One of the strongest – and most welcome – themes of the new University Strategy is the importance of partnership working with students in the co-creation of the Warwick Education experience. Or, to paraphrase the Education Strategy – and put it in simpler language – ‘our priority is to listen to the student voice’.
Warwick has always listened and responded to student needs and eagle-eyed readers will have recently seen the phrase ‘let’s keep the dialogue going’ and a capital D on its side (representing ‘Dialogue’ and a mouth – clever stuff!) on posters and digital screens around campus advertising surveys.
The National Student Survey – the biggest of these questionnaires – enables undergraduates to raise concerns about their teaching and learning experience. PTES and PRES offer the same opportunity to postgraduates. The biggest issue raised about the Library is around study space. There are some lovely comments about how much students like the Library spaces but more comments about how the Library is ‘too small’ and that study space across campus is at a premium, especially in Term 3.
Over the years the Library has responded to such comments with the development of new and different study environments – the Learning Grids in University House, Rootes Grid, Leamington Grid, the PG Hub and Research Exchange, as well as on-going remodelling of the main Library. When students lobbied for a 24 x 7 Library we worked with the University to make this a reality.
But more work is needed. We all know the Library is ‘too small’ but we need more granularity too. What sort of space do you want? Where? And when?
This is why we are working with Nomad to get your views to inform not only longer term plans (a new Library is in the University’s Capital Plan for 6-10 years) but also to improve things for you over the next 2-3 years.
So, what would help you? We’re listening…
Head of Academic Services.
Our team has been working with people to design new learning spaces for many years now and being a group of focused, dedicated and slightly obsessed perfectionist types we have amassed a huge library (excuse the pun) of other people’s work that we admire. Nathan, one of our senior designers regularly reviews new projects from around the globe to see what we can learn from others, and he has put together countless presentations for our clients on the topic.
Our reference pool stretches outside of education as we think it is important to look at the places where students might be living, working and playing in the future. We wanted to share some of these fantastic projects with you, but there were far too many, so we selected our top ten libraries. This includes,
- Almere Public Library – MVSA Architects 2010
A cross between a library and a bookshop
- Brest Mediatheque Des Capucins Canal – Architecture 2017
A bold and dramatic use of space creating lots of spaces to watch and be seen.
- Gifu Media Cosmos ‘Minna No Mori’- Toyo Ito 2015
Intimate, comfortable, organic and simple
- Ryerson University Student Learning Centre -Snøhetta 2015
Vast, dramatic and filled with choices of space
- Seattle Central Library – OMA/LMN – 2004
One of the first new libraries and still one of the best. The massive lobby places the focus on people first.
- Sendai Mediatheque- Toyo Ito 2000
An attempt to use new notions of ‘media’ as an architectural concept Sendai is full of interesting places to meet others and work.
- Tama Art Library – Toyo Ito 2007
Elegant organic structure creates a feeling of the outside and inside flowing into one another with beautiful views and furniture that such as long winding glass tables and organic benches that are like streams and islands.
- Tianjin Binhai Library – MVRDV 2017
Shaped like a giant eyeball and with an interior formed from one continuous shelf the angles and curves are meant to stimulate different uses of the space, such as reading, walking, meeting and discussing.
- Victoria University Wellington Campus Hub – Architectus 2013
The project shifts boundaries and creates an overlap between learning, social and recreational functions in a multi-functioning, flexible environment.
- Yale University Beinecke Rare Books Library – SOM 1963
Traditional, solemn, respectful, innovative.
If you want to see more pictures of these projects click on the page link here or on the image above. We would love to hear what you think of these projects and if you have other suggestions too. Leave your comments below or tweet at us –
Thanks to everyone who took part in interviews! Unbelievably we managed to get 90 of you to participate and we have to say that the quality of feedback has been great.
Over the next few weeks we will continue to load up stories and their will also be some polls and other activities for you to take part in so please keep coming back.
In our opening post, we touched on the many different forms the future library might take and what types of services they might offer. Although it is almost certain that books will remain a large part of a libraries content the digitisation of journals and other stock has created space which in turn opens up opportunities for new services to be adopted by libraries.
