This summer, Level 1 of the Library was extensively refurbished, creating expanded group and silent study areas, two additional rooms for disabled and dyslexic students, and more than 80 extra study spaces overall.
Overall, the refurbishment has proved very popular with our users. Over 70% think it’s a big improvement.
However, not all of our users are happy. In particular, some students have asked: where have all the silent study spaces gone?
The refurbishment has radically changed the layout of the Library. Whereas before, Levels 3 and 4 were silent and the group study area was located at the far end of Level 1, the new layout reverses this.
The group study area is the first thing you see when you emerge from the lift or stairs on Level 1.
It continues through the arches to the Malet Street side of the building.
But where has the silent study area gone?
The new location of the group study area means that the upper floors cannot always be totally silent, since at busy times some noise will travel upstairs. Levels 2, 3 and 4 are now designated for ‘individual study,’ although in practice they are usually extremely quiet.
The new silent study area is actually on Level 1 and begins through the double doors which lead off the group study area on the Malet Street side.
If you walk down this corridor, passing the Accessibility Centre and doors leading to the toilets and the Phone Zone, you will find Room 107, which has computers for silent working.
Then, on the left through the glass link, is another silent room with computers.
Finally, at the far end of Level 1, you will find the main new silent area.
There are more seats upstairs on the Mezzanine.
We thought deeply about zoning when we planned the refurbishment and worked with the Students’ Union and our Student-Library Partnership to ensure it reflected their preference for a range different study environments. Overall, we think that the new layout is more logical, with a busy and bustling area at the start of Level 1 and a secluded and silent one at the back. However, we realise that, for returning students in particular, it may take a little time to get used to.
There are actually more silent study spaces in the refurbished Library than there were before: you just have to know where to look!