When the doors opened to the new library for the first time

By Dale Johnson Posted: October 14, 2015 4:15 p.m.

Regina Campus Principal William Riddell (l-r) with librarian John Archer and architect Minoru Yamasaki at the opening of the library on Oct. 14, 1967.
Regina Campus Principal William Riddell (l-r) with librarian John Archer and architect Minoru Yamasaki at the opening of the library on Oct. 14, 1967. Photo courtesy of U of R Archives.

Students at Regina Campus in the fall of 1967 had a new library for their studies.

It was the third building on the new campus; the Classroom and Laboratory buildings had opened in the fall of 1965.

The architect of these three buildings – Minoru Yamasaki, who later designed the World Trade Center in New York City – believed that the library should be the most impressive building on campus, with “better finishes outside and inside, a fine monumental lobby, a grand entrance and a significantly more important approach.”

When the grand new building was officially opened at a ceremony on October 14, 1967, Dr. John Archer – who later became principal of Regina Campus and then first president of the University of Regina – gave the main address, and said the library was the “spiritual heart of the university.”

He also said: “Let in the old and the young – the scholar and the stripling, the bearded and the longhaired, the mod and mini. Above all, let in youth.”

Previously, Dr. Archer held positions with the Saskatchewan Provincial Library and served as Saskatchewan Legislative Librarian, Assistant Clerk of the Saskatchewan Legislature and Saskatchewan Provincial Archivist. He was director of libraries at McGill University, and associate professor of history at Queen’s University.

The building – renamed the Dr. John Archer Library in 1999 – was originally designed to accommodate 500,000 books and 1,600 readers. Space that wasn’t needed immediately for library resources was used for offices, classrooms and the provincial archives. The advanced planning paid off; as the campus grew, so did the holdings in the library, and by 2004 the library collections and services occupied the entire building.

The latest additions to the library include a 3-D printer, laptop computers and iPads that are available for loan, and on-line access 24/7 – things that could not have been envisioned back when it opened on Oct. 14, 1967.