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Foundation Western makes transformational gift to Western Libraries

Support will add more collaborative learning spaces for students

February 7, 2014

Foundation Western’s Board of Directors recently granted $250,000 in support of The Taylor Library Transformation – a new fundraising initiative designed to renew Western University’s Allyn & Betty Taylor Library. The money will be used to construct and furnish six main floor consultation rooms, as well as to install state-of-the-art communication technology.

University Archivist and Acting University Librarian, Robin Keirstead, describes the leadership gift as “pivotal,” not only because of the dollar value, but also because the decision sends a strong message to other potential donors that this is an initiative worth supporting.

“Western Libraries is critical to the academic success of our students. It provides them with access to our rich information resources and collections – both virtual and physical – and to the knowledge expertise of our dedicated staff,” Keirstead said. “For many of our students the various Western Libraries locations also provide an important physical place to meet, study, research and collaborate.”

However, with over 200,000 visitors per month, this high demand creates considerable student study space pressures.

“Through an extensive consultation process with our students, we have heard loudly and clearly that many of our existing library spaces are no longer fully meeting their needs,” said Keirstead. “Today’s students are seeking a mix of learning and study spaces, equipped with appropriate technology, to address their differing needs at various times during the academic year.”

These new collaborative learning spaces will begin to help meet the expressed needs of Western’s student population and create a sense of unity in today’s global learning environment.

Foundation Western's contribution will help Western Libraries create an environment that is as flexible, diverse and vibrant as Western's user population.

“New technology has transformed the demands placed on our library system by our students,” said Frank Pyka, Foundation Western Executive Director. “Creating learning environments that students need to excel is one of the things the Foundation Western Discretionary Fund was established to do, so investing in The Taylor Library Transformation was an easy decision.”

What’s more, this transformational gift brings the Foundation Western Discretionary Fund’s total granting to nearly $1.5 million in just seven years.

Established by unrestricted donations from Western alumni, income from the endowment can be used at the discretion of the Foundation Board and Executive Director. The Fund’s flexibility allows the Board and Executive Director the ability to respond to emerging needs and support projects with lasting benefit to Western alumni, students and staff.

Other projects the endowment has recently supported include two state-of-the-art, artificial turf fields; The Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine; the New Ivey Building; and the Paul Davenport Theatre.

In honour of Foundation Western’s most recent gift, Western Libraries will name a physical space on the Taylor Library main floor and provide virtual appreciation through a digital bookplate. Such recognition will act as a permanent expression of thanks to the many alumni who made the transformation possible.

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