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The refurbishment of 2 floors of the Northampton Square Library was completed for the start of the 2009/2010 academic year. It has created new collaborative learning spaces for students encompassing state of the art technology for group study, project and presentation work. The area has full wireless access and also includes 100 fixed PCs. In addition there is a teaching room for information literacy training and an assistive technology centre with software and equipment for those with special needs.

Plans for the refurbishment were informed by a survey of staff and students, and interviews with representatives from all areas of the student body. The number of study spaces available in the Library has increased by 200. An increase in use of the area was immediately noticeable and headcounts have increased by 30% with feedback being resoundingly positive.

We hope to be able to refurbish the remaining 3 floors over the next two years and will be focussing on silent study with the creation of dedicated areas for postgraduates and researchers.

The second major space development project was at the Cyril Kleinwort Learning Resource Centre, Cass Business School, during Summer 2010. Here available library space was redesigned to accommodate student demand for a silent study area. Additional space was created by rationalising hard copy journal collections and erecting glass walls within the Centre to provide a new 'silent study zone'. A 'quiet study zone' was then defined in the surrounding area. In response to student feedback more study spaces were also provided as part of the initiative.

Developing available space to more effectively address the diverse needs of our customers was also the driver behind the development of the Thomson Reuters area on Level 2 of the Cass building. Here the library service worked closely with Thomson Reuters and internal service providers at Cass to provide a state of the art group working area. In addition to providing access to key financial databases and study tables, the area houses collaborative desks where students can work in groups using large LCD screens with IT and AV facilities.

Liz Harris
Head of Library and IT Public Services, City University