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Mary Idema Pew Library to open

Posted on June 21, 2013

The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons at Grand Valley is set to open Monday, June 24.

The new facility is named after Mary Idema Pew, who was a trailblazer with a lifelong passion for education. Her late husband, Robert C. Pew, one of Grand Valley’s founders and an early Board of Trustees member, generously provided the lead gift that was the catalyst for this $65 million project. Their daughter, Kate Pew Wolters, currently serves on Grand Valley’s Board of Trustees. More than 1,400 donors, including community members, corporations, foundations, alumni, faculty, staff, and students and their families, helped to raise more than $20 million for the library.

The Zumberge Library was built in the 1960s for 5,000 students; today Grand Valley serves nearly 25,000 students. The Mary Idema Pew Library has triple the seating capacity, space for 150,000 books on open shelves and 600,000 library items in an automated retrieval system, and places for quiet study as well as a wide variety of venues for group collaboration.  

The Mary Idema Pew Library is a prototype for 21st century learning, with an innovative and student-focused design, including:

•    Knowledge Marketplace provides students access to peer consultants trained in research, technology, writing and presentation development
•    IT Help Desk, two library learning labs, two quiet reading rooms
•    A Multipurpose Room with seating for 88 at tables, a café with a capacity for nearly 100 people, and an exhibition space

The design and construction team selected for this project includes SHW Group, architects; FTC&H, civil engineering; and Pioneer Construction. The building is seeking the highest level LEED certification, having been designed and constructed to use half the energy of a similar building using traditional methods.

View photos, a video and more details at

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