First two floors of TFDL open for winter

The first and second floors of the over 265,000 square-foot Taylor Family Digital Library are now open to students.

“It’s equivalent to the Info Commons in the MacKimmie Library, except it’s better,” said Taylor Family Digital Library program director Jackie Bell. “We have lots of student work stations, so computers on the desk tops, and also collaborative work rooms. We’re really excited about the new library and we hope the students are too.”

The new learning commons also hosts about four times as many work rooms that are better equipped for students.

“The comments have been very positive about the comfortable furniture, the bright lights, the nice study areas,” said Libraries and Cultural Resources communications director Donna Livingstone.

The remaining four floors are scheduled to open for the spring semester.

“Right now, they are busy getting the furniture installed, getting the technology installed and moving the books over,” said Bell.

The university has spent seven years planning and developing the new library.

“I am excited that I have the opportunity to access the digital library while I’m attending the University of Calgary,” said first-year development studies student Marni Butler. “It sounds very impressive and I am looking forward to the wide range of services and resources it will have.”

Bell said the new library will create both a quiet study space for students as well as a place to meet and interact.

“The library is designed so that it’s very interactive and dynamic on the first two floors and gets quieter as you go up,” explained Bell.

More traditional study areas can be found on the upper floors, next to the book collection.

“There’s over a half a million books in there but what I think it speaks to is how people like receiving information and being able to work collaboratively online and draw on a bunch of resources,” said Livingstone. “That’s what makes it a contribution to learning.”

The multimedia labs will have Macs and PCs with high end multimedia software, three film preview rooms and four film editing rooms.

“If you want to do some multimedia editing you can go into those rooms, then you can use the film preview rooms to look at what you’ve created,” said Bell.

There will be a gaming area that has everything from Pong to the latest in gaming initiatives on both consoles and six high-end gaming PCs for students who are studying gaming in an academic setting.

“Any collections that can’t be signed out, that are fragile or rare can be viewed in the reading room,” explained Bell. “The expertise of the museum and archives and special collections will be brought together in one area.”

“Our staff are very impressed with the kind of service that they will be able to provide,” said Livingstone.

Bell said the TFDL will have a variety of unique student spaces, such as more student study and meeting areas, workstations and relaxing-looking bean bags which cater to multiple student needs in common opened areas. The ergonomic improvements incorporated specifically into the first floor workstations also create a pleasurable environment in which to work.

“Once Good Earth opens, Taylor Family Digital Library will be one of the premier study spaces on campus,” said seventh-year finance and natural sciences student Marcus Wright.

Good Earth will be moving into the library in April.

The MacKimmie Tower will have its future decided over the next year with expectations to be renovated for offices, student space and other program purposes.

The TFDL was budgeted at around $200 million.

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