Tue 23 Apr 19
Our Albert Sloman Library has been shortlisted for a national award following improvements which have transformed it into a flexible learning space at the heart of the University.
A number of library redevelopment projects have been undertaken over the past few years, following the opening of a major extension in 2015, which was developed in parallel with the Silberrad Student Centre nearby. The aim of that project was to create a new hub for student life and the two buildings jointly won an architects’ design award in 2016.
This latest short-listing in the SCONUL (Society of College National and University Libraries) awards is recognition not so much for design, but for the functionality of the building and takes account of the impact the extension and subsequent smaller projects have had on the student experience.
Cathy Walsh, Director of Library Services, said: “We’re really excited to have been shortlisted for the SCONUL awards this year. It’s particularly important to us as these awards recognise the transformation of the user experience through functional design, something we have been working hard to deliver in the Albert Sloman Library over the past three years.”
The extension provided more IT-rich collaborative and individual study spaces on all five floors as well as an information skills training room, a Special Collections reading room and separate study room for postgraduate students.
The 2016 refurbishment of the ground floor with new self-service kiosks created a more open, free-flowing space with breakout areas and a more relaxed atmosphere with food and drink being allowed in certain area. The the 2017 refurbishment of the Library Reading Room provided more tech enabled individual study spaces, a training room and, more recently, ‘self-service’ lap tops for loan.
Frontline staff have been freed up to provide more help to library users around the building, and students were heavily involved in designing the improvements to make sure the new-look library met their needs. The library is now open 24 hours a day for nine months of the year and a further refurbishment of the second floor (south wing) is planned this summer.
The winners of the award will be announced in November.