A library of things


There are no books in Sheridan’s new library.

That’s how it is supposed to be.

It’s a library of things- the first of its kind in Canada. Rather than bookshelves, innovative materials are stuck on grey boards that slide around on the walls and the dividers lined up in the middle of the room. This library is a completely tactile experience that encourages creativity and conversation.

It all started with a field trip.

“I visited the Material ConneXion flagship library in New York City while on a field trip with Visual Merchandising,” said Shelley Woods, Faculty of Arts, Animation and Design librarian at Sheridan. “At that time, Sheridan library subscribed to the Material ConneXion database and co-op advisor Julie Nichols and I saw a lot of value in having a similar library of physical materials at the college to support applied learning and inspire creative design.”

“They just loved the idea of this Material ConneXion library,” said Patricia Buckley, digital curator and special collections librarian at Sheridan. “They advised Joan Sweeney Marsh, who is our library director, that they should get this Material ConneXion library. So then Joan Sweeney Marsh, who is just amazing at getting things done, said, ‘okay, we need this.’ She just made it happen.”

Right now there are about 500 different materials in the library but, according to Buckley and Woods, the plan is to increase that number to 1,500 in the next year.


All of the materials are sustainable and organized into eight different categories.


“To get into a category it has to be 51 per cent or above of that material,” said Buckley. “It is based on material composition as opposed to intended use like roofing or walls.” Each material has a number that, when keyed into the Material ConneXion database, supplies a wealth of information about that material, including its sustainability potential.

“It is an advantage to Sheridan students to have access to these innovative materials to inspire their designs,” said Woods. “Using sustainable materials and materials with recycled content is a good way to practice green design.”

About Christina Janssens 0 Articles
Christy Janssens is a second-year journalism student at Sheridan College. She writes about books, travel, and culture. She is inspired by new places and authentic stories.