SCONUL Library Design Award

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Presentation delivered during a visit by SCONUL Library Design Awards panel.
University of York
10th July 2013

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  • Photo © John Houlihan
  • SCONUL Library Design Award

    1. 1. SCONUL Design Award University of York 10th July 2013
    2. 2. “What I want is a library which is alive, and which is seen to be alive” Harry Fairhurst, Founding University Librarian, University of York
    3. 3. Summary • University Context • History, drivers, opportunities • Vision • Project delivery • Measurement & outcomes • Panel initial questions & requirements
    4. 4. • Founded 1963; 50th this year • 1st UK under 50; UK top 15; RAE 8th; World 103rd; Russell Group; WUN • 15,265 students • >30 departments in humanities, social sciences, science • Campus growth – Heslington East • City and Region • White Rose partnership The University
    5. 5. York distinctiveness • University Plan – Excellence – Internationalisation – Inclusivity – Sustainability • Teaching and research in balance, mutual and strong • A Campus based community and Collegiate • Collaborative and consensual
    6. 6. • > 1m items • >120 staff • Archives extensive & unique • Developing digital library expertise • SCONUL, RLUK, & international groups • Now part of a broader Information Directorate The University Library
    7. 7. Borthwick & Burton • Borthwick Institute for Archives founded in 1952 as a forerunner of the University • Raymond Burton Library for Humanities Research opened in 2003 • Archives moves from its city centre location to an extension to the Raymond Burton Library in 2005 and incorporated as Library & Archives
    8. 8. Branch Libraries & beyond • York Minster: the oldest and largest Cathedral Library in the country – Operated under a unique partnership between the Dean & Chapter and the University of York • King’s Manor Library – Both Grade One listed locations • Associations with – The Railway Museum – Yorkshire Country House partnership – York Museums Trust
    9. 9. JB Morrell Library • 1960's Library building • Designed in collaboration with University's first Librarian, Harry Fairhurst – few barriers between stock and users – large open areas that could be altered as necessary – teaching accommodation – group studies – cafe • One major extension to North of building: 1986- 1987
    10. 10. 1967
    11. 11. Initial drivers & opportunities • Asbestos removal from JBM Library • Move of adjacent Computer Science academic department to Heslington East, releasing a further refurbishment opportunity • Joined up approach to Information provision as expressed in the 2008 Information Strategy
    12. 12. Pilot innovation?
    13. 13. Specific drivers • Building integrity • Upgrade to lighting, heating and ventilation essential • Tired facilities • Improved zoning required • Need for bookable group & individual study space • Pressure on collection space • Increased emphasis on self service • Additional IT including use of personal devices
    14. 14. Methods • Consultation with users and staff • Data on space utilisation & future needs • Pedagogic change, inc PBL • Review of survey and comment data • International survey of best practice • Advice from Estates and contractors • Formal strategic project framework and governance
    15. 15. LibQUAL+ results 2008
    16. 16. The Vision
    17. 17. Vision components 28 Nov 2008 • A research Library environment for deep study including archives • A working Library for students and staff – Better group and individual space • A ‘Commons’ type building – Multimedia provision (focused on Music & TFTV) – Interactive space (and with a range of staff) – Technology rich varieties of space (including PGRs)
    18. 18. Design principles • Respecting the integrity of the original design of the JB Morrell Library • Common palette of finishes • Buildings distinguished by use of colour in furniture • Power throughout • Wireless throughout • Zoning • Wide range of study facilities • Longevity of furniture solutions • Design shifted as the Computer Science building was added to the plans
    19. 19. Project detail • J B Morrell tender won by Shepherd Construction Ltd in Summer 2009 o Building work January 2010 until 24 February 2012 o Move of 95% of Library staff to portakabins August 2010 • Customer Services & Archives staff remained in building o Construction work took place over 6 phases o Four floors; ground, first, second and third (also included roof refurbishment) o Library stayed open throughout o Work took place on one floor/part of a floor at a time o Overnight working when necessary o Large scale book moves throughout to accommodate the closing/re-opening of floors • Computer Science building tender won by Shepherd Construction Ltd in Summer 2010 o Building work October 2010 until 16 April 2011 o Three floors; ground, first and second (also included roof refurbishment) o Shorter timescale as contractor had full control of building
    20. 20. Issues • Maintaining a fully operational Library throughout the work • Noise (from building work and the sub-contractors themselves) • Loss of study space • General communication between Library staff as on split sites • Customer and Contractor expectations • Move of some lesser used stock to external closed storage • Renovating a building which had sparse records about infrastructure
    21. 21. Opportunities realised • Fairhurst building gave us the chance to offer innovative study spaces not seen before at York, and separated from the Morrell • Opened up and improved networks with other departments in the University • Library Cafe (additional £500k) • Enabled 24/7 opening • External cleaning of facade • Putting the Library back on the map, and at the heart (“3rd place”)
    22. 22. Measurement
    23. 23. LibQUAL+ 2009-2010 2009 2010
    24. 24. LibQUAL+ 2011-2012 2011 2012
    25. 25. Results 2012: Overall
    26. 26. Library Survey Comments “There is hardly room for improvement after the refurbishment. The extra space and staff are ideally suited to a wide range of needs.” Female UG
    27. 27. Library Survey Comments “The library is a haven for study for me. If I need to focus on my work away from any distractions then the library is where I go.” Male UG
    28. 28. Library Survey Comments “…Please put CS [Computer Science] texts on a lower floor, replace with a subject that has a more physically fit cohort!” Male UG Note: Computer Science books are currently housed on the 3rd Floor
    29. 29. Library As Place vs Consortium Partners
    30. 30. International comparison study • Joint initiative with the U of Wyoming to: – Draw on the sabbatical of a senior staff member – Replicate the study across both institutions – Focus on value and/or impact around • New building use • Help and advice • Discovery • Mobile use • Information literacy
    31. 31. “Love the new Harry Fairhurst Building” “Despite building disruption, staff have always done a good job and library information has improved over the past couple of years” “…I really like the new Harry Fairhurst Building…a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere…thank you!”
    32. 32. Transformation? “Love the environment in the new building, especially some places really … feel comfortable “ LibQUAL+ Comment 2011
    33. 33. Competing values in learning? “The new Harry Fairhurst building is great but I really don't think sofas and beanbags are conducive to effective studying! It's fun to see people lying sprawled all over the floor though.” LibQUAL+ Comment 2011
    34. 34. Other benefits • Green – Building design & return to original green ventilation – Thin clients and green IT – York Print Plus – £20m+ against £50m+ new build • Process – Shelving & flexible loans – 24/7 – LEAN – Enquiries convergence – Information convergence • Social – Social capital through enhanced collaboration – Joined up resource approach – Donor investment
    35. 35. Brand reinforcement • Follow through in the building of web and print identities • Revelation of the hidden special and unique – Room names links – Room name signs • Values externalisation – Customer focus/scholarship/respect
    36. 36. Lessons learnt • Signage review after experience • Good idea to leave (white) space • Good idea to trust students • Good idea to front load detailed planning • Good idea to go back for more, even when you are told this is not the York approach • Bad idea to compromise on vision or quality • Design and build does not always work
    37. 37. The outcome? “It really makes me want to learn” Student Comment 2011
    38. 38. “Just a quick note to say how awesome the facilities are here. I have been to 3 Universities in 2 different countries and this is definitely the best. The resources, study spaces, facilities and staff are all excellent. The library alone is enough of a reason to consider studying here. Thank you very much” Postgraduate student, University of York

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