New Computer Science Instructional Lab in Crerar

The new Computer Science Instructional Lab (CSIL, pronounced see-sill) opened this fall on the first floor of the John Crerar Library. Replacing the smaller Regenstein CSIL, also previously known as the MacLab, the new CSIL offers expanded resources for teaching and student work to support a growing College computer science program.

Computer Science Instructional Lab (CSIL) in Crerar
Computer Science Instructional Lab (CSIL) in Crerar

The construction and operation of CSIL at Crerar is the result of a partnership between the Department of Computer Science, the College, and the John Crerar Library. “The College is pleased with a strong collaborative effort that will yield important resources for student learning and creative engagement with technology,” said John W. Boyer, Dean of the College.

“Both the Library and CSIL are laboratories for study and teaching at the University,” said Judith Nadler, Director and University Librarian. “In its new location, CSIL will maximize its affinities with collections and services at the John Crerar Library.”

CSIL in Crerar offers 92 computers—up from 74 in the lab in Regenstein—and provides more suitable space for individual lab sessions. “With 80 computers in four teaching areas and 12 additional small group and general user workstations next to the labs, CSIL in Crerar is designed to support a rapidly growing computer science program in the College,” said William Sterner, Director of CSIL. “Computer Science considers the live interactions between students and staff to be an essential component for the best educational use of the facility.”

The Lab is located on the west side of Crerar’s first floor, with exterior windows on one side and interior glass walls on the other. “It’s delightful to see it up and running, with students engaged in their classes and work,” said Barbara Kern, Co-Director of the Science Libraries. “The first floor of Crerar is a real hub of activity now, with students in CSIL on one side of the glass wall and faculty, students, and researchers on the other side using library resources and consulting with reference librarians. The upper floors remain the silent study and research spaces that Crerar is well-known for providing.”

“We’re very pleased to participate in a partnership that supports the growth of an important University program,” said Andrea Twiss-Brooks, Co-Director of the Science Libraries. “CSIL will support this growth of Computer Science now and in the future.”

“The Library, the Department of Computer Science, and the College will continue to work together to think about exciting possibilities for the future,” Kern said. “For now though, we are simply enjoying the view.”