The University of Calgary's new library opens this week, as students head back to class.

The six-storey, 250,000-square-foot Taylor Family Digital Library took four years and $200 million to build.

The facility features state-of-the-art labs and screening rooms, and there's lots of natural light and modern furniture that students can move around.

University librarian Tom Hickerson said a lot of thought was put into making it a space where students would enjoy spending time.

"We wanted the transparency of the building to allow people to look out and experience Southern Alberta," he said. "If we move on up to the fourth floor, you can see the mountains from here, and if you move to the back corner you can look right downtown."

The library features a group of video screens designed to broadcast live research data from universities around the world. Most of the walls are moveable, and all of the building's wiring, heating and network connections are under the raiser floor.

"While it's being realized today, it's being built on the assumption that it will change constantly," said Hickerson.

The library's features will make it a leader among facilities across North America, he said.

"Some of them are other places, but hardly any place has all of them."

The first two of six floors — called the learning commons — are open right now. Over the next few months, the rest will follow, including a museum.