Bath starts 24-hour library

April 7, 1995

Work has started on a building project at the University of Bath which will provide students with a library that never closes, writes Tim Greenhalgh.

The Student Learning Centre will add an extra 200 computer terminals and more than double the number of seats in the library. It would add a further 700 desks.

The project will extend the present library at a total cost of more than Pounds 5million. the present library cannot fully meet demand although it has 560 seats and is open from 9 am until midnight.

Howard Nicholson, the university librarian, said: "Students now need instant access to books, computers and software without the constraints of the normal working day."

Philip Carr, director of the university's computing service, added: "Students need the computer-based learning packages increasingly available to support the traditional lecture, tutorial and laboratory class."

Pressure on books and study space is strong, as is demand for computer terminals. The university intake has increased by 20 per cent and its numbers of postgraduates have also sharply increased.

Around 4,000 people use the library each day and there is usually a long queue outside the door when the library.

The plan is for contractors to carry out lighter works until the end of June and begin heavy work at the beginning of July.

It is intended that this work will be completed in early October, avoiding both the summer term of exams and the beginning of the new session.

Lighter work on the Student Learning Centre and refurbishment will continue until Easter 1996 with the centre finished by the following year.

The extension would form a major feature at the centre of the campus's Parade both during daylight hours and when it is lit during the night.

The University has chosen architects, Alec French & Partners to design and implement the project.

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