MRU Library Blog

Aileen Smyth Heads Into Retirement with a Lasting Legacy at MRU

Aileen Smyth


Aileen Smyth works hands on with students across campus at Student Learning Services but as her peers reflect on her contributions as she heads into retirement this week, it’s clear the impression she’s left on the MRU Community can’t possibly be confined to a singular role.

“Aileen is a collaborator, a builder, and a connector. She is full of wonderful ideas and always works from a place of how to bring others together to help make those ideas a reality,” says Katharine Barrette, Associate University Librarian, Public Services, when asked to describe Smyth.

Barrette not only works two floors away from Smyth in the RLLC, they both collaborated on Mount Royal University’s inaugural Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) this past March, which was initiated by Smyth. Working as a Writing and Learning Strategist, Team Lead, since 2006 has allowed Smyth to connect with students, help them to improve specific skills, and identify opportunities to set them up to succeed here at MRU and beyond.

LNAP is now a renowned initiative that is typically hosted by writing centres at post-secondary institutions around the world. The idea to host a full evening dedicated to guiding students towards resources meant to help them throughout their course work first kicked off in Frankfurt, Germany in 2010. Smyth was introduced to it by a speaker at a conference she attended in November 2012 and was inspired to bring a version of the event to MRU.

“Most of the institutions at that time did an all nighter, it started at 10 p.m. and went to 7 a.m.” says Smyth, who goes on to explain that her and the rest of her colleagues at Student Learning Services knew they could gather support for LNAP by preserving the spirit of the event but adjusting elements, such as the timing, to keep from encouraging late night cramming and students forfeiting sleep.

Shortly after working out the details, Smyth approached Barrette about incorporating the MRU Library into LNAP. The pair formed an LNAP committee, comprised of partners across campus that came together to offer everything from free yoga classes to help with writing and study techniques. The goal is to ensure student attendees are supported academically, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and socially.

“Students who came out expressed excitement at discovering services and support available to them and we certainly had students express gratitude at being able to access some of these services (SLS and START in particular) at times when those areas are normally closed,” says Barrette, who looks forward to planning future LNAPs at MRU, but she knows Smyth’s presence will be missed.

“I will miss Aileen so much; I’ll miss her energy, her positivity, her unwavering belief that our potential to support student success is limitless. I’ll miss how she listens deeply to others and I’ll certainly miss how calm and calming she is, even when there’s a terrible blizzard on the day of the very first LNAP ever!,” says Barrette as she recalls the unseasonably frosty weather that made an appearance at the first LNAP on March 15.

Smyth’s last day at SLS is Friday, June 29. When asked what she’ll miss most about being on campus, her response is immediate and instinctive.

“The students! My colleagues are wonderful, but I’ll miss the students.”

Calvin the Cougar takes some me-time and gets a massage from MRU Massage Therapy students at the first MRU LNAP held on March 15, 2018 (photo credit: Katharine Barrette)
Calvin the Cougar takes some me-time and gets a massage from MRU Massage Therapy students at the first MRU LNAP held on March 15, 2018 (photo credit: Katharine Barrette)

The next LNAP will take place on November 14, 2018. Please look out for updates as the evening’s activities are confirmed.

Alternate Study Spaces

Looking for an alternative place to study while the library is closed on December 2? Check out these spots:

Quiet Spaces
On campus
Wyckham House
Off Campus
T 126 — Tables and chairsEast gate – Starbucks tables & chairs350 seats in the Food CourtCalgary Public Library Branches: Alexander Calhoun, Signal Hill, Nichols Family
I 130 - Tables and chairsE wing – study carrels, including E13075 seats in the loungePhil and Sebastian - Marda Loop
T 219A — Study carrelsTim Horton’s – tables and chairs80% of the food outlets will be open until 3 pmIndigo Books Signal Hill
T 223A — Study carrelsI wing – tables and chairs, including I130Also seats available in level 2 lounge areaTim Hortons - Richard Way & Signal Hill Centre
Y 219 — Tables and chairsT wing – tables and chairs, carrels, lounge seatingStarbucks - Signal Hill Centre, 45th Ave, Marda Loop
EA 2004 —Tables, chairs and lounge seatingY wing – tables and chairs, carrelsSecond Cup - Signal Hill Centre
EA, EB, EC - Tables and chairs, lounge seating, Jugo Juice (EA)Monogram Coffee - 16th St
NHBR Coffee - 16th St

Student Awards for Excellence in Scholarly Endeavors – Winners!

The Library is very pleased to announce the 2016 recipients of the Library’s Student Awards for Excellence in Scholarly Endeavours:
  • Stephanie Weber (Junior Award) for her paper “Culinary Imperialism: Chinese Food in New York, 1870-1943”
  • Steven Lilley (Senior Award) for his project “‘The Robot as an Entertainer’: Historical Consciousness and the Mechanical Music Controversy in America, 1906-1929”

The Library will be holding an award presentation ceremony for these two talented students to celebrate and recognize their outstanding scholarly achievements. We hope you can join us on May 30 from 1:00 – 2:00 in the Library Lounge.

Please feel free to share this invitation!