This past November, University Chancellor James Beingessner, and President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Katherine Bergman hosted an Illuminated High Tea, in support of the St. Jerome’s University Library Renewal Project.
A fully catered, authentic English high tea was served to accompany guest Dr. Greti Dinkova-Brunn’s lecture on Selecting Sacred Scripture: How the Biblical Canon was Created; Dinkova-Brunn is a member of the Librarians of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) at the University of Toronto. Guests were also treated to an advanced – and private – viewing of a priceless tenth-century Carolingian manuscript and a stunning fifteenth-century illuminated book of hours.
Dinkova-Bruun brought the Biblical Canon to life, highlighting the uniqueness and beauty that is found within the set of texts. She also spoke of the history behind the creation of such treasures.
An exhibit of precious medieval manuscript facsimiles – generously loaned from PIMS – were on display at the University for a week following the private event. Students from St. Jerome’s University’s own Digital Research and Graphic Environmental Networks Laboratory – or DRAGEN Lab – proudly took on the task of looking over the loaned material and guiding visitors through the exhibit.
The Illuminated High Tea was just the first of several initiatives scheduled in support of the renovation and expansion of the Library.
OUR LIBRARY IS
University Libraries are the at the core of teaching and foundational in critical thinking. Where students and faculty connect over research, knowledge creation, technology, and tradition.
In 2015, the St. Jerome’s University Library staff began a comprehensive review of their spaces and services to assess how well they were meeting the needs of students and faculty, and to determine how best to make use of the space vacated by the recent Campus Renewal. The study results were clear: students, faculty, and staff who used the library loved the library; but the library wasn’t meeting the needs of the entire community.
During student focus groups, it became clear that the Library does not have the group study spaces or writable surfaces that students need. Librarian Lorna Rourke notes that there is an urgent need for places where groups can work on presentations and projects. “Students sometimes end up having to work in the cafeteria or even in the hallways. I look forward to having adequate, well-equipped spaces where groups of students can work together, while still maintaining enough space in the Library for quiet, solitary study.”
The Library’s patron-centered philosophy is also service oriented. Known for providing a personalized experience, the Library staff will continue to ensure that that aspect is not lost, and that the spaces in the new library match the exceptional service faculty and students have come to expect.
Library Associate Deb Addesso says, “We are looking forward to having improved spaces to support our new initiatives like wellness programming, exam stressbusters, new bike and board game lending programs, and to have enough study carrels during exams.”
Working with ABA Architects, the team has laid out a plan to breathe new life into a library that hasn’t had an update since the 1980s. The design is well underway, but the team continues to search for funding for more specialized equipment to further enhance the learning experience for all our users. We are hoping to be able to install compact shelving, a feature that would ensure that the collection is sustainable as well as fully accessible.
The St. Jerome’s University Academic Staff Association (ASA) has also unanimously pledged $10,000 towards the Library Renewal, showing their never-ending support for their students.
The new St. Jerome’s University Library will create an ecosystem that embodies the collaborative, interdisciplinary, and community-based approach to educating the whole person that the University is known for.
The Library will be a dynamic learning ecosystem, acting as a hub of open, collaborative inquiry that blurs the lines between the classroom and the research lab. It will become a place where classroom discussions extend into a common space for expanded discussion and exploration, connecting theory to practice. As an interdisciplinary space, where students in the humanities and social sciences can engage with those studying in engineering, math and science, students, librarians, staff, and professors will be able to explore complex global issues from a diversity of perspectives, creating new and relevant methods.
When the renovation is complete, students can expect to find a unique learning ecosystem that includes:
a reading room for quiet focused study,
workshop spaces with writable surfaces,
cutting edge research labs,
Café and social learning spaces,
state of the art smart classrooms,
new study carrels,
bright and open collaboration rooms,
and more accessible collections spaces.