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Taylor Family Digital Library amazing facts

How big is the library?

The six-storey building is a total of 24,000 square metres, or the same size as three Canadian football fields.

How complex was the move?

As part of the initial move-in to the Taylor Family Digital Library (TFDL), more than 9-million objects had to be coded, packed and moved. This includes items from the nearby MacKimmie Library, Nickle Arts Museum and from offsite storage facilities in Edmonton which were moved to both the TFDL and the High Density Library (HDL) at the Spy Hill Campus in northwest Calgary.

Wired in?

Students asked for more electrical outlets for their laptops and other mobile devices, and that's what they got. There is one electrical outlet for every public seat in the building.

Ideas from around the world:

The University of Calgary looked to the best and brightest in library and educational designs from around the world, including Scotland, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, and incorporated them into the TFDL.

Fastest book return you've ever seen:

The new automated book return on the second floor separates books into seven different bins according to their radio frequency identification number which means books are back on the shelf faster than ever.

Can you drive a cherry picker?

Using an innovative storage design first used at Harvard University Library, the HDL houses books according to size rather than subject. Smaller books are placed together on smaller shelves, the bigger books on bigger shelves, so no space is wasted. Library staff learned to use a cherry picker boom lift to reach shelves that extend to the top of the nine-metre-high ceilings.

Are books extinct?

Not at all. More than 600,000 of the latest and most requested books and journals are available on stacks throughout the TFDL, and there is room to grow on the sixth floor.

Weirdest vending machine ever:

Don't just assume vending machines in a digital library are only for gum and chips anymore. The vending machines in the TFDL offer USB flash drives, laptop master locks, packages of AA batteries, and calculators. Oh, and don't forget the pack of Tylenol.

By the numbers:

  • Total print monographs purchased last year: 32,849
  • Total electronic monographs purchased last year: 428,610
  • Maps and air photos in our collection: 1,471,259
  • Film/video materials: 16,990
  • Audio materials: 43,026
  • Architectural drawings: 847,461
  • Microform units: 3,677,896
  • Images in digital collections: 3,397,879

Wealth of research possibilities

  • You can trace the history of the Reform Party in the University Archives collection.
  • You can read the original account of the sinking of the Titanic in our microfilm collection.
  • You can follow Calgary's growth over the past 40+ years in our airphoto collection.
  • You can trace the architectural history of Canada through over one million items found in the Canadian Architectural Archives.

Do I have to be a student or faculty to use the TFDL?

No. Anyone can access the resources in the TFDL at any time.

Community Reader card:

The Community Reader card is $65 for general public, $15 for seniors and free for University of Calgary alumni and enables users to borrow up to 50 books at one time and renew books online.

The Alberta Library (TAL card):

Anyone who has a membership with a public library, college library and a few others that participate in The Alberta Library (TAL) Card program can borrow materials from the University of Calgary Libraries. TAL cards can be obtained from your home library. There is no charge, and the TAL card allows you to check out up to five books at one time an renew your checked-out item unless someone else has requested it.

How can I get remote access to the TFDL resources?

Become a student, faculty or staff member. The licenses for the vast majority of the university's electronic resources restrict access to only current students, faculty and staff. The University of Calgary has created a special free portal for alumni that provides online access to the limited resources where licenses permit alumni access.