Evolution of Info Commons celebrated on 10th anniversary of student space

By Ken Hunt

Michael Ridley, chief information officer and university librarian, gave a presentation commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Information Commons, a well-known, well-organized, well-used technological resource centre for students founded in 1999.

Following Ridley’s presentation Oct. 2, a panel of University of Calgary leaders held a Q and A session about “The 21st century learning environment.”

The Information Commons offers 24-hour access to over 245 computers — 175 of which are “full service,” meaning they include the complete spectrum of Microsoft Office and email tools and access to the library’s online catalogues — six printing stations housing several printers, 10 rooms each designed for groups of six to eight and a veritable army of knowledgeable staff.

“The purpose of the Information Commons is to enhance learning,” said Ridley. “We discovered that universities had various resources for writing and research, but they were scattered all over the campus. The idea is to place all these resources in one place and provide students with simple, easy access to them.”

Ridley’s presentation dealt with the evolution of information commons, and the challenges and strategies of academic engagement within the shared space.

Among the panelists that attended the discussion was Thomas Hickerson, vice-provost of libraries and cultural resources and university librarian.

“The focus has moved from discovering information in 1999 to choosing which information to incorporate into our knowledge and learning, and how to share it,” said Students’ Union vice-president academic Meg Martin.

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