Simon Fraser University will have another flagship presence in the community – inside Surrey’s new City Centre Library – an outcome of the efforts of an updated 2008 MOU between the city and the university.
The City of Surrey and SFU have signed a lease for the university to rent three classrooms on the 4th floor of the new library, which opens this fall.
The arrangement means SFU Continuing Studies can offer a slate of courses for the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters. In addition, these classrooms and other library facilities will be used for outreach programs for the community.
Plans are underway for initiatives involving SFU Surrey students, including book discussions led by World Literature students, student research assistance for small business owners, and tutoring opportunities.
A 77,000 square-foot architectural landmark and part of the city’s downtown revitalization plan, the library was designed by architect Bing Thom, who also masterminded the design of SFU Surrey and the Central City development.
Chief Librarian Beth Barlow says, “Having a university deliver courses in a municipal library is a unique concept. We look forward to collaborating with SFU faculty and students and to finding ways to connect them with our customers.
“We also like the idea of having a university in our library, especially since public libraries have often been called the “people’s university” – now we can make that come true in many more ways.”
Helen Wussow, SFU’s Dean of Lifelong Learning, has plans for a range of continuing studies courses in English language and culture, career transition, arts, history and culture, community engagement, writing and communications, and community and urban planning.
"Our partnership with the City Centre Library provides a unique opportunity to address the educational needs of the community,” Wussow says. “ Just as SFU Surrey is situated in a major public space, so the classrooms in the library will provide access to people who have never thought of passing through a university's doors."
Along with a Philosophers’ Café series and workshops and courses by DiverseCity, the Surrey Transportation lecture program will be offered at the library this fall.
Instructors include senior staff from the City of Surrey, Metro Vancouver, Translink, and the Ministry of Transportation. The program focuses on a range of transportation issues pertinent to the Lower Mainland and Surrey, from roadway planning to management of transportation systems.
SFU President Andrew Petter says, "SFU already has many ties to the Surrey community, and this strengthens and deepens our mutual relationship.”
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is encouraged by the new partnership with students, adding, “the SFU student population creates an incredible dynamic in our city centre, and we are always supportive of new endeavours that connect more residents to this energy.”
During SFU Surrey’s May 28 open house (after 11:30), Petter and deputy librarian Melanie Holden will be on hand to celebrate the milestone and can speak to media about the growing and successful City-University partnership.