Carol Shepstone, university librarian at Mount Royal University, says the spacious new facility offers top-level technology and many more spaces for collaboration and learning.
(Supplied by Wil Andruschak, Content Works)


This is a destination  library.

The nearly 172,200- square-foot, four- storey, LEED gold certified  Riddell Library and Learning Centre at Mount Royal  University more than  doubles the current library seating to about 1,800 people and increases its high-demand group study rooms ten-fold to more than 30.

“The Riddell Library and Learning Centre was designed to meet the current and, most importantly, the emerging needs of MRU students and faculty,” says Carol Shepstone, university librarian at Mount Royal University.

“We are thrilled to be leading the way in state-of-the-art library design. Based on years of research exploring best practices in academic library design informed by attention to advancements in teaching and learning research, we have created a truly transformational library.

“It is flexible, future-focused and brimming with innovative new ways to  engage with information and ideas and to create critical thinkers with new knowledge and skills.”

Shepstone says managing the project made it very evident to those involved that a successful library and learning centre had to be about the staff, faculty and  students — the people who will work, teach, learn and help others in the new facility. 

“This new facility was designed with student needs in mind,” says Shepstone.

Health and wellness was a priority and was incorporated into the design.

“We added many unique features to the Riddell Library and Learning Centre that support health and wellness — from end-of-destination bike lockers and showers to height adjustable stand-up desks and treadmill desks,” she says.

With 34 group rooms, the facility is designed for collaboration while presentation practice rooms allow students to hone their skills and leading-edge technology provides  opportunities to create podcasts, video productions, music and sound effects.

“They can explore new ways of learning using our Immersion Studio, which projects images and information in a 360-degree format or through virtual reality,” says Shepstone.

The facility is also open to the public and community users are welcome to enjoy the inspirational spaces, access collections and engage with some of the creation spaces such as the Maker Studio, which is equipped with 3D printers and scanners, industrial sewing machines, laser  cutters, circuitry kits and specialized design tools.

The public can also access speakers and events in the Ideas Visualization Lounge or peruse the  archives and special collections in the exhibition spaces.

“We know the community will enjoy these spectacular new spaces, our programming and events, and of course much improved access to our collections, whether doing research, finding something fun to read or reading to their children from our children’s literature collection,” says Shepstone.

“We are really excited about how prominent and accessible this new standalone building is for the community and the wonderful new ways the Riddell  Library and Learning Centre can help connect faculty,  students and the community.”

Always top of mind  during the facility’s thorough 10-year develpment were emerging tools and the philosophies attached to best practices in teaching, learning and  research environments.

“The planning, design and construction of the centre was a complex and exciting project,” says Shepstone.

“It was definitely one the more challenging building projects — not simply because of the size of the facility, but also due to the rapidly changing nature of academic libraries and the number of building partners involved in the project.

“But we are so excited to see the new Riddell Library and Learning Centre  completed and open for business.”


This feature was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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