The Sigmund Samuel Library/ Gerstein Science Information Centre
The 1890 fire that engulfed University College, and the original library within, created an urgent need for new facilities. In October 1892, a new library building, designed by architect David B. Dick and constructed at a cost of $110,000, was unveiled on King’s College Circle.
The main reading room was divided into men’s and women’s sections—standard in academic libraries at the time—with 100 study spaces each. There was also a separate entrance and reading room for faculty. The fireproof stackroom, made of cast iron with a glass floor, had a 120,000-volume capacity to support the student body, which numbered approximately 1,300 in 1892.
Increased enrollment and growing collections over the years drove further additions, including a five-story book stack wing in 1909, the Sigmund Samuel Library wing—a major addition clad in Queenston limestone—in 1954, and the Morrison Pavilion featuring 650 new study spaces in 2003.
The complex functioned as the main university library until the completion of the John P. Robarts Research Library in 1973. Now named the Gerstein Science Information Centre, it houses the largest academic science and medicine library in Canada.