Check it out: Celebrating the tenth anniversary of UTM's Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre

Bonnie Crobie, Ulli Krull, Shelley Hawrychuk, Hazel McCallion, Andrew Frontini
Friday, May 5, 2017 - 2:14pm
Blake Eligh

The Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre celebrated its tenth anniversary on May 4 at a party on the library’s main floor at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Interim chief librarian Shelley Hawrychuk welcomed attendees, followed by remarks from Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie, vice-president and principal Ulrich Krull, and former mayor and building namesake Hazel McCallion. Architect Andrew Frontini, of the building’s design team, was also in attendance.

“The ongoing success of UTM is important to our city. Students around the world choose UTM to study, learn and launch their careers and many go on to choose Mississauga as their home,” said Crombie. “Congratulations on achieving this very important milestone of 10 years.”

“I’m so honoured to have this building named after me,” McCallion said. “When it opened, there was nothing like it in Canada. I’m delighted to celebrate this investment in education, and in the UTM campus.”

The new library officially opened in 2007, after moving from the previous location in the Davis Building (where one can still find the old book return slot in the wall beside the doors of the Temporary Food Court). The building was designed by Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners (now Perkins + Will). Dubbed “the puzzle box” for its innovative and unique design, the 10,350-square-metre LEED silver building went on to win many awards for design and sustainability.

At the time of the move, library staff worried that students wouldn’t make the trek from Davis to the new library space. “The Instructional Building didn’t exist yet,” said Hawrychuk. “We even created a marketing program, but it turned out that we had nothing to worry about.” The library, which provides working space for 850 students in study carrels, lounges and collaborative workspaces, now sees up to 10,000 daily visits during peak periods.

“Over the years, the whole role of the library has changed,” Krull said. “This is now a community-based centre that touches everyone on campus, but also beyond. It’s important to the City of Mississauga, to high school students and to many others in our community who use this facility.”

“But more important are the people who work here, and what they have accomplished in teaching and bringing in new opportunities for us to succeed,” he said. “Important partnerships, like the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre and the Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre, have grown around this nucleus. This place is a focal point for our academic lives.”

“Our tools have changed, but what we do hasn’t,” Hawrychuk said. “We support teaching and learning on this campus by getting books, electronic resources. Our librarians go into classrooms, work with new faculty to develop assignments and we have a library liaison connected to every department. We are also the archives of UTM, and collect the special and unique items that are part of our campus history.”

Many in attendance praised the beauty of the building. “Candidate tours are blown away when they see the computers, space, light and the library services we offer,” says Elaine Goettler, associate librarian, faculty engagement and liaison.

“It’s a welcoming building,” adds Paula Hannaford, associate librarian, student engagement and public services. “It feels like you’re sitting in the treetops when you’re on the fourth floor.”

The party featured a string quartet and specially-commissioned, book-themed centerpieces created by artist Donna Wark. The event was partially funded through the 50th Celebration Fund.