AULIC Conference on Library Design 22/6/16


Photo credit: Emilio Nanni via / CC BY-ND

The AULIC 2016 Conference was a really enjoyable and interesting day. See details on the AULIC Website here for details of the day (and my notes on the speakers below).

AULIC has a new website/blog here

A part of the day was the display of posters from library staff including the visit I made to the McClay Library, Belfast, see Library Design- On Different Budgets:)

See details and all the posters on the AULIC blog

Here are my notes from the AULIC Conference (see here for programme). Apologies to the speakers for any mistakes.

Kate Robinson, University Librarian, University of Bath

  • mentioned Bath Architecture Students imagining what the library could look like in the future (see below)

Alison Baud, Director of Library & Learning Services at Bath Spa University

  • There are lots of new buildings @BathSpa
  • Many of the learning spaces are outside the library
  • Libraries work in collaboration with others, including with students
  • Partnerships are key

Alexi Marmot, AMA Alexi Marmot Associates

  • Professor, UCL
  • Also teaches in Business school
  • ‘Modelling Complex Learning Spaces’
  • AMA did Commons interior last year
  • Ali Smith, T Public Library
  • National Library of Greece by AMA, opens this week
  • Phased refurbishment, Adsetts Library, Sheffield Hallam

Trends affecting libraries

  • Students in higher education: 1900 o.5mn, 2000, 100mn, 2015 180mn
  • Massification of HE, gross tertiary enrolment ratio: 10pc ’72, ’12 32pc
  • Total enrolments: China, India, US, Brasil, UK 7th


  • We can’t see what the impacts are yet
  • Digital immigrants vs natives
  • MOOCs from 2011-2016; 8-10pc complete courses


  • Bologna, Padova- what can we learn from them
  • Trend: Much more social learning spaces
  • Italy still has high teacher:student ratios
  • There is much less social learning spaces on the Continent


  • Use of books as raw material for art
  • San Diego, books stapled to the wall
  • 130mn book titles worldwide
  • Stuttgart, the walls are books
  • Book Fairs are flourishing
  • Mobile libraries still growing


  • 4k public libraries in the UK
  • c.100 academic ones
  • 1mn globally
  • BUT 50pc of world population has no internet

Learning modes (3)

  • Reflection
  • Doing
  • In t company of others
  • Survey: Hrs/wk spent studying: 3.2h in library, home 16
  • How can we help with studying at home?
  • We can now check how many students are in libraries vs. how many are online off-campus

Learning space attributes

  • Sound
  • Nourishment
  • Group size
  • Media
  • Duration
  • Accessibility and subject matter
  • Location
  • Provider

Aberdeen is a landmark in the city:

  • Ground floor open to the public
  • Using graphics at the entrance

Rolex Learning Center / SANAA, Lausanne

  • Alumni welcome
  • Sleeping welcome
  • UTS, Sydney: remember  outside space


  • Can do so much with it, cheaply
  • Signage too
  • 7 diff types of learning spaces from only using the furniture
  • Pods

Vitruvian triad:

  • Commodity
  • Firmness
  • Delight

Best Practice

  • Consult, communicate
  • POEs
  • Articulate needs
  • Attention to accessories
  • Change management
  • Adaptability for the future

Kate Robinson (University of Bath)
Where shall I go today? Understanding and shaping the distribution of learning spaces

  • on the SCONUL and CILIP boards


  • 1 library, v high NSS scores, no2 for libraries in UK
  • one thinks they know what’s best for t Library Service…need to capture this

Independent Learning Spaces

Library, Bath:

  • 2015: a perfect storm was brewing
  • 8k projected number of students, now there are 16k students
  • Problems: toilets; ventilation; 1971 building; 50yrs old
  • On Green Belt; UNESCO site
  • Can’t build up, can’t build down
  • Competing voices for space
  • Big move to digital (20pc extra spending)
  • Physical: make do and mend as a result
  • Extra learning spaces are often ad-hoc; not managed; not discoverable
  • Fees> students working hard when in the library
  • New buildings look more tired when surrounded by new buildings
  • In the 90%s in NSS for about 5 yrs
  • Now down to 85pc (saw it coming)
  • Listed in the ‘Top 10 Concerns 15/16’ by the SU: Using phrase ‘Lobby to increase space to work in the library’ (a good catch all)
  • Need to communicate our message, as so many competing voices on campus

What do we know?

