21.7 Refurbishing Portsmouth University Library

Greta Friggens considered whether project goals had been met in the new learning space refurbishment at the University of Portsmouth library. The 2014 £4.3 million project aimed to accommodate the changes in the nature of enquiries and in service delivery, and to provide a signature space and a ‘wow’ factor when viewed by university Open Day visitors. All of this was achieved, but there were some library own goals. Students began to use the space as hoped, and the library became busier, however the great increase in occupancies led to pressure on equipment and space. The open space is noisier, so meeting pods excluding outside noise are very popular. Improvements include the merging of the Library and IT service point, the better use of natural light, and the introduction of more PCs and sofas. Other features include a telephone box, a post box for suggestion forms, low ceilings with good lighting, a presentations area, circular Café and a stunning courtyard. Students were consulted on the changes and kept informed on their development, so there were no complaints.

Review and photograph by Sharon Laverick

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