COLLEGEVILLE -- Over 10 years of planning and $25 million later, the Alcuin Library at St. John's University has finally been upgraded.

Kathleen Parker is the Director of Libraries, Media and Archives for the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University. She says when the Alcuin Library was built in 1966 it served a different purpose than it does today.

"This building was originally designed as a place primarily to house books and that was its major function. Now as students use more and more electronic resources we understand that the primary function of the library is a place for people to learn."


Although electronic resources are commonly used at the library, Parker says the university didn't want to reduce its number of books.

"We still have the same number of books but we've put the books in high density stacks to free up floor space on the main level of the library."


With the open design it freed up space to add group study spaces, digital media labs, a writing center and tech support area. Along with those renovations, the Learning Commons addition was made.

"We have two classrooms in the Learning Commons. We also have a coffee shop, knowing that everybody is fueled by caffeine and we have a reading room there that feels like a living room."


Parker says students can also take their study sessions outside at the Learning Commons.

"We've added a terrace, so that users can go outside and enjoy the wonderful setting here in Collegeville."


Classes just kicked off last Monday. St. John's University President Michael Hemesath says the new library is quickly becoming a go-to spot for students.

"Students don't have a lot of homework yet. You might think a library would be basically empty on a nice afternoon like this but there are dozens of students using the space because it's so beautiful."


The library was originally set to open this November but since everything went according to plan during the construction process, developers were able to finish nearly three months early.

(Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)
(Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)

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