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Science Library Building Developments

The ground floor and mezzanine areas of the Science Library are in need of improvement. The entrance hall is cramped and crowded. Those who know the building head for the lifts, the stacks or the Issue Desk. Those who don't are perplexed. When they do find the Issue Desk, it is just as crowded as the entrance hall. If they head for the periodicals stacks, they find low ceilings making access daunting for anyone over average height. No one feels the urge to linger over the current periodicals display, and there are no seats at all in the stacks for those who wish to work on sequences of journals.
Illustration showing the new design of the Science Library Ground floor, click on image for larger picture
Illustration showing the new design of the Science Library Ground floor.
Click on image for larger picture.

Around 1.7 million has now been made available to refurbish the area. The architects had the difficult task of balancing three major requirements: the need to improve physical access and services to readers; the need to retain older journals on the central sites; and the need to improve computing provision for students. The drawing overleaf shows how access will be improved by increasing the size of the entrance hall and the space at the Issue Desk, and by demolishing the mezzanine floor. Substantial revisions to the original plans have been made as a result of the consultation process with staff and students, so that 75% of the journals published between 1970 and 1990 will continue to be available on the central sites. Current parts of journals will be moved up to reading rooms where they will be shelved alongside journals published after 1990. Reader seats have been created near the journals, with a designated photocopying area and an expanded enquiry desk.

Where Library Services subscribe to electronic versions of journals, the paper copies will be housed in store in Wickford. Readers can request delivery of the journals from Wickford, to arrive within 24 hours, and the Library is setting up a pilot project to provide scanned copies of articles direct from Wickford.

To improve student computing, a new cluster area will be established on the ground floor and on a newly-created part-mezzanine, bringing together machines currently located elsewhere in the building plus a further 80 machines. Cluster users will be able to take advantage of the Science Library's long opening hours.

There is bound to be some disruption over the summer, though the Library will do everything it can to minimise the effects of the building works. The Science Library itself will be open as usual. During the summer term the paper versions of journals held electronically will move from the reading rooms to Wickford, making space to move the current parts of journals to the upper floors.

In preparation for building work to begin on 11 June, the entire ground floor needs to be completely cleared. Photocopiers will be moved to the third floor. All the journals from the ground floor will move temporarily to Wickford, and the Science Issue Desk will move to the second floor cluster room area. The fourth floor cluster room will remain in use until the Autumn. The Issue Desk will be completed in time for the beginning of the Autumn term; work on the rest of the ground floor is scheduled to be finished in early November. The 1970-1990 journals selected to remain on site will return as soon as the space to receive them is ready.

Content by Janet Percival


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