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Individual Study Space @ Research Commons FAQ

The first space that will open for individual study within the UW Libraries Seattle campus is the Research Commons space located on the ground floor of Allen South. This space is intended to provide a clean, safe and quiet space for individual study with access to WIFI and equitable access through the LibSeats reservation system.  Once open, continued operation will depend upon student observance of established health guidelines, and State and University health directives.

When will it open?

Based on the estimated time required to complete the space preparation including required health and safety protocols, we estimate being able to open up the Study Space no later than the first day of Spring Quarter.

Why can’t you open sooner? It’s Phase 2 already.

  • The health and safety of our users and staff remain our number one priority. While Libraries are now eligible to open in Phase 2, the health and safety measures required to open this space safely and equitably will take time to complete.
  • The existing Research Commons space was designed for collaboration and group study; however, it will not be used for group study at this time in accordance with the State’s Libraries Services COVID requirements. Libraries Facilities and Information Technology Services teams are creating new seating arrangements and updating the reservation system to support individual study.  While underway, this “retrofitting” will take some additional time to complete.


    How will it work? What will be available?

    • Specific hours of operation are still to be confirmed; however, the plan is to start with weekday operations before possibly expanding to evenings and weekends.
    • As a part of the University’s ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all UW students, faculty and staff who access this space will be required to complete a daily COVID-19 Symptom Attestation.
    • This space is designated for individual study with access through the LibSeats reservation system. Once the online reservation system is active, a link will be provided.
    • WIFI will be available. Printing and computers will not be immediately available upon opening. Libraries will consider adding more services and equipment based on assessment of student needs and maintenance requirements after the space is opened.
    • Protocols within the space will follow Washington State and University of Washington guidelines for distancing, use of masks and sanitization. Continued operation will depend upon student observance of established health guidelines, and State and University health directives.


      Why Research Commons space?

      • The size, ground floor location, and floorplan is conducive for managing COVID protocols in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of all users.
      • The Research Commons space does not have access to physical books that would conflict with resource terms of service that expand access to electronic materials that are critical for remote learning at this time.
      • Starting with a smaller space as a “first step” provides a manageable and safe way to evaluate student needs as well as adherence to health and safety requirements. This first step will inform the Libraries approach for opening additional spaces with more complex requirements. Adding new spaces will be highly dependent on adherence to all health and safety requirements.


        When will Libraries open up other spaces like Suzzallo or branch Libraries?

        Libraries will consider opening additional spaces based on further evaluation of the Research Commons space operations over time and future State and UW guidance for additional phases that are yet to be defined.