Study space for 200,000 extra students will come out of the Pounds 45 million handed out for university and college libraries, the Higher Education Funding Council for England said this week.
The money is for new buildings, extensions and conversion of other accommodation for library use at 60 institutions.
It follows an HEFCE report last year showing that while student numbers had risen about 70 per cent from 