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Important update: Study space in URS building

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Our capital investment programme, 2026: TRANSFORM, is well under way to make further improvements to our campus facilities. As you know, the University Library is undergoing a major transformation – we are investing over £40 million into making it a modern and comfortable place to study, due for completion in 2019.

Study space relocation to the URS Building

In April 2017, much of the study furniture from the Library was relocated to the URS Building, along with the Library Information Desk, Study Advice and Maths Support, the Course Collection, the IT Service Desk and Café Libro.

By moving study space to URS, we can provide a quieter environment for study, enquiries and support. The URS is also less disrupted by the noise or dust of the building project, while still being close enough to borrow and use Library materials. These arrangements will be in place until August 2018, when study space and other facilities are currently planned to move back into the Library.

What’s changing?

Our forecast for student enrolment this year indicates a strong position, with growth of nearly 6% on 2016/17 undergraduate entrant numbers. This demonstrates that the University is holding its own as a popular choice for students, even in a fiercely competitive market.

As planned, we have seen year-on-year rises in the undergraduate intake in recent years. This contributes to our aspiration to be a sustainable institution in the years ahead. But as a result, pressure on teaching and study space is significantly heightened across the campus as we make better use of all our facilities.

A decision has been taken to open the URS large lecture theatre for teaching in the 2017/18 academic year. While this is a positive step for the provision of extra teaching space, fire restrictions mean that the number of term-time study spaces available in the URS building will be reduced from around 800 to around 600 (fire safety rules cap the total number of people allowed in the building at any one time). We will work to re-instate the study spaces during the Christmas and Easter vacations, and in the summer term for the exam period. Café Libro will remain open as usual.

Naturally, we will closely monitor the usage of the URS study spaces and the alternative study spaces provided across our campuses (see below for more information) to ensure all spaces are accessible, available and well-used. Feedback on these spaces is very much welcome as it will help us to plan study space availability in the future.

Alternative study spaces

Despite the changes within URS, we still have over 1,500 study spaces available across our Whiteknights and London Road campuses.

We have provided some helpful resources to make it easier for students to find a suitable space to study. These include;

All of these resources can easily be found through the Library refurbishment project page.

Library project; progress to date

We have made good progress since work started last summer. In summary;

  •  all floors have been prepared for works to be carried out – you will notice that several areas have been sectioned off for work, especially on the Ground and First floors; 
  • work to improve the exterior of the Library is well under way and internal weatherproofing is largely complete;
  • work is underway for the creation of a brand new café; and
  • we are nearing the end of the demolition of a staircase on the right-hand side of the building – a major phase of work that makes room for new, bigger lifts and a replacement staircase.

We are taking measures to reduce the risk of noise wherever possible. But as this is a live construction project, noise will be unavoidable from time to time. As a way of reducing disruption throughout the day, noisy work will cease after 10.00 am during term time.

Full details of the refurbishment, including FAQ, project summary, latest news and study space links, are available on our dedicated project website: reading.ac.uk/library/refurb

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