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Concordia delivers the cutting-edge digital transformation of the Webster Library

Technology-rich with 22 types of study spaces, the pioneering project facilitates active and collaborative learning
March 23, 2018
An interactive application presented in the Webster Library's new visualization studio.

Montreal, March 23, 2018 - Three years of renovation and expansion work have produced a forward-looking 21st-century library that stands as a landmark on Concordia’s downtown Sir George Williams Campus.

The transformed library was inaugurated today in the presence of Hélène David, minister for Higher Education and minister for the Status of Women, as well as François Croteau, borough mayor of Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie and the member of Montreal's Executive Committee responsible for the smart city, information technologies, innovation and higher education.

“The newly transformed Webster Library is a shining example of the fundamental role of university libraries in support of world-class teaching, learning and research,” said Concordia’s president Alan Shepard. “It provides students with the spaces, collections and services to take charge of their own education and engage in the big thinking that moves society forward.”

The updated library delivers:

  • A technology sandbox allowing digital exploration
  • A visualization studio featuring the interactive artwork Proteus: Jeremy Segal (project lead), Michel Didier (technical lead), Roxanne Sirois (art direction), Joseph Browne (sound designer)
  • 3,300 study seats - a 113 per cent increase
  • 22 types of study space
  • Green walls to improve air quality
  • 21 km of books
  • Dissertation writers’ rooms  

Stunning new spaces and technology

Students entering the Webster Library are now greeted by curated audio clips as they ascend the new transitional staircase that ushers them into a space that shines with natural light, thousands of study seats, an exciting technology program and dedicated graduate student spaces.

“From large silent reading rooms, zero-noise rooms, presentation practice rooms, and a technology sandbox where the Concordia community can experiment with 3-D printing, virtual reality and other cutting-edge equipment, it’s a next-generation library that’s been met with great enthusiasm by Concordia undergraduate and graduate students alike,” said Graham Carr, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs.

“At every phase of decision making, university librarian Guylaine Beaudry and her team carefully consulted with Concordians and especially with our students to ensure that the Webster Library emerged as the environment most fitting to support their research, study and intellectual pursuits.”

A wildly ambitious project carefully conceived based on student consultations  

“The Webster Library now combines the fundamentals of a university library and a deep dive into rich and diverse digital environments, that is at once inviting, warm and filled with beauty where students can take charge of their own learning," said Guylaine Beaudry, who is also Concordia’s vice-provost of Digital Strategy.

"The library fosters a culture of research, innovation and collaboration at Concordia, so students succeed from first year to graduation." 

The Webster Library Transformation was carried out in four phases and delivers a 27 per cent increase in study spaces, a longstanding need given the university’s tremendous growth over the last several decades. When the library first opened in 1992, Concordia had 25,000 students. The student population currently stands at more than 46,000 students.

The project also features living green walls in a vertical landscaping system on each floor of the library to provide users with better indoor air quality, promote a sense of well-being and increase noise absorption. 

“This was a wildly ambitious project that left no stone unturned in pursuit of a library that was conceived by students, for students,” said Beaudry. “Consultations were the backbone of this project’s success. And, that is what gave us the confidence to boldly move ahead in new directions in reimagining a next-generation library.”

Minister David committed to student success

Hélène David, minister for Higher Education and minister for the Status of Women applauded Concordia for prioritizing the $37 million Webster Library transformation in its administration of funds from the Government of Quebec’s Plan quinquennal d’investissements universitaires.

"Our government places a priority on investing time and financial resources in our students," said David. ​

"That is why we are gathered here today. We are unwavering in our dedication to offer our students the very best study spaces available. And, this commitment is the reason for our investment in Concordia University’s Webster Library. Students will be able to benefit from cutting-edge learning environments, which I am confident will help them succeed."

Learn more about the transformation of the Webster Library.


Fiona Downey
Public Affairs
514-848-2424, ext. 2518


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