The University of Montana Learning Commons at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library will be a gathering place for individual and collaborative learning and problem solving, bringing content, technology, and vital services within easy reach.
Dear Alumni and Friends:
A significant anniversary calls for an equally significant celebration. Forty years ago, The University of Montana opened the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library. Today, we are planning to change the face of education at UM by creating a Learning Commons on the ground level of the library. The Learning Commons, filled with computers, materials, and librarian expertise, will provide a truly dynamic learning environment for students. UM students will have access to the world's knowledge at their fingertips.
By updating our existing space, the University will support today's students as they study and conduct research. Personal computers for individual work will be augmented with spaces designed for group assignments and research. Tables and seating will be easily adaptable for a variety of uses, including theater-style seating for small-group instruction and study sessions. Tutoring in writing and math are among the university's most utilized resources, and the Learning Commons will house dedicated writing and math tutoring centers. Librarians will be on hand to direct students to the resources they need. Ready access to these facilities and services not only will help prepare graduates for the competitive job market, it will foster creativity and research that impact Montana and the world.
Our strategic plan promises students an education for the global century. Each year more students enroll in the Global Leadership Initiative, study abroad, and participate in international internships. Multipurpose spaces at the Learning Commons will include fully equipped conference rooms to facilitate worldwide communication, collaboration, and research.
Throughout the University's history, we have recognized the library as the campus hub of learning and information. The Mansfield Library carries on the legacy of earlier UM libraries, including those that are now our Social Sciences Building and Jeannette Rankin Hall. Students recognize it as the foundation of their education. The Learning Commons embodies our commitment to student success. With your help, we will create a centerpiece of campus academic life for our students. Please take a moment to take a virtual tour of the Learning Commons and consider making a contribution today.
Royce C. Engstrom
The University of Montana
The first university in the English-speaking world was founded around a library. Medieval monks studying and working in the Thames river valley of southcentral England clustered around a growing library in the county of Oxfordshire. To its collections the monks added their own illuminated manuscripts and used the library's aggregated knowledge to produce more works. From this scholarly community arose the beginnings of today's Oxford University.
Every fall students from across Montana and around the world gather at The University of Montana. At the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, Oxfordshire's illuminated manuscripts have become today's electronic journal collections, but the library remains the focal point of learning. Growing up surrounded by digital technology, today's students know that libraries offer much more than books. A Learning Commons at the Mansfield library will reflect how this generation of students researches, studies, and learns. It will support reading and reflection, sustain research, and encourage the free exchange of ideas.
Universities around the country have recognized the central importance of libraries and responded by establishing their own Learning Commons. Students at Seattle University, the University of Arizona, Indiana University, Duke University, Georgia Tech, Dartmouth, and other schools now gather at their own Learning Commons, where they readily access a vast array of instructional and learning resources. When it is finished, the Learning Commons at Montana's flagship institution will help bring that same ready access to UM students.