Library Design- On Different Budgets:)

By Julian Wood, Library Assistant, University of Bristol Library Services.

I was lucky recently to visit The McClay Library (Queens University, Belfast) supported by AULIC. The library won the 2014 Sconul Library Design Award. Three of us from Bristol University (me, Dan Gooding and Angela Joyce) were shown around the library, and met a ‘leading light’ of library design, Karen Latimer. Karen sits on the LIBER working group on library design, and helped create this excellent checklist that anyone can use to assess their own library or learning space. She was also involved in setting up the ‘Designing Libraries’ initiative.


With Karen Latimer in the McClay Library

We will be presenting a poster at the AULIC conference in June, and a number of groups will be sharing their findings at this event. (I will feed back here about this so watch this space…). This year’s AULIC Summer Conference will be held on Monday 20th June 2016 at University of Bath Chancellor’s Building and will focus on the theme of Library and Learning Spaces.

Of course, very few of us are designing a new building, or even a refurb. My visit to Belfast showed me that library design covers many aspects of interior design – how we use our spaces. In this time of financial stringency, there is still much we can do on a small budget or no budget. An example of this is the ‘Wellbeing Nook’ that has been developed at Exeter Health Library.

Pam Geldenhuys, Acting Library Manager of Exeter Health Library (Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust), reports:

“Health Education South gave us some funds towards the end of our financial year (31 March 2016) which meant we could have a small refresh so we decided to create a ‘Wellbeing Nook’ for all staff providing mood busting books, some comfortable chairs and wool with needles and crochet hooks (Twiddlemuffs dementia project at the RD&E hospital: ) as well as some adult colouring-in books with pencil crayons.


We also replaced our bay ends so we can display our leaflets and notices more prominently and are in the process of removing the top shelves so all will be the height as displayed in the photo. This will also allow a lot more light in.”




Photos courtesy of Carol Giles, Exeter Health Library

We’d love to hear from any of you regarding how you’ve improved the design of your library (or part of your library), especially if you’ve done it on a small budget. Post in the comments below or e-mail us on .

Interesting links:

And, for fun, these interesting little libraries are ‘completely free’:): Little Free Libraries






One thought on “Library Design- On Different Budgets:)

  1. Pingback: AULIC Conference on Library Design 22/6/16 | CILIP South West Member Network

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