This building was named for Harriet (MacNairn) Irving (1899 – 1976), wife of New Brunswick industrialist K.C. Irving.
Renovations/additions: Changes were made to the first floor in 1983 which improved information and reference finding capabilities. In 1988 interior was re-organized to put stacks into better-suited positions. Refurbishment of the H. R. Stewart Exhibition Room was completed Fall 2000. The renovation of the ground floor created the John B. MacNair Learning Commons, which officially opened 25 May 2009, featured a group study rooms, a new service desk, a cafe, and a research and technology help desk.
The Harriet Irving Library is the main library at UNB Fredericton. The Beaverbrook Room on the fourth floor houses many first-edition publications donated by Lord Beaverbrook. The H.R. Stewart Room was named during the official opening of the library in 1967.
The Harriet Irving Library was the site of student demonstrations during the Strax Affair in September 1968. On 15 May 1980 the Nan Vesta Gregg Room was officially opened. During National Archives Week the Winslow Room, part of the Archives & Special Collections Department, was officially opened on 22 October 1984.
Portraits of Bliss Carman and Alden Nowlan were unveiled on 15 May 1968 and 18 March 2009 respectively. Branch Libraries include the Engineering Library, Law Library, Science Library, and UNB Saint John’s library, the Hans W. Klohn Commons.
Harriet Lila (MacNairn) Irving was born on July 12, 1899 in Galloway, Kent County. She met Kenneth Irving in Bouctouche and they were married in 1927. Together they moved to Saint John where they raised their three sons, James, Arthur and John.
Harriet had a great love for her family. She was a kind and caring woman and always showed a special interest in young people. Through her commitment to her community, and for her many contributions, she is remembered for her genuine care for others and generous hospitality to all.
Harriet loved flowers and especially enjoyed gardening at her Mount Pleasant home in Saint John. She loved New Brunswick and was passionate in her support of her home province, its people and its culture.
She and her husband, Kenneth were good friends of Lord Beaverbrook and they had a strong respect for one another. Harriet served as a member of the inaugural Board of Governors of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery when it opened in1959. She always loved visiting this special place and would be very honoured to see this gallery, a gift from James, Arthur and John Irving, named in her honour.