If new technology means that we are moving from merely consuming to interacting and ultimately producing information, then it seems logical that the library will become one of the critical places where new ideas are born. Maker Spaces and FabLabs are a popular option for libraries looking to expand their services.
Maker Spaces and Fab Labs are technology-rich places where people gather to co-create, share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network and build. Typically users can access a variety of specialist hardware and software that can assist with anything from animation to drone piloting, and 3D printing facilities are usually a central feature. Exhibitions, science fairs, workshops and tutorials are all embraced by Maker Spaces and enrich the library identity further.
Other design craft activities are also often supported with technology such as vinyl cutting or specialist sewing machines. Practice and performance spaces for actors and musicians and ever food preparation spaces are also becoming a popular addition to libraries who will host performances in the evening and run cookery workshops.
These are just some of the ideas that new libraries are considering, but we really want to know what you would like to see included in your future library. Leave your comments below or tweet your ideas to @WarwickLibScape
We’ve had a great time at the University so far, having been based in the Oculus Building on Tuesday and at the Level One foyer in the Library yesterday. Over the past two days, we’ve talked to over 60 students about the Library, leading to lots of interesting conversations where you’ve discussed what you like, what you don’t like, and what you would like to change.
On the whole, you all seem pleased with the range of spaces, services and functions in the library. There are very few things you would like to lose, but one of most necessary changes you’ve talked about is the need for more desk space, especially during the third term. While one of the most interesting features you’ve raised to improve your experience of the library is a relaxation room where you can unwind, with places to nap and spend time neither working or socialising.
In case anyone was expecting us at the Piazza today, after a couple of days of unseasonably hot weather, we’re going to stay in the library as rain is forecast for later on in the afternoon.
If you’ve got any ideas you’d like to share with us, make your way to the Library entrance next to the help desk. We are excited to hear your most creative ideas and will be here until about 5pm.
If you read our earlier story, Future Libraries, you will know that we are investigating what form the future UoW Library might take – and if it might exist at all as one consolidated space.
Traditionally the University library is seen as the academic heart of the institution and as a result, is often located in geographical centre of campus, as is the case with UoW Library – but is this the right model or location?
In our earlier post, we mentioned that some question the need for a centralised building and propose the notion of a decentralised service situated in smaller sites or even pop up stalls spread across the campus/campuses.
Perhaps the key to the libraries scale and location lies in the services adjacent to it. In new schools, there is a movement towards bringing together local community services such as GP & dental practices, council offices, sports centres etc. to share space creating a busy, vibrant heart for the community. Can University libraries learn from this model and share space with complimentary services around campus?
More radical theorists ask if a library need be no more than an App where you order up resources and organise workshops with librarians in coffee shops or co-working spaces. While at the other end of the spectrum, some Universities are focusing on building iconic architecture or ‘starchitecture’ creating inspiring places that fill students and staff with a sense of pride.
These are just some of the options that others are considering. We want to know what your vision for the UoW library would be. Do you think the notion of a decentralised library with pop up services located across the campus works? Would you prefer a one-stop shop model combining a range of complimentary services and if so, which services do you think would be complimentary? Is an App right for Warwick or do you long for an iconic building? Let us know what you think, and if you have other ideas, you might have for the Future Library at UoW.
Our researchers Chris and Scott will be on site between the 9th and the 11th of October, and they will be asking you for your thoughts and ideas for your Future library. If you have the time, please stop by and have a chat with them, they are very friendly, and you won’t be able to miss them as they will be located in our fabulous inflatable igloo at the following locations.
- 9th October – Oculus Building opposite Café
- 10th October – Library, First Floor Welcome Point
- 11th October – The Piazza
If you can’t spare the time, then don’t worry we will be uploading a number of stories and polls over the coming weeks and you can add your voice to the project there. We are keen to get as many of your views as possible so keep visiting the blog for opportunities and other news.
Looking forward to hearing your views,