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‘Virtual’ library launched as oil operator urges backing for University vision

The multi-million pound fundraising campaign to create the new University of Aberdeen library today received a boost from oil and gas operator Petro-Canada.

The company has contributed £100,000 to the campaign, and used today's announcement to urge the wider energy industry to get behind this flagship development for the city and region.

The announcement coincides with the launch of a six-minute virtual fly-through of the new building, which will be available worldwide on the University's website. 

The new library, scheduled to open in 2011, will replace the existing Queen Mother Library and Special Libraries and Archives on the King's College campus. It will be much more than a conventional library, and will provide an important resource for the whole community who for the first time will enjoy access to priceless historical collections of books and manuscripts and regular events, exhibitions, readings and recitals.

At a total project cost of £57 million, the new library spearheads a £230 million investment programme by the University to develop its campus infrastructure to match its ambition to be ranked within the world's top one hundred universities.  

The University's contribution towards the biggest capital project in its modern history is being supplemented by donations from individuals, organisations, trusts and foundations worldwide. The support of industries based in northeast Scotland is proving an important component in the further strengthening of partnerships between the University and the local and Scottish business sector. 

John Scrimgeour, Aberdeen-based Regional Manager of Petro-Canada and himself a graduate of the University, said: "It is critical for modern-day business and industry to invest in future generations and inspire them to reach their potential.

"Companies like Petro-Canada represent the long-term future of the North Sea energy industry and we look to work with institutions like the University of Aberdeen to provide the diverse range of talents we will need to sustain that.

"We feel passionate about helping to provide inspiring facilities for students who represent the future of our industry and of others. I would appeal to oil and gas businesses who are not already supporting the campaign to assess the benefits it will bring, and lend whatever backing they can.

"Ultimately it will give Aberdeen an iconic cultural facility and represent a dramatic new addition to the architectural heritage of the city."

Professor C Duncan Rice, Principal and Vice-chancellor of the University said: "We thank Petro-Canada for their generous support of our vision. This builds on our growing partnership, and is a significant boost for our plans for the new library.

"We are determined that the benefits of this exciting new building stretch beyond our staff and students to all who live and work across the north of Scotland. It will add significantly to the cultural strength of our region; reinforce Scotland's reputation for high quality education and research; attract not only students and academics, but also professionals of the quality needed to serve Northern business.  Petro-Canada are making a major contribution to quality of life in Aberdeen." 

University librarian Chris Banks is confident that the experience of the futuristic virtual journey through the features of the new building will inspire supporters worldwide to want to become involved in the project, and that it will give local people an exciting preview of the new library to look forward to when the building opens in 2011.

Chris says:"The fly-through gives us a real opportunity to visualise the scale and beauty of the building both inside and out, and helps us appreciate what a remarkable enhancement it will bring to the area and to the working environment of all who visit it.

"Libraries are undergoing a considerable revolution at present with increasing emphasis on flexible buildings which facilitate everything from quiet individual study to group and seminar work, exhibitions and events - and, at the heart, the facility to protect and make available the collections.

"The new building offers the opportunity to respond to this challenge and, coupled with emerging technologies which can deliver services to the desktop and enhance the onsite visitor experience, will position the University to offer superb support to research and enable it to open up its wonderful historic collections to a much wider audience."

Petro-Canada is a Canadian oil and gas company with international interests. The company's UK operational headquarters in Aberdeen are responsible for its numerous operated and non-operated exploration and production assets in the UK sector of the North Sea. 

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Tuesday 2nd of September 2008

Ref: 233petrocanada
Contact: Shaunagh Kirby

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