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The Lancaster University Library will soon undergo a 2600 square metre extension of the main library building, which is planned to be opened in 2021. The expansion is in part a response to a number of surveys, in which students asked for more study space and facilities to take a break to be added to the existing library space. Capacity equivalent to around three and a half tennis courts will be added to each floor; construction will occur on Library Avenue (opposite the Lancaster Environment Centre) along the existing library wall.
Proposed facilities include more computer access, four additional toilets on each floor, and a ramp to improve accessibility between the existing building and the extension. A space for exhibitions has also been proposed, and another popular suggestion is a living wall which would reduce energy costs and improve air quality. The new space will also aim to provide more areas for students to relax and take a break from studying as well as group study rooms and silent study areas. Plans are also in place to provide facilities such as hot water to increase student comfort, especially for those who are living off campus.
Lancaster’s library currently contains 1,300 workspaces to facilitate over 13,000 students, some of which are only available to post-grad students. However, an exact number of new workspaces the extension will add is not yet known. One of the most common complaints was that there is not enough space currently being provided in the library to meet demands; the library receives over 40,000 visitors each week and many students have difficulties finding a space to work. The extension aims to alleviate this problem and provide a wider variety of workspaces to suit a variety of student needs.
Parts of the current library building are from the original library building built in 1967, which was extended in 1997 and then underwent an £8.6 million refurbishment into the building we know today. Over £500 million has been invested into the Lancaster University campus since 2003, with £200 million more in spending planned over the next few years.
Plans for the library will be heavily influenced by student opinion through an online poll and a voting system which has been set up near to the entrance of the library, where proposed floor plans are also available for viewing. Please get in touch with the library team if you have any suggestions on how to make the most out of the new library space.