MRU Library Blog

Francine May Appointed as Associate Dean, Collections and Digital Services


Meagan Bowler, Dean, University Library announces the appointment of Francine May as Associate Dean, Collections and Digital Services, effective July 1, 2018.

May has held various positions in public and academic libraries for over 15 years and has excelled in leadership positions here at MRU. She has a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities that arise for libraries and has proven herself in times of significant change and high stake transitions.

Experienced in collection development, technology deployment, and library technical services, May enters into the position after serving in an interim role for the last 10 months. During this time she has overseen the launch of a new library management platform, where she worked closely with members from MRU’s Information Technology Services team to implement this platform, which allows the MRU Library to streamline services and access to resources for students and faculty.

Francine May


“Holding a variety of faculty and leadership roles within this Library has allowed me to easily recognize what sets it apart from other post-secondary institutions.” says May. “I’m excited to continue working with both the collections and digital services teams, leading the work of ensuring these crucial resources, technologies, and expertise are integrated into the work of campus and available to our current and prospective students, faculty and staff.”

Dedicated to teaching and learning, May teaches in the Library’s information literacy program and taught for a number of years as a GNED instructor.  She also serves on Mount Royal’s Human Research Ethics board and had served on the executive committee of the Foothills Library Association and the Alberta Association of College Librarians. May’s research focuses on better understanding the role that libraries as physical spaces play in the lives of their users.

She holds a Master in Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University, Master in Science and Technology Studies from Universiteit van Amsterdam and a Bachelor in Physical Geography from the University of Lethbridge.

Innovative Approach to Course Assignment Asks Students to Think Outside the Box

Catherine Pearl not only encourages her students to step away from the classroom to find real world application on everything they learn in her course, she makes it mandatory and incorporates it into their final grade.

Felt markers, stickers, colourful paper and glue sticks could be found on tables in the future Maker Studio last week as Introduction to Social Innovation (SINV 2201) students spent the day completing their final class project—designing a board game based on elements they learned in the accelerated block week course from May 3-10.

The students, who varied from first to third year, were divided into groups where they discussed their favourite traditional board games and how they could incorporate those same elements into specific subject areas they learned from course materials throughout the week. A large portion of the afternoon was spent bringing their plan and design to life. The day ended with a presentation by each group that had them explain the concept of their game and how it relates back to the course content.

Pearl, a professor with the Bissett School of Business, got the idea from a Telus Spark professional development course she took with educators from around the city of Calgary where they were tasked with a similar project. She noticed the level of engagement from participants and decided that a social innovation game would be a great way to challenge her students to think outside the box.

Some of the board games students were in the process of finishing up before deadline.


Do you have a creative spring/summer semester class project you plan to assign to students?  MRU faculty members are encouraged to inquire about spaces and technology in the library that complement academic programming.

Elementary Students Get an Introduction to STEM in the Library


Those who frequent the Mount Royal University Library may have noticed a group of students scamper through our hallways last week that stood out from learners we often spot across campus. They are small in stature and had formal snack breaks scheduled into their days, but they kept busy using our technology to connect with NASA and flexed their coding and design skills with robotics. Don’t let the endless giggles and chatter fool you, this was a scholarly crew.

The grade three students from Sunnyside School spent a week learning new skills outside of their classroom at a STEM Learning Lab and Campus Calgary Open Minds (CCOM) program that goes by the name of Social Enterprise School. The goal is to expose elementary students to real-world, experiential learning.

Due to construction delays at the STEM Learning Lab building—the usual program site— organizers reached out to the MRU Library for an opportunity to introduce the students to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills in our future Maker Studio, which happens to be the ideal location for burgeoning innovators.

“We are counting down the days until the September launch of our permanent Maker Studio, which will have even more equipment, materials and software that support Mount Royal University than the current temporary studio”, says Katharine Barrette, Associate University Librarian, Public Services. “Until the launch, that space is used for various educational programs and as open study and collaboration space, so when Calgary Campus Open Minds approached us in need of a temporary location we were happy to welcome students from Sunnyside School knowing it would facilitate similar pursuits.”

The students were busy with a variety of projects that included coding with Scratch—a visual programming software that allows children to create interactive stories. They also watched On The Way To School, a film that documents the dangerous obstacles four children from Kenya, Morocco, Southern India and Patagonia must overcome to access their classroom and receive an education. Zibusiso (Zee) Mafaiti from STEM Learning Lab was the program facilitator for the week and made a point to allow students to discuss how they felt after watching the film, followed up with design and robotics by recreating various objects they spotted in the feature that resonated with students.

Mafaiti said he was thrilled to learn the future Maker Studio would be the primary location where he would instruct students for the week.

“These are the environments we thrive in. The building is so futuristic and that really excited us,” said Mafaiti who is a scientist and educator.

He added that hearing directly from the children about how much they were enjoying themselves is truly the ultimate reward.

“One said to me, ‘This is the funnest day of my life’, they don’t want to go home at the end of the day,” said Mafaiti with a wide smile as he recalled the conversation.

The 25 Sunnyside students ended the week on a high note with a Skype call from Laura Lucier, a Canadian NASA engineer, in the Visualization Classroom. They learned how robotics and sensors are used to control the Canadarm2—a 17 metre-long robotic arm that has serviced the International Space Station (ISS) since 2001— and the variety of challenges that arise at ISS.

Calgary Campus Open Minds is available to all Calgary students and teachers interested in moving their classroom into the community for an entire week.

Broadcast Students Feature the Maker Studio in Class Project

Three students from the Bachelor of Communication—Broadcast Media Studies program showcased the Maker Studio space for a class project that had them plan, shoot, and edit a short video. The one minute feature illustrates how to book an appointment in the studio and the equipment students, faculty and general community members are able to access.

Joshua Barnett along with classmates Alyssa Plausteiner and Makayla Berze-Rai are the creators of this project, which was assigned to them through their COMM 1405 – Writing for Digital Video course.

Barnett says groups were assigned in February and the subject of the video came down to a small piece of paper they selected from a hat. The biggest challenge was learning to operate the professional cameras they were given access to, Barnett adds, but their effort definitely feels worthwhile now that they can watch the finished piece.

We are also very pleased with the end result and applaud the hard work that went into this project. Take a look and see if you spot equipment you may want to come and try out. You can drop in the Maker Studio Monday-Friday 10am-2pm or schedule an appointment.