  • Learning & Teaching Committee, 1 of most impt committees, w ProVC
  • Kate reports direct to VC
  • Did a fast sprint, 3wks
  • Achieved buy-in through a very high level project board, inc Estates
  • Went out ‘on safari’, mapped the campus
  • Also did desk-based research, looking at the best in international practice
  • Drawing it together to show others


  • Library still very impt
  • Other spaces valuable, but students still want a library

What do we need to know?

  • SLs speak to user groups
  • Marketing & Comms asked to speak to students
  • Spaces used differently for diff subjects
  • Eg science more based around PCs
  • Disappointment that library full
  • Frustration that other spaces weren’t there and welcoming
  • Vertical Studio project, ‘Imagine a Library’- sense of fun, play

How does it fit together?

  • Golden Ratio ie beautiful proportion
  • How do balance the hub and spoke?


  • Invest in new resources
  • Rationalise independent learning spaces
  • Dual purpose space eg lecture theatres
  • SU involvement
  • ILEP Board
  • ULTQC mandate
  • Lots of informal groups and boards

Back home

  • £100k, added c80 seats
  • New toilets, bigger outflow pipe
  • LED lighting> can plug in more
  • Roof mended

Manvers Street built as investment> being used right now

10 West- Graduate Commons, soft launch

David Stacey & Hilary Cooksley (University of Bath)
Introduction to poster session: Bath Architecture Students ‘Vertical Studio’ project & AULIC visits to new and refurbished libraries

Vertical Studio

  • Cash prize
  • 18-22jan ‘16
  • Vertical as all 3 yr groups
  • 3d makes it easier

Jason Briddon & Amanda Barson (UWE)
Transforming the student learning environment: our journey towards creating a 21st century library on the UWE Frenchay Campus

Jason Briddon

  • ‘Transforming t student learning environment: Creating a 21st century library
  • 40yr old library
  • Distributed environments
  • Q16, NSS UWE upper quartile
  • ‘Alliance’ comparator group
  • Quality of environment
  • Bolland not as good as other libraries ss see
  • 2007 project strategy ‘Visualizing the Library of the Future’
  • Went to Uni Academic Board
  • 2012 expansion, timing great- masterplanning started in 2008
  • 25yr strategy to consolidate onto single site
  • 2010 external expertise, DEGW worked for 6-9 months: focus groups, observations, etc
  • > 4 scenarios
  • Student Academic Hub
  • Business and Law faculty was prioritised
  • Bower Ashton not closing: library completely re-furbished, 3.5mn
  • 1mn Frenchay as St Matts closed, summer14
  • 50k books, study space not down
  • Glenside will stay
  • Summer15, back onto strategy

Amanda Barson, UWE Refurbishment

  • Level4, v popular
  • 200 extra spaces, via losing print stock (1/3 of current)
  • Update heating and cooling
  • So need to phase it over 2 years
  • £3mn, £1mn year1
  • Benchmarking, Alliance Group- O Brookes, N Trent
  • Design: In-house w Facilities team, current students @UWE
  • Concept slides, break up rectangular spaces
  • 2nd year architecture students
  • Observational work, level2
  • Endorsement of suggestions
  • Accessibility feedback v useful
  • Phased project: TEAL room, based on spec of new classrooms in Business & Law
  • Future area, breaks t space up, wood as extra texture
  • Buddy Study area

Phase 2

  • Climate Control, biggest cost, throughout floor
  • 18 bookable rooms on floor
  • Slowed up has certain advantages

Anne Horn, The University of Sheffield

  • Has set 2x strategic visions in the past
  • Joined mar15, moved from AUS
  • Appeal for students important
  • ‘Why are the learning spaces in libraries?’ positioning piece

The Diamond, 6 stories, HUGE

  • 81mn
  • The vision: Designed for Impact
  • Big projects take 5yrs
  • Inspirational for Uni and the city
  • Lots of greening spaces
  • Campus makeover
  • Large atrium draws t eye up
  • No straight pillars
  • Active learning for Engineering studentsInspiration drove the design, not t services
  • Aim: best engineering teaching space in the UK
  • Low density spaces, 100pc occupancy with plenty of space left
  • 7 Info Commons
  • Creation of moonscapes
  • 400 permanent new jobs @theUni
  • 20mn annual contrib to local economy
  • Bring together different strands of engineering into labs: robotics, jet propulsion
  • 5k m2, >5k ss
  • Media editing booths, recording studios
  • 360 0 view
  • OZ is v multiple sites
  • Ss really like to sit among t books
  • Information Commons preferred place to meet
  • Visual connectedness throughout t building
  • Incubator site for new services
  • 6mnths 750k, 370k Engineering
  • Online Learning, Collaboration, in OZ and US
  • Incidental furniture
  • Demands come from t curriculum
  • All OZ working as well as studying
  • Coming to t campus= coming to t library

PM Chaired by Amanda Barson:

Bristol University- Beacon House

  • Strategic Procedures, Rebecca, Prince 2 practitioner
  • Phase2 immediate 300 sspaces> 420


  • Strategic Drivers
  • 2000, spaces looking v tired
  • Lack of capital investment
  • Libraries stuck in time
  • Academics loved t small libraries
  • Designers produced Design Guide
  • Wanted a space where feel inspired
  • High quality and stylish, and comfortable
  • Rebecca, Strategic Projects Office

Marika- Study Centres

  • 7 days a week, 362 days a tear
  • Direct phone access to Security and LS
  • Front-line customer service model: baseline of knowledge;
  • Whiteboards used a lot
  • Look at access controlled data
  • Customer journey mapping/ ethnographic

Ben Hickman (Alterline)
Ethnographic observation in libraries: driving customer experience improvements


  • Work across different campuses: see similarities and differences
  • Students’ Lives: more varied; serious and outcome-focused
  • ‘experiential brand’ generation, vs. Google, Amazon, Costa
  • Time poor, cash poor
  • Increasingly complicated lives
  • ‘I want it now’
  • Clunky public services

Uni of Glasgow

  • Key findings
  • Objectives: Understand user behaviour, experiences
  • >Shape strategy
  • Wanted someone independent to come in, to learn but also to influence other stakeholders (evidence base)
  • Ethnography; from cultural anthrology; what they do not what they say
  • Three stages: Observe; Goals and Journeys; Capture Examples (inc photo & video)
  • A Modern Environment: horrible annexe, no interest
  • Info on PC availability needs to be accurate
  • Green/amber/red
  • Ss like books
  • Some libraries encourage browsing
  • “Library staff are like ghosts”
  • Eg Apple iStore
  • Big Lollipop, ‘Can I help you?’
  • Food: there for 10 hours; cash-poor;

So what?

  • Modernise t annex?
  • Ben Hickman
  • Observation all day long
  • Marika, how do you avoid being intrusive?
  • Inform staff
  • Sign on door if photographing
  • Journey stuff v easy as one point of entry (Open Day proving a lot more difficult)
  • Only one person has wanted Ben to delete footage
  • If commercial, you can pick t market segments
  • As Uni, have to work with the student body you’re given
  • All wear a uniform
  • ‘can i leave this bag’?


  • What do we add to the spaces as Library Services?
  • Furniture is very important
  • IT needs to be embedded in the library
  • Management Schools can do things stylishly, as they have money: eg diff types of seating
  • Domestic living room

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s