British Columbia

BCIT installs new sleep pods in library

The 120-centimetre sleep pods allow students to lie down and shut out the world if they need a quick snooze, says library director.

No funny ideas — only 1 student allowed in sleep pod at a time

A woman climbs inside a white cylindrical pod located inside a college library.
Jocelyne Leszczynski, BCIT's media relations coordinator, slides the door on a new sleep pod installed at the institution's library. According to the library's director, the units are similar to those found at Facebook's offices in London. (Dillon Hodges/CBC)

NOTE: This story was published on Aug. 2, 2016.

A Vancouver post-secondary institution is looking to land an A+ in the nap department.

BCIT has installed two new sleep pods in its Burnaby campus library so students can lie down for a proper sleep if they should need it.

The library's director says the pilot program was driven by student demand.

"We often see students sleeping in the library," said James Rout. "We've also had some research ... that shows a clear need for students to have a safe and secure place to rest."

The technical college launched a nap room inside one of its gyms in January, but Rout says the library is a more central location on campus.

Two white cylindrical sleeping pods pictured side by side inside a college library.
Sleep pods are part of a pilot program at BCIT for students to take quick naps at the library. (Dillon Hodges/CBC)

The 120 centimetre, futuristic-looking sleep pods resemble a large white barrel or canister placed on its side.

Users just climb in, lie down on the vinyl mat and slide the door closed.

There are no blankets or pillows, but cleaning supplies, like ones used for shared gym equipment, will be placed by the pods. Students will be expected to give the pods a wipe down after each use, says Rout.

Rout says they are considering installing alarms to wake students from their slumber, as well as a booking system.

Solo snoozes only

Because enclosed sleeping units on a college campus could inspire more than just solo snoozes, Rout says the library has implemented measures to protect the health and safety of students.

For starters, only one sleeper is allowed in a pod at a time.

"We do have staff about 15 feet from the sleeping pods and they are under video surveillance," added Rout. 

The units are not sound-proof at all and have been placed directly next to computer workstations — which the school hopes will help prevent any bad behaviour.

A person sleeps on their side within a white cylindrical sleeping pod.
James Rout, BCIT's library directory, says even though the pods are enclosed, they offer plenty of ventilation. (Dillon Hodges/CBC)

Student reaction

BCIT first unveiled its sleep pods on its Facebook page about one week ago.

Fifteen hundred shares later, it appears the pods were quite well received, but some did take issue with it. 

"Please just spend the money on more tables so there's room for us to study," read Kelly Provenzano's comment. It was reinforced by more than 100 likes.

Rout says the pods did cost "several thousand dollars," but they are part of a larger initiative to purchase furniture that supports student learning, which includes proper rest.