University of Calgary

Grand opening of the library of the future

UToday HomeOctober 21, 2011

The University of Calgary held the grand opening of the Taylor Family Digital Library Thursday, Oct. 20 at a ceremony attended by Calgary philanthropists Don and Ruth Taylor; Alberta Premier Alison Redford; Member of Parliament Blake Richards; and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

The new state-of-the-art learning and research centre is a model for the 21st century library, and an important new gathering place for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Calgary community. The building opened to students and faculty the first week of September, and is already the new heart of the University of Calgary campus.

The Taylor Family Digital Library’s unique features and resources include technology that encourages experiential learning, exploration and innovative ways of creating new knowledge. The facility is one of the most digitally progressive academic libraries in North America. It combines a library, art gallery, archives, rare collections, a student success centre, and the latest digital tools for learning and research, all using the most advanced technology available.

“Today’s grand opening of the Taylor Family Digital Library brings the University of Calgary one step closer to achieving our vision: to become one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching, and fully integrated with the community of Calgary, by our 50th anniversary in 2016,” said Elizabeth Cannon, president. “On behalf of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, I would like to thank the Taylor family, the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada and the City of Calgary for their great generosity in making this outstanding facility possible.”

Only five years ago, Don and Ruth Taylor—longtime friends and supporters of the University of Calgary—donated $25 million to help construct a new digital library.

“We are thrilled that this beautiful building will provide education and inspiration to a whole new generation of students, and will help shape the future of learning whether they are studying fine arts or molecular biology,” said Don Taylor.

“It is through education that we truly have a chance to make the world a better place, and education comes from hard work, study and often long hours in the library,” said Ruth Taylor.

The Government of Alberta matched the Taylor family’s donation through its matching gifts program and also allocated additional funds, for a total of $150.5 million.

“This library will provide Albertans, young and old, the space and support to further their learning with the latest technology and information resources,” said Alberta Premier Alison Redford. “My government is a proud partner in this important new addition to the Calgary community.”

The Government of Canada provided $27 million in capital funding for the Taylor Family Digital Library project (Taylor Family Digital Library plus High Density Library) through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

“Our government’s investments in college and university infrastructure have created and maintained jobs across Canada,” said Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose. “This project will allow the University of Calgary to strengthen its reputation as an innovative leader in our community and across Canada.”

The City of Calgary’s Calgary Arts Development Agency supported the Taylor Family Digital Library with $3.2 million towards the relocation of the Nickle Galleries to the library.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said, “The Taylor Family Digital Library provides Calgary with a new hub for cultural resources. An impressive array of books, journals, special collections, art, and artifacts will be exhibited and accessed in new cross-disciplinary ways.”

As part of the Taylor Family Digital Library project, the university also created the Taylor Quadrangle, a new outdoor community gathering space immediately adjacent to the library, and built the university’s first High Density Library, located off the main campus at Spy Hill. The High Density Library is a new facility that houses approximately 60 per cent of the university’s current book and journal collection, in addition to a significant portion of archival holdings. The total project—including the Taylor Family Digital Library, the Taylor Quadrangle, and the High Density Library—was funded by the Taylor family and all three levels of government, at a cost of $205 million.

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