As part of a wide-ranging £125 million set of redevelopments of learning facilities undertaken by the University of Reading between 2010 and 2020, the library will see it’s most important transformation since the 1980s extension. The 4-year-works plan began at the Whiteknights library last week with the stripping of Ground floor interior, and key structural work.
With an approximated cost of £37 million, a large amount of which is being used to keep the library accessible throughout the works, the redevelopment will see a complete refurb of the Ground and First Floors of the library, which remain largely untouched since the 1980s. A new set of lift shafts will be located South of central pillars, with gender-neutral toilets and new printing areas allocated to every floor. Total capacity will increase by 200-spaces, said to be one of the more disappointing aspects of the re-design, with the number of students attending Reading next year rising by over 400. A new, greatly enlarged café area will also take a large section of the Ground Floor.
Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell has previously stressed how the library has “continued to evolve over its 50-year history and as these excellent new facilities become available to students and staff.” First completed in 1964 under previous Chancellor Lord Bridges, the library saw a large extension in 1980 to increase its holding capacity of literature, now approximately at 1 million books. A further refurb of study spaces on the 2nd to 5th floors took place after 2011, leaving the Ground floor and First floor areas as the most outdated in quality. This refurb looks set to finish off the necessary works, though with an estimated finish date of 2019, many here currently will not be able to utilise it’s fully refurbished facilities.
Infrequent summer updates will be posted by the University, follow this link for more information about the work currently being undertaken and how it may affect you on campus: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/staffportal/news/articles/spsn-689157.aspx