Explore what's behind the concrete slab walls of the Faculty of Information. Formerly the Library School, the Faculty now trains a wide range of information professionals. Its grads work in data science, user experience design, archives, academia, and, yes, libraries. As the Faculty has changed over the decades, so has its building, which now houses its recently renovated Inforum library, "makerspaces," and fully modernized classrooms. See it all at Doors Open.
Doors Open Toronto showcases many of the city’s most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings. Presented this year by Great Gulf and the City of Toronto, Doors Open is marking its 20th anniversary. Its theme, as it celebrates its first two decades and looks forward to the next 20 years, is “20 Something”.
The Faculty of Information will be showing off the Brutalist architecture of its Bissell Building with tours and exhibits. Both the recently renovated Inforum and the KMDI-Semaphore makerspace feature on the tour’s itinerary. Among other things, there will be 3D printing demonstrations in the makerspace and a mini-exhibit, including videos, which tells the story of the construction of the Robarts Library complex including the Bissell Building.
Tours are scheduled on both days at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. The building will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry scheduled for 4 p.m.
At the other end of Robarts, the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library is also welcoming visitors to Doors Open but only on Saturday the 25th.
Other participating UofT buildings include First Nations House, the Faculty Club and the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. You’ll find all the Doors Open details on the official website.
The Claude T. Bissell Building is at the north end of the the three building library complex. You can see it on the right in the photo above with the Robarts Library, as it’s now known , in the centre, and the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library on the left.
Originally known as the Library School, the Bissell Building was the first of the three buildings to open its doors. Construction on the entire complex took place from 1968 to 1973.
In case you’re wondering, the building that now houses the Faculty of Information was named after Claude Bissell, the eighth president of the University of Toronto from 1958 to 1971.
Renovated in 2016, the Inforum library shows how Brutalist architecture can be humanized and adapted.
Known as the Faculty’s community hub, the Inforum is used for social, scholarly and professional events and pursuits.
Convocation parties are held there, professors have data science labs on its top floor, and students study in front of a wall of greenery or in sleek pods that look like they could be in the first class section of an airplane. You can even do yoga and get mindful at the Inforum.
Saturday only – Tours by Reference and Services Librarian, Nalini Singh
The Faculty of Information’s makerspace, located on the third floor of the Bissell Building, is a creative space where people can interact, and learn about and create with technology.
The makerspace is part of the Faculty’s Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) and its Semaphore research cluster. Their goal is to enhance the relationship between technology, media and society at large, all with the hope of creating and making things that improve the lives and enjoyment of others.