Nearing a Key Milestone

This is a fantastic time of the year to be on campus, seeing graduates celebrating their successes and hard work. It really puts into perspective how our roles at The University of Manchester have such a significant part to play in the development and progress of so many people. It is great to have met even more colleagues from across the Library but, as I have mentioned to most people, I apologise if I can’t remember names, get confused with roles or forget that I have met them already!

I have certainly settled into the role of Library Space Project Manager and we are nearing a key milestone in the project as we approach the end of Stage 3 (Developed Design). Although many people won’t have been directly involved with the work that’s been done over the past few months, representatives from every team in the Library and colleagues from wider areas of the University have been working incredibly hard to make sure the current design plans produced by the architects reflect our needs as much as possible.

An update was given to the Estates Masterplan Steering Group on project progress, communications and preparation for phasing. The information was well received and generated a lot of useful questions and challenges about some of the key aspects of the works. We have been developing plans for the Champions group and have started to refine areas including marketing, the internal project structure (in terms of the work being driven by the Library team, not just the formal, contracted project team), the IT infrastructure, digital signage and other audio/visual aspects of the development.

Precinct Library
Precinct Library

On Wednesday I had a walk around a number of sites including the Precinct Library, Stopford Library and the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. My aim was to get a better understanding of what was working well in relation to the changing study habits of our students; be it group rooms, relaxed learning spaces or furniture and connectivity (Wi-Fi, power sockets etc.). I have also been interested in looking at how many personal devices people are using when working; commonly it is two (PC and phone) but often you have people using a tablet as well. A fantastic book to help understand these changing trends and the role of university libraries is University Libraries and Space in the Digital World (Graham Mathews and Graham Walton, 2013).

At the Library Design Meeting we refined lots of aspects of the plans presented by the architects and continued to discuss the importance of ensuring the design reflected our users’ needs, both as we understand them now as well as how they may develop in five to ten years’ time. The Phasing Group also started to consolidate the team’s ideas for the decant of work spaces and stock to prepare for the construction work across each phase of the redevelopment.

I will be enjoying the Manchester International Festival this week as I am attending the Richter / Pärt performance at the Whitworth and also visiting the Ed Atkins exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. The pick of the bunch, however, must be front row seats to see the Tale of Mr Tumble at the Opera House – my daughter will be thrilled but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as much as her!

Mike Kelly – Library Space Project Manager

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