The Library has been thinking about redeveloping the Main Library for a while, but it was only when we watched the development of the Learning Commons that thoughts became reality.
With the exception of refurbishment of Blue Ground Floor in 2009, the Main Library hasn’t had any other work done since the Blue extension was built in 1981, so investment is long overdue. Early in 2012 reps from Library staff teams got together to start thinking about what would bring most benefit for students, researchers and Library staff. They weren’t short of ideas.
The group sourced a whole range of information on current and future proof Library design, the types of spaces our students and researchers could benefit from and the extra facilities we might want to provide to the University community and other visitors. Current students were also consulted and their feedback shaped a number of themes to inform our thinking: Research, Teaching & Learning, Study Space, Stock & Store, Special Collections, Technology, Catering & Social Space, Exhibition Space and Building Management.
Primarily, the redevelopment needs to integrate staff and stock from Collection Management and Joule Library when North Campus closes, and also tackle some of the long term maintenance issues in the Main Library, such as heating, lighting and ventilation. Yet, by observing the positive impact of the Learning Commons, and considering the themes identified in our research, the redevelopment was seen as an opportunity to look ahead and shape a Main Library for the future.
Now funding has been awarded by the University as part of the Campus Masterplan, and Ryder Architecture has been appointed, ideas and plans have taken shape and the project is coming to life. It’s going to be an exciting journey.