Mary Idema Pew Library

Mary Idema Pew Library at night

The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons is designed to be the intellectual heart of the Allendale Campus. It will exceed the expectations of anyone who thinks of a library solely as a home for printed books and whispered words. In this new library, students will find a range of environments, from noisy to quiet, in which they can work on an assignment alone or in a group; receive coaching from a peer consultant in research, writing, or presenting; practice a new skill or play with a new idea; learn something unexpectedly; engage easily with each other in spaces engineered to accommodate the sounds of natural conversation; or curl up by the fireplace in a contemplative space with the best views on campus. Students will do all of these things in a building that was crafted with their needs in mind—the right lighting, the right furniture, the right resources, the right services, the right spaces, and the right amount of flexibility. "Going to the library" will take on a whole new meaning as the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons becomes an integral part of every student's experience at Grand Valley.

Learn how Grand Valley State University Libraries partnered with Steelcase to transform the library.

Mary Idema Pew Spaces

A Range of Environments

With more than 150,000 square feet of space, the Mary Idema Pew Library is more than double the size of the former James H. Zumberge Library.

Image of students studying in the Mary Idema Pew Library

Alone or Together

The east side of the library is quiet and contemplative, while the west wing invites conversation and offers collaborative workspaces to support the way students learn today and to prepare them for tomorrow’s team-oriented work environments.

Quiet or Loud

A sound system projects programmed sound into collaboration zones so that students feel comfortable speaking in normal tones of voice. In quiet study areas, the system delivers white noise to mask sound and reduce distractions.

Indoor or Outdoor

The library offers several outdoor spaces, including an amphitheater on the north side of the building, patio seating next to the café, and a reading garden on the third floor. There is also a variety of unique and enticing indoor environments.

Outdoor shot of Mary Idema Pew study spaces

Flexible Spaces

In the Mary Idema Pew Library, each element in the space—29 types of seating, a variety of tables and equipment, mobile and floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, and objects that stimulate creativity—has been chosen to help students make the space their own.

Great Views

Rising up alongside the Cook Carillon Clock Tower, the Mary Idema Pew Library offers remarkable views of campus, the ravines, and the surrounding area.


The library showcases GVSU’s commitment to sustainable progress, and was awarded LEED Platinum, the highest LEED Certification. The building is expected to use less than 50% of the energy normally required of a building this size.

Photograph of Mary Idema Pew Study Space

Group Study

Study rooms accommodate groups of 1 to 3, and are reservable online. Students can also create a room on-the-fly in any of the collaborative areas.

Learning Labs

The library has two rooms for library instruction: a traditional computer lab as well as a lab designed for high-tech collaboration. Both labs are open to students when not reserved for formal instruction.

Event Spaces

On the Atrium level, the library has the ability to host educational speakers and larger events in the Multipurpose Room. Contact Event Services to reserve the space.

Mary Idema Pew Library Services

The library is a learning laboratory where students can collaborate, get help with research or writing assignments, practice public speaking, or develop digital projects—skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

Knowledge Market at GVSU

Knowledge Market

The Knowledge Market has highly-trained fellow students who can help you improve your skills. Our Peer Consultants work one-on-one or with small groups to help students develop research strategies, writing skills, and polish presentations.

Service Desk

Need help? The library service desk on the first floor can get you started on your research, help you find a book, or deliver one you've already ordered.

IT Help Desk

Located on the Atrium level, the IT Help desk loans laptops and provides hardware and software support for current GVSU students, faculty, and staff.

Mary Idema Pew Library Technologies

Emerging Technologies

In addition to providing the digital tools necessary for today’s students, the library increases awareness and understanding of important topics and emerging technologies through interactive displays and hands-on sessions.

Learning Alcove

On the first floor, the Learning Alcove is a mini-theater that shows a range of intellectual, inspirational, and provocative pieces to engage students in serendipitous moments of conversation and learning.

Technology Showcase

Across from the IT Help desk, the Atomic Object Technology Showcase gives students a hands-on chance to learn and play with the latest technologies.

Students using computers at the Mary Idema Pew Library


With both Windows and Macintosh computers throughout the building, students have the research tools they need at their fingertips.

Digital Displays

Students can connect laptops or mobile devices to large digital displays in group study rooms and throughout collaborative areas.


With wireless printing, students can retrieve their documents from any printer in the library, or create working prototypes, architectural models, and other three dimensional objects using 3-D printers.

Mary Idema Pew Library Collections

Designed for the Way You Work

In designing the Mary Idema Pew Library, we took into account the need for browsable materials with a desire for study and collaboration space. Books in the humanities, as well as current and high use books in the sciences and social sciences, are housed on the second, third, and fourth floors, while the rest of the library's print collections are housed in compact storage ready for instant access.

Browsable Collections

Photo of books at the Mary Idema Pew Library

The library’s open stacks can hold 150,000 books, allowing for browsing and serendipitous discovery. The books are surrounded by window seats, carrels, and cozy chairs to encourage students to linger.


Photo of the ASRS at Mary Idema Pew Library

The rest of the collection is housed in an Automated Storage and Retrieval System that can hold up to 600,000 books, while taking up a fraction of the space conventional shelving would require. Books may be requested on the library’s website and delivered to patrons in minutes at the service desk.

Mary Idema Pew Library Vision and History

Mary Idema Pew Library Rendering

The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons was planned to be the intellectual heart of the Allendale campus. The road to the new building began with a vision, and over years and the generosity of over 1,400 donors, was transformed into a reality.

Learn More about the Vision and History


To schedule a tour, contact [email protected].

Directions to the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons

Map showing the Mary Idema Pew Library

The Mary Idema Pew Library is located at the intersection of Campus Drive and West Campus Drive near the Cook Carillon Tower on the Allendale Campus

LIB, 1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401
(616) 331-3500

Directions to the Allendale Campus


Map of Allendale Campus

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Page last modified August 28, 2023