Carrel services FAQ

What are carrels?

Carrels are shared, lockable study rooms on the 2nd floor, South of the Gerstein Science Information Centre. Graduate students, who need to be close to library resources, or those who need a quiet work space, may request a carrel. PCs and laptop computers may be used in all carrels. All carrels have power and wireless connectivity to the University network.

Who is eligible for a Gerstein carrel?

Carrels at Gerstein are available to students in the Physical and Life Sciences Divisions of the School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto. Those who find that they are not utilizing carrel space regularly are encouraged to relinquish this space for reassignment by contacting Catherine Duff by email:

Carrels are assigned according to the following priorities established in conjunction with the School of Graduate Studies:

  1. Doctoral students (Divisions III and IV) in the 3rd year of candidacy and beyond*
  2. Post-doctoral fellows affiliated with the University (Divisions III and IV)
  3. Doctoral students (Divisions III and IV) in their second year of candidacy.
  4. Other doctoral students (Divisions III and IV).
  5. Full-time master’s (Divisions III and IV).

* Applicants in Priority 1 will be permitted to hold a carrel for a total of three years, not necessarily consecutive. Carrels will be assigned for 11 months.

How do I apply for a carrel at Gerstein?

Complete the application form. New applications are accepted all year round and carrels may be allocated or names added to the waiting list. No matter when you apply for a carrel, everyone must renew annually by the end of August. Most carrels are assigned or re-assigned at the beginning of the fall session.  Any application received later than the end of August will be treated as a late application. The same application form is used.

What library material may be kept in my carrel at Gerstein?

PLEASE NOTE: Only library material which is signed out to the carrel holder may be kept in a Gerstein carrel. Journal issues or volumes and reference material may not be signed out. Material that is not signed out to the carrel holder, including journals and reference material, will be removed. Repeated violations may result in loss of an assigned carrel. Carrels will be checked regularly by library staff.

How do I find out about my new assignment at Gerstein?

Carrels are assigned to new applicants as soon as possible in September. You will be contacted either by phone or email to come in and claim the carrel. You may inquire about your position on the waiting list (to if you do not receive a carrel assignment after September 15th.

Do I have to pay for my Gerstein carrel?

We no longer require deposits for carrels or fobs.

How do I contact the Gerstein carrel coordinator?

Contact Catherine Duff by email at

What can I do in my carrel at Gerstein?

The carrel is restricted to quiet, research-related work. Eating is not allowed but drinks in closed containers are permitted.

The regulations regarding carrel use will be issued when you take possession of the carrel. Although the Library expects you, as a concerned user, to follow these regulations carrels are monitored regularly by Library staff. Severe violations will result in loss of carrel privileges.

As carrels are shared study spaces, those assigned to them are expected to be respectful of the needs of fellow occupants. Each occupant is assigned to a specific desk with lockable drawers. Nothing is to be posted on carrel walls or doors. Door windows or parts thereof are not to be covered for safety/security reasons.

Are there carrels in other libraries?

Yes, other libraries have carrels. See also this FAQ about carrels in UofT Libraries.