Forgive us for not being quiet

MRU opens Riddell Library and Learning Centre


Mount Royal University loudly celebrates the official opening of the Riddell Library and Learning Centre. The 16,000-square-metre new space is a box of light. Literally because there is so much natural light coming in the windows and metaphorically because it represents enlightenment through creating and sharing knowledge.

"For Mount Royal University, the Riddell Library and Learning Centre will be the intellectual hub of the campus, showcasing how people, technology and information converge and interact in the 21st century," said David Docherty, President Mount Royal University.

The cutting-edge four-storey, stand-alone building took 36 months to construct from breaking ground in 2014 to opening in 2017, while plans to replace the old Library, built 40 years ago, unfolded over the past decade. The project cost $100.4 million, with the Government of Alberta contributing $88.4 million.

"The Riddell Library and Learning Centre will make life better for all Albertans," said the Honourable Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education. "These public investments support students in getting a high quality education and, by connecting all post-secondary libraries in the Campus Alberta network, will support lifelong learning for Calgarians."

The Library's name recognizes a significant donation made by the Riddell Family Charitable Foundation as part of the University's Changing the Face of Education fundraising campaign.

The Riddell Library and Learning Centre sets a new standard for students seeking an exceptional undergraduate educational experience. This is not only measured by the increased number of student seats to 1,700 (nearly triple that of the prior library's 650 seats), but also by the flexible learning spaces, the latest technological tools and the dedicated support from expert staff and faculty.

"The beauty of the Riddell Library and Learning Centre is that resources for students that were once spread across campus are now conveniently brought together in one building," said Shifrah Gadamsetti, President of the Students' Association of Mount Royal University.

Students can choose their favourite inspiring views, the perfect study spot, the best technology options, and the most comfortable furniture -- from pods to standup and treadmill desks for health and wellness.

Groups of six to eight students can collaborate in one of 34 study rooms, outfitted with the latest technology. There are also rooms for students to practise presentations, create multimedia productions, hone their presentation skills, or chat over a coffee at the café, or in front of the fireplace.

University Librarian Carol Shepstone said, "As the new academic heart of the MRU campus, the Riddell Library and Learning Centre is a place where curiosity meets high-tech innovation and cutting-edge learning."

Library users will definitely be plugged in, with 3,000 power outlets, one million feet (3,040 metres) of communication cables, 110 wireless access hubs and 170 computer workstations. Taking it to the next level of experiential learning is an immersion studio, a maker studio and visualization walls.

  • The black-box environment of the immersion studio enables 360-degree projection, simulating, for example, what it is like to stand inside a beating heart.
  • Ideas and concepts can be explored hands-on and three-dimensionally in the maker studio, which is outfitted with 3D scanners, industrial and embroidery sewing machines, design software, circuitry and robotic kits and much more.
  • On large-scale visualization walls, interactive display and presentation of data, images, maps, audio and video can be shown at the same time to foster exploration, research and creativity.

Meanwhile, Mount Royal's archives and special collections are located in a secure and environmentally controlled area that includes a public reading room for working with the collection, an art and artifact space, and lab and storage space to ensure special care for these precious holdings.

Face-to-face expert help is a critical focus of the Riddell Library and Learning Centre. This includes an integrated service desk. Library staff to assist with research questions, or help students find and critically evaluate information, along with a number of other key academic services and units, such as Student Learning Services, Academic Development Centre, Student Technology and Resource Tutors, Department of Education and the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

The Riddell Library and Learning Centre is on track to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold-certification and was designed by architect DIALOG and constructed by Stuart Olsen. Along with 75 per cent of construction waste being diverted from landfills, there is a 30 to 35 per cent reduction in potable water, preferential parking and charging for electric vehicles and LED lighting controlled through daylight and occupancy.

With a nod to the conversion of text to digital form, binary code on the exterior of the building spells out "Quam bene, non quantum" - Mount Royal's latin motto meaning "How well not how much." There is also ample space for exhibits, art and displays, including the feature skate-board tile walls on each floor.

Mount Royal University is located on the traditional lands of the Blackfoot People, the Niitsitapi. Recognizing this, the Riddell Library and Learning Centre is the first building on campus to include Blackfoot language signage in its destination and wayfinding.

A free Library community borrower card provides access to books, music, and a range of other collections.

Grand Opening formal program

Date: Thursday, September 7, 2017

Time: Official program from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Ribbon cutting at 9:10 a.m.

Participants (in order of appearance)

University Librarian, Carol Shepstone

Elder Dr. Reg Crowshoe

The Honourable Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt

Dr. David Docherty, President, Mount Royal University

Mr. Clay Riddell, Riddell Family Charitable Foundation

President, Students' Association of Mount Royal University, Shifrah Gadamsetti

Location: Riddell Library and Learning Centre

East side of Mount Royal University

4825 Mount Royal Gate SW

Grand Opening conference highlights

Date: Thursday, September 7, 2017

Time: From 10 a.m. to 5:30 pm.

Speakers: Canadian journalist and media expert Jesse Brown on the power of disruption (10 a.m.)

Next Gen Den dragon Nicole Verkindt on investing in technology (noon)

Indigenous speaker and educator Eddie Robinson on Indigenous ways of knowing through technology (2 p.m.)

Author and podcaster Dina Del Bucchia on engaging community online (4 p.m.)


The project

Took 36 months to construct from ground breaking in 2014 to opening in 2017

Plans to replace the old library, which was built 40 years ago, have unfolded over the past decade

Cost $100.4 million:

Government of Alberta contributed $88.4 million

The Riddell Family Charitable Foundation made a significant donation


The building

Four-storey, stand-alone building covering 16,000 square-metres

360 degrees of inspiring views -- all floors and all sides of the building

On track to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold-certification:

LED lighting controlled through daylight and occupancy reduces use and cost

Target 30-35% reduction in potable water use with low flow, efficient fixtures and drought resistant plants

Preferential parking and charging stations for electric vehicles

During construction, 75% of construction waste sorted and diverted from landfills to be recycled

Designed by architect DIALOG

Constructed by Stuart Olsen

Print collection of about 250,000 items and an e-book collection of more than 400,000

Access to almost 70,000 e-journals and approximately 400 print journals

About double the space for print collections and a robust WiFi system to access our e-collections1,700 seats for students, nearly three times the number of seats in the old Library

3,000 power outlets (approximately two per seat)

First campus building to include Blackfoot language signage in destination and wayfinding

More than 170 computer stations


Special spaces

34 group study rooms for six to eight students, offering many technology and furniture options

Archives and special collections includes public reading room, art and artifact storage, lab and teaching spaces

Maker Studio with 3D scanners and printers, industrial and embroidery sewing machines, design software, robotics kits and more

Immersion Studio is a black-box environment with a 360-degree projection for experiential learning

Local Café with indoor and outdoor seating

Visualization walls in two locations for large-scale and interactive display and presentation


The benefits to students

Inspiring spaces include personal study pods, comfy seating, a café and fireplace lounge, even treadmill desks

Ample spaces for collaboration, creation, sharing and engaging with University and Calgary community

Also located in Library: Student Learning Services, the Academic Development Centre, the Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and the Department of Education

Library's dedicated staff, faculty librarians and administrators share a single office area

The benefits to community members

Programs and outreach connect Library, faculty and students with community in new ways

Access to beautiful spaces, whether you want to read by the fireplace or enjoy the cafe offerings

A free community borrower card provides access to onsite Library collections (books, music, etc.)


Sept. 7, 2017

Media request contact information.
Have a story idea? Please fill out this form.