Wayfinding signage in Main Library

A Not So Straightforward Topic

Last week I worked with staff from the Library’s Customer Services, Stock Management and Strategic Marketing and Communications teams to look in closer detail at the wayfinding and signage that will need to be delivered throughout the duration of the Main Library Redevelopment. The Redevelopment gives us a fantastic opportunity to start with a blank canvas and apply effective methodology and protocol to how we advise and direct people to navigate the Library. This includes the use of fixed signs, feature walls, graphics and digital screens. The team involved with this work have been fantastic, providing some great ideas and being open to challenging previous approaches used within the Library.


Colin O’Neil (Senior Faculty Operations Officer) and I met with Katerina Konsta from BDP to discuss the technical aspects of lighting control that will be required during the Redevelopment. Although this may sound like a fairly straightforward topic (surely all that’s needed is a switch providing the option for ‘on’ and ‘off’?), it’s actually pretty complicated.

Factors to consider include:

  • Daylight adjustment
  • Manual and automatic operation
  • Security lighting
  • Motion and light sensors
  • Lighting levels for different areas (eg. shelving, staff workspaces, PC clusters, stairwells, etc)

Colin, Katerina and I walked through the plans, discussed potential issues (e.g. the effect of dense shrubbery outside the building) and conveyed our wish that lighting should be used intelligently to accentuate architectural and aesthetic features, particularly in the historic sections.

During the week we gave the Manchester Engineering Campus Development Project Team a tour around the trial furniture space in the Thesis Room (Joule Library). It was great to link up with another project team and have the opportunity to discuss a range of ideas on how to make workspaces the best they can be.

On Friday, Katy Wolfenden (Head of Teaching, Learning and Students), Dominic Broadhurst (Academic Engagement Manager), Chris Ibbott (Capital Projects Manager) and I attended the final presentation by the Alliance Manchester Business School MBA student team who have been working with us on a risk project around the Main Library Redevelopment since September.

The project that the students were asked to work on is known as The Not-for-Profit Project and it forms part of the University’s Social Responsibility agenda. The students were given the challenge of analysing how we could minimise the impact of the Redevelopment and the relocation of services for the Library. They gave a fantastic presentation which included a range of incredibly insightful recommendations, options and other findings that could still have a genuine impact on the project.

Alliance MBS event
Alliance MBS event

On Friday evening, Simon Bains (Head of Research Services and Deputy Librarian) and I attended a celebratory evening meal for The Not-for-Profit Project at the Imperial War Museum North. We were joined by staff from the MBS programme, other Not-for-Profit Project clients and the Alliance MBS MBA students who have worked with a range of organisations over the past year. It was a truly fantastic evening. We had the Imperial War Museum to ourselves (which was an incredibly unique opportunity) and even entered via a red carpet.

The Manchester Christmas Markets are back once again (they look bigger than ever!) and they’ll be taking place at several locations across the city with the main market in front of the Manchester Town Hall. There is a wonderful exhibition at The Whitworth on the use of textiles as an art medium called Art_Textiles and although it isn’t a large display, there are some fantastic pieces on show.

Thanks for reading,

Mike Kelly (Library Space Project Manager).

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