Libraries, literature and music were centre stage as Cape Breton University, joined by award-winning authors, Frank Macdonald, Alistair and Alexander MacLeod and members of the Barra MacNeils, unveiled $2 million worth ofrenovations to the campus library.The celebration began at 7 p.m. in the Boardmore Playhouse with An Evening of Prose and Music followed by a reception and special presentation in the library foyer. Seen as a significant event in the library’s life span, the renovations are the first undertaken in more than 30 years.
The enhancements have been designed to improve the overall experience provided to students and visitors, including a contemporary space fully equipped to meet the changing learning and research styles of students, faculty and staff as well as the broader community. Layout and design plans were created that included suggestions put forth by the university community.
In addition to several new technological features, aesthetically, the library has a refreshed and relocated circulation and reception area with a new colour palette reflected on the walls and flooring, along with revitalized study rooms. Notably, accessibility to the second level has been improved for those visitors facing physical challenges. These elements, combined with the exceptional service provided by library staff, has created an attractive environment that supports knowledge fulfillment.
Construction to the library was completed prior to the first day of classes for the 2011-12 academic year. Pleased with the outcome, CBU President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. John Harker, has already witnessed the positive impact that the changes have created. “Our campus is diversifying. Technology is changing, and so too are the methods in which students, faculty, staff and the larger community engage in learning. To remain prominent in the competitive post-secondary arena – it is paramount that we evolve. We have to continuously work to offer better access to current technologies, provide innovative teaching and research tools and build on the unparalleled service that is distinct to CBU. The library, among other recent campus expansion initiatives, is a fitting example of CBU’s commitment to doing just that. Students are already taking advantage, and I am confident that members of the community will be pleasantly surprised with the library’s new inviting look,” he says.
As part of the evening’s celebrations, CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton host, Wendy Bergfeldt, introduced readings from Frank Macdonald, A Possible Madness; Alexander MacLeod, Light Lifting; and Alistair MacLeod, No Great Mischief, with accompanying musical selections performed by Stewart and Lucy MacNeil.
In recent years, the CBU Friends of the Library Committee, led by Chair, Eunice Harker, raised funds to provide additional books for use by students in all four CBU academic schools. The group, like faculty and students alike, recognized that at the heart of every vibrant campus is a university library and advocated for needed library refurbishments. Their work and a generous donation made to the CBU library by the late Catherine Godwin were also recognized during the event.