This summer the Library is undergoing yet another makeover. Around 180 new and varied study spaces will be created, mainly on Floor 01. This has been made possible as over two miles of open-access rolling stack shelving will be introduced on Floor 02 (just alongside the Archives). Once the dust has settled and the stock re-shuffled, there’ll be more light, more colour and an improved layout on Floor 01. The Archives also stands to re-gain over 250 metres of shelving in its climate-controlled store.
Keeping up with ever increasing student numbers and changing methods of study is an ongoing challenge for a Library which was built almost 50 years ago. The Plan was for a University which would contain three thousand students in ten years with the possibility of expansion to six thousand thereafter. In 2017 we now have over 16,000 students, all requiring to be connected to a device or screen of some sort or other.
Each of the six floors has had its turn for re-design, a splash of colour, more comfortable seating, with better access to computers and technical facilities. We’ve introduced individual and group study rooms and even a small cinema. In short, we have grown and we have improved, more than once or twice. Let’s take a look back.
Architects Denys Lasdun and Partners publish a Development Plan for the University.
13 February 1968
‘Topping out’ of the Library building by Frank Thistlethwaite (Vice-Chancellor).
25 October 1968
Official opening by Lord Frank (Chancellor) as Library Phase I is completed.
Completion of Library Phase II (Architects Feilden & Mawson). The original block doubles in size to form a near square and extends southwards. The two halves join to form one seamless building and it comes as a surprise that it is by two different architects but with Denys Lasdun’s design.
How we looked in the sixties and seventies
9 April 2001
Opening of the LaRC (Learning and Resources Centre), Floor 02.
Floor 0 refurbishment. The Reception and Helpdesks are amalgamated and positioned near the entrance.
8 March 2006
Official opening of the extension and Archives. The ‘extension’ on the east side transforms the rather square looking building into a dog’s leg. It offers smooth access between the old and new parts on all floors; this part of the Library is light and airy with extensive glazing and solar shading. Its cedar and stone cladding offers a break from the severe grey concrete.
The new Archives reading rooms, office and climate-controlled store (Floor 02) are opened by Rose Tremain (who later is appointed Chancellor). [Architects: Shepheard Epstein Hunter; construction by Kier Eastern].
27 October 2010
Opening of refurbished Floor 0 and the Silent Reading Room on Floor 1.
Opening of the Silent Reading Room on Floor 02.
Opening of large Postgraduate Study Rooms on Floors 2 and 3.
June – September 2017
Refurbishment of Floors 01 and 02.
Details on the Library Space Project and the changes taking place in summer 2017.