The Library Strategy for 2011-14 introduces this new area of Space Management as a stand-alone Key Performance Area, which reflects the importance of improving the physical estate across all 17 Library Services sites. During the course of the year 2010-11, Library Services held a dialogue with UCL Estates, the team of architects and our community of users (both students and academic staff) to shape the vision for the future of libraries in the UCL Master Plan published in November 2011.
Starting in summer 2011, UCL Library Services set up a Working Group to plan for the new Cruciform Hub, which will be one of the first major “hubs” on the Bloomsbury campus, a centre for medical students to study, discover resources and share experiences with fellow students and UCL academic and support staff.
Another highlight of the summer 2011 was the move of UCL Special Collections to the National Archives at Kew. The collections remain available for readers and, in the Master Plan, Special Collections will return to Bloomsbury in a refurbished facility which will allow UCL staff, students and visitors greater access to the collections, with increased scope for use in taught courses, public outreach and showcase exhibition programmes. For those wishing to get a preview of UCL Special Collections, there are two touchscreens in the Main Library which offer a glimpse into our exhibitions and outreach programme. Launched in April 2011, they offer students and visitors a window into the realm of UCL Special Collections.
I’m the Medical and Postgraduate Students Officer in UCL Union. As a member of the Working Group on the Cruciform Hub, along with Library Services, UCL Estates and academic staff, I’m able to feed in ideas for the new hub and library. The Cruciform library space is due to be improved in summer 2013, with more group study areas and better quiet study spaces. I think that it’s important UCL engages with students, because ultimately we’re the ones who will be using the library. I also helped raise awareness of the Cruciform survey, so that users of the library had a say in what they want from the new facilities. One exciting idea is to offer space for “lunch-and-listen” sessions, where students in advanced years can give talks to fellow students, or postgraduate students might be able to attend a talk during their lunchtime break. The space will be flexible, for instance by being able to create more quiet study spaces during exam revision periods.