Resounding applause was the response when Dean Roger Epp asked a large Monday morning crowd of students, faculty, and staff: “So, what do you think of your new library?” It was an enthusiastic launch of a long-awaited facility.
Students who had waited for the first two weeks of the term to get inside the library used words like “phenomenal” and “breath-taking” to describe their first reactions to the space – with its large information commons, its group-study rooms, its stunning architecture and inviting window views of the ravine. While students took time to celebrate, they also claimed study tables, signed up for orientation tours and, of course, checked out books within minutes of the gates opening.
“For some of you, it has been 14 or so days to get into this library,” Epp said. “For others of you, it’s been four years. And if you talk to your professors, for some of them, it’s been decades waiting for this library. So if you see tears in their eyes, you will understand why. It’s great to finally be in a facility that has been imagined and promised for so long.”
Joining Epp to welcome students into their new library was Ernie Ingles, Chief Librarian and Vice Provost. “This is a memorable day,” he said. “There are a number of people both here and on main campus who worked hard to make this library a reality. The fruit of that is clear today.”
The new facility for Augustana students is a proud addition to the U of A’s library system, which ranks 12th in North America. “I hope this is a welcome and appropriate space for you,” said Ingles.
Ground for the new library was broken in April 2007. A formal opening will await the completion of the second phase of the building, which includes a large student gathering space, in 2010.
The new library houses Augustana’s collection of approximately 130,000 individual titles. In addition to being a wireless hotspot, it will provide access to approximately 100 computer stations, a variety of student work spaces, a multi-media room and Writing Centre consultation rooms.