Library looks to future plans


Students were invited to listen to a presentation abotu the future of the library (Photo by: Jody Waardenburg)
Students were invited to listen to a presentation abotu the future of the library (Photo by: Jody Waardenburg)

Big changes could soon be in store for the library on Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus.

Following last Friday’s town hall meetings in the Concourse and campus library, the Laurier library is putting together a new master plan to guide and prepare for any future renovations and changes that might be undertaken in years to come.

“I think the most important part of the master plan is having a good, holistic picture of what we want to achieve,” said Gohar Ashoughian, the university librarian. “Having a master plan, it will guide our priorities, investments and decision-making.”

Ashoughian believes that the plan holds the key to envisioning Laurier’s library into the 21st century.

“The library is here to deliver the best possible services to support teaching, learning and research. By doing that, we want to engage and employ the most innovative approaches, and to ensure that the services we are providing are relevant, make sense and state of the art,” said Ashoughian.

The firm Laurier selected to consult on for the development of the master plan was CannonDesign. They consulted with ten other universities last year on their master plans, including Guelph University. They are also the same firm that is developing the Athletic Centre in Brantford.

Friday’s meeting marked the beginning of a three-part process, in which feedback was gathered based upon faculty and student reactions to some of the proposals put forth by  CannonDesign, such as the need for study space and the increasing integration of technology into learning.

On Mar. 11, CannonDesign will be returning to Laurier for a workshop with the Library Space Master Plan Committee as well as meetings with library and university administration. On Apr. 3, another town hall meeting is being planned for the campus community wherein CannonDesign will share their findings and opportunities.

“One of my goals is, having done this a few times, [that] we get really good campus feedback and community feedback,” said Bradley Lukanic, executive director for CannonDesign.

“Some of the best studies we’ve done has been the result of good participation and that you learn about the things that matter to the community you are working with.”

While Lukanic said it is too early to say what Laurier’s master plan might look like, he does believe it will be based around phased implementation.

“It wouldn’t be a major renovation that everybody would move out, but a gradual change of making improvements to respond to the guidance of the plan.”
Funding is also something that would need to be established.

“In terms of funding for this, there is none yet identified for any renovations that the master plan will suggest. Each step of the way will be developed separately to understand what the cost would be,” said Ashoughian.

When the time does come to figure out the budget for proposed plans, Ashoughian said that the primary source of funding is going to be fundraising. The architects, however, are being paid by carry-forward funds from last year’s budget.

Though no concrete plans have been established, there is still a feeling of excitement for what the master plan could propose.

“One of the things I’m most excited about with this campus is that it is a very large campus in terms of population, but it’s also a very tight campus that has buildings engaged in different ways, with great importance on the library. It’s fun to see where this is going to go,” said Lukanic.

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