The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

On Monday, Mount Royal University’s (MRU) new library, the Riddell Library & Learning Centre, opened its doors June 26 after three years of construction and planning that began in 2006.

The building, sitting at nearly 16,000 square metres, is an extreme upgrade from MRU’s previous library that was situated in one large room in the main campus building.

The new library building is composed of four floors dedicated to classrooms, learning labs, group and individual study areas, computer rooms, the Peer Tutor program, the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, various other labs, archives, and of course, books.

Margy MacMillan, a recently retired member of the library staff, served on the Library Capital Expansion Committee that began considerations in 2006. She joined the committee in 2008, and as part of the former Mount Royal College’s university accreditation process, helped develop the plan for a larger library.

“We worked on developing those partnerships, who was going to be in the building and who wasn’t, and there were a few other people who might have been in the building and aren’t now,” MacMillan explains.

library shelvesThe library houses books on the 3rd and 4th floors of the new building, with leisure reading areas on some floors. Photo by Amber McLindenThe people that are in the building as of the opening include Student Learning Services, the START (Student Technicians and Resource Tutors) Lab, the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the Academic Development Centre, and several other new spaces for students, faculty, and community to use.

Besides the resources and expanded space for students to work, the new facility has new technology to assist learning, including treadmill desks to stay active while studying, soundproof recording rooms and an immersion room for 360 video. Students and staff at MRU can rent the technology to make 360 video in the library.

Everything about the library was made deliberately with students in mind, says MacMillan.

“I think having space, and I think it matters that it’s a beautiful space, right, it shows students that we value them, and we do, and we now have a space that says that. We’ve always valued students in the library but our space has not shouted that from the rooftop,” she says.

While the library is open, it’s not completely finished being set up. Some of the furniture has yet to be installed and the rental equipment, like the 360 video equipment, hasn’t arrived. Everything is expected to be in place for the new semester to begin in September.

The Government of Alberta invested 88.4 million dollars towards the project, and the Riddell Family Charitable Foundation donated a large chunk to help fund the new library. The estimated total cost is 100 million dollars.

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