UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 03 | Feb.
Learning Commons takes shape inside Main Library
Collegial environment designed as a space where community members can build
The main concourse in Main Library will be restored and transformed
into a learning commons, thanks to a $1-million gift from two
"The Learning Commons has been a top priority," says university librarian,
Catherine Quinlan. "It goes back to Trek 2000 which speaks to the
need to support
learning and research. The concept is also included in UBC's Academic
Donors Dr. Lloyd and Mrs. Katherine Chapman, both attended
UBC in the
Plans for the commons, which is now under construction in the area
housed the card catalogue, include support for advanced learning and research
and innovative computer technology.
It will be a staffed space where all students, faculty,
and community members can build their learning skills while
accessing the library's
extensive information resources.
The facility will include study space. There will also be an informal gathering
space to encourage the collegial environment and spirited dialogues that are
central to a university as a forum of lively minds, says Quinlan.
She says the Learning Commons is an exciting addition to the university.
"It gives us an opportunity to see what students' needs and expectations are.
As undergraduate programs become more focused on problem-based learning and
research, how we support them, not just in the Library but campus-wide, is
The Chapmans have been long-time supporters of the university, says
"They were very interested in supporting a project that, in their words, `is
forward thinking, showcases quality and excellence, and enhances the quality of
living for human beings.' We're honoured to be given the opportunity to
make this happen."
The commons will focus particularly on welcoming and integrating first-year
students so they feel a part of the learning community more quickly.
Students in upper years of study will be available as tutors and mentors to
other students through formal programs, as well as the natural interactions of
a shared study area.
The university is establishing an endowment to support student
in the Learning Commons.
These programs will focus on: academic skills enhancement and
leadership training; career and personal development programs; and
peer group learning. Service-learning programs, including for
student tutoring to members of the community, such as youths, special-needs
learners and persons from disadvantaged circumstances, are also planned.
The Learning Commons will also serve as the centrepiece for the
Learning Centre (ULC) project.
UBC is poised to redevelop Main Library as a hub of knowledge, built
around and preserving the facility's 76-year-old heritage core.
The ULC will be a multi-purpose facility that builds on the Library's
traditional strengths while enhancing learning, research, and social exchange.
Opening of the commons is slated for mid-August.