. They have power in their shelves, and a light and fan for circulation that turns on as soon as the pod is occupied. If you prefer uncrowded spaces while working, then you may use the pods located in Innovation Commons Room B, which is a relatively less busy area than the main lobby. 

Education Curriculum Resources Centre

📍3700 McTavish Street, 1st Floor 

Located in the main Education building, the Centre is open 9-5 from Monday-Friday. Relatively unbusy, it is important to note that the Centre has limited capacity and is adjacent to a more crowded student study space.


In response to the growing need from students regarding the lack of available seating, the Library joined forces with a student-founded organization to develop Waitz: the anonymous space use app.

Using completely anonymous Bluetooth and Wi-Fi usage sensors in main library study locations, Waitz is able to estimate the number of people in a seating area with around 95% accuracy. Along with finding the perfect seat, Waitz is your answer when it comes to finding an uncrowded spot when you’re desperately in need of some time alone.

To use this new and exciting tool, simply download the Waitz app, or visit:

www.mcgill.ca/library/branches/hssl/spaces/find-space to access real-time occupancy rates.  


We hope this page is helpful in finding a space in the Humanities and Social Science Library for you. If you have any feedback or questions email hssl.library@mcgill.ca

Leave a Comment