UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Library Project

Archives & Rare Books Pod

On 18th December 2009 the Rockefeller Medical Library closed the doors on the old-style library at no.23. The library was closed for seven months, during which time the space was completely refurbished and redesigned. Our services were delivered from a temporary location in CAMLIS and, in early June 2010, the door of the newly renamed Queen Square Library was reopened.

The Library, Museum and Archive refurbishment was generously supported by the Brain Research Trust and the National Brain Appeal.

Please come & visit us to see the transformation & click here to see pictures. For information about our location & opening times, visit the library guide.

An inaugural exhibition was opened within the first few weeks, covering the founding and early years of the National Hospital.

Why we needed to modernise
In the last ten years there had been very significant changes to libraries in general, and in the services provided by the Library. There also continue to be dramatic changes in the use and delivery of information, and in information and communication technologies, and a tremendous increase in the research, clinical and teaching activities taking place at Queen Square.

The Library needed to fully embrace the changes and technical advances mentioned above in order to continue to support this increase in activity, to continue to expand and develop services covering all aspects of information and knowledge and to obtain best value from the resources available and the physical Library space. It is also vital to fully exploit the internationally important collections held on site. The specialist services and resources provided by the Library do not exist anywhere else in the world, but the current layout, storage facilities and the funds required to digitise parts of the collection mean that these resources are not being fully utilised or used to their best advantage.

As well as unique holdings, the Library and information service at Queen Square is unique in that its space and facilities are freely available to the Institute, Hospital, wider UCL, UCLH, and to research and clinical communities internationally. Space of this nature is in very short supply at Queen Square as are facilities for quiet and group study and hands on IT-training.

By reducing the volume of non-unique print materials and improving access to electronic resources, better use can be made of existing space. This project will also improve access to the electronic record of current research, clinical and evidence-based information. It will also be possible to provide better services and make better use of this space, whilst developing access to storage and preservation of the unique local collections.

The benefits of the project

The re-modelling of existing space in the Library benefits the Institute, the Hospital and the wider UCL & UCLH by providing much-needed facilities that are either in very short supply or absent at Queen Square. This includes an IT training suite bookable by all IoN and NHNN users. This can be used to introduce on-site training of transferable skills for research students, as well as access for students on placement to IT services. This also allows increased access to research, the evidence base, and online clinical information for all NHNN staff.

The provision, for the first time, of a home for the archive and museum collections of the Institute and hospital benefits all at Queen Square as well as the wider neuroscience and neurology communities. Even with the current lack of information about the full extent of the collections, 161 items from the rare books collection and 61 case note volumes have been consulted in the last 18 months. Use has been local and international, with visitors from as far afield as Australia and California. These unique collections were hidden, unexplored and at risk. The existing catalogued Library rare books collection is only available to individuals able to visit the library, and is at risk of loss or damage through use.

Another key benefit is the provision of a physical and virtual show case area to display the evidence of the impact of the activities that have taken place and are taking place at Queen Square, from the very beginnings to the present day, crossing sectoral, professional, and historical boundaries.

How the project supports clinical, educational and research activity

The new layout and facilities in the Library provide much improved on site access to research and clinical information for all. This is particularly beneficial to Hospital staff and to students on placement, who are currently under resourced. The new digitised teaching collections will benefit all taught students at Queen Square and the wider UCL. The digitised archives, case notes and other rare collections will also be available to the international research and clinical communities, becoming a Queen Square Portal on the Internet. The new study and training facilities will be of tremendous benefit to all staff at Queen Square providing purpose built areas in which to work and study and supporting all educational, CPD and research activities.

The physical space and walk-in access to online resources in the library is currently used most by students and Hospital staff, and the virtual resources most by IoN research staff and students. Improving both of these, as well as providing new training facilities for the research students and museum and archive facilities will benefit all at Queen Square. Providing a physical and virtual show case will have the wider benefit of supporting the publicity and promotion of these activities, as well as helping to further promote the Queen Square brand internationally.

Renaming of the Archives pod and fifth anniversary - June 2015

On Monday 22nd June 2015, we were joined by members of Louise Shepherd's family, and many colleagues from across Queen Square and UCL Libraries past and present, to mark the renaming of the Archives “pod” as the Louise Shepherd Room and the fifth anniversary of the re-opening of the Library.

The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of a new commemorative plaque on the Archives “pod” in Louise’s memory.

Selected photos of the Anniversary event