Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) announces the University of Birmingham’s central library as the winner of the 2019 Library Design Award for the Best Medium-Large Library 2016-19 category.
The SCONUL Library Design Awards started in 1973 to recognize and motivate creative designs of buildings and to award those who inspire modern architecture. The awards are based not only on architectural excellence but also on the design’s functionality and innovative nature.
After receiving fifteen submissions, the Executive Director at SCONUL, Ann Rossiter, commends all libraries on their innovative designs: “We’re delighted to recognize these beautiful and inspiring buildings and all those who worked so hard to deliver them. We have seen an inspirational design that has influenced and transformed the relationship between the library and users that has allowed new ways of thinking and working.”
The new library now includes a lounge area next to a cafe, an IT area, particular areas for adaptive technologies, flexible pop-up furniture for peak times, a Research Reserve and a search room next to it, training spaces, and an accessible changing room. With these changes, it has now become a frequent destination for university students and researchers.
Diane Job, Director of Library Services, said: “We are incredibly proud of our library and the positive impact it has made to students and staff at the University of Birmingham. It is a real pleasure to have accepted this award on behalf of the many people involved in making this complex project into a reality.”
This new design showcased an unmatched vision for how a library can aid in achieving the university’s goals. Its transformation showed more support for researchers, a shift to virtual services, and a significant change from print to digital.
Associated Architichtets (AA) is the brilliant company behind the design that opened in 2016, its director; Warren Jukes said: “We are immensely proud to win the SCONUL Large Library Design award for the second time. Its recognition of how our design prepared in close collaboration with stakeholders helped articulate the Universities vision for their library services enabling innovation and service redesign. To be selected for shortlisting is a great honour, but to be picked out from amongst such tough competition, libraries at Kent, Leeds, and Roehampton is astounding!”