A new library has opened at Sheridan College, but it doesn’t contain any books. What it does feature are innovative designs obtained from around the world that will give students in design programs unique examples to inspire their own work.

The Material ConneXion Library opened on Jan. 23 at Sheridan’s Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga. The first library of its kind in Canada, the collection is composed of 500 creative designs that will give students a first-hand view of what is possible with each of the different materials. What can be found in the library is a sample of unique ways that materials can be used. Items include a tabletop made of recycled bottles, and a bowl made of discarded coffee grinds. The different categories of materials on display runs from ceramics to glass and metals.

The items on display in the library are obtained from Material ConneXion, a New York-based company with a database of 7,000 exhibits which it leases to institutions around the world. Shelley Woods, a Sheridan librarian, says that a trip to see the company’s collection sparked the idea for creating the library. “We already had access to the Material ConneXion online database, but when myself and another librarian went on a field trip to New York to tour the company’s warehouse we pitched the idea to the faculty,” Woods said.C4t-QOjWIAEivh3

A sample of some of the items on display at the Material ConneXion Library at Sheridan College.

The enthusiasm that the librarians felt for the collection after seeing it for themselves is shared by students. Eshaani Kaul, a third-year Architectural Technology student at Sheridan, believes the library has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for her own work. “Instead of just viewing the items on an online database, we can now actually look and touch the materials and get a feel for the design that went into producing them,” she said. “Because we are involved in making our own designs, the library helps make sense of what we can put into them.” In addition to being a student, Kaul also works at the library to help guide other students around the collection.

Sheridan hopes that the library gives students new and creative ideas in their own field of study. According to Woods, the purpose of the library is to “inspire designs that are innovative, creative and sustainable. Students in programs such as Interior Design, Interior Decorating and Architecture will, we hope, be helped by feeling the materials.”


A group of design students tours the Material ConneXion Library. Sheridan hopes students will be inspired to produce their own creative designs.

While items cannot be taken out of the library, students are encouraged to feel the designs for themselves. Each item contains a description of what materials were used in its creation, and also how the item promotes sustainability and what it can be used for. As for the future of the library, Woods says they hope to expand the collection to 1,500 items by 2018.

The library can be found in room B410 at HMC and is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m., and on Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The full database of materials on display is available at http://sheridancollege.libguides.com/materialconnexionlibrary.