‘Prepare, prepare, prepare’

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking how great it is to see so many students, academics and other customers in the Library following the start of the academic year. As I pass people studying and researching at PCs and study desks, I can’t help but notice the wide range of topics they are exploring, from education to politics, business to law. It’s amazing to think what future innovations might come about as a result of the huge amount of learning going on in this building.


This week a number of Library staff met with the Project Team and architects to look in closer detail at wayfinding and signage. The Redevelopment will effectively start with a blank canvas and this provides us with a huge opportunity to improve how people navigate the building and  easily find what they are looking for (whether that be a book, an available PC or the toilets). We are working with the architects to identify exactly what our approach to wayfinding and signage should be and what the outcome for our users will be. We were challenged by the architects with the following question: “What do you want to say and how do you want to say it?” Considering the future building only exists as a plan, I and other Library colleagues will be holding workshops over the coming weeks to address this.

The Laidlaw Library
The Laidlaw Library

We are making plans for the Redevelopment Champions to visit other university libraries that have recently opened or have undergone similar transformations. This is a great opportunity for our staff to look at other examples, share ideas and consider what has worked well for others. We plan to visit the recently opened Laidlaw Library at The University of Leeds on 30 October 2015.

An interesting discussion was held between Sandra Bracegirdle (Head of Collection Management), Chris Ibbott (Capital Project Manager) and students from the Alliance MBS MBA group who we are working with. We looked in more detail at decant logistics in the run up to the first phase of construction. Although we are still a little way off from confirming our specific approach and engaging with people about this, it’s very useful to start pencilling ideas in advance. It’s clear that some aspects of the preparation for the start of construction will be more complex than others and the Phasing Group, led by Sandra, is starting to outline some of this detail. As they say; “prepare, prepare, prepare!”

On Saturday, 10 October, all aviation enthusiasts may be interested to know that the last surviving Vulcan Bomber will fly over Manchester as part of its farewell tour. Information about the flight times and further details can be found on the Vulcan to the Sky website. Our University Chancellor Lemn Sissay is the keynote speaker at the Race Equality in Higher Education event taking place on 19 October 2015 in the Simon Building. I expect that the free tickets will go quickly, so if you’re able to attend then reserve your space now . Finally the Gifts for the Gods: Animal Mummies Revealed exhibition starts on Thursday, 8 October at the Manchester Museum. Entry to the exhibition is free and it lasts until Sunday, 17 April 2016. Whilst you’re in the Museum, have a visit to The Study!

Have a great weekend,

Mike Kelly, Library Space Project Manager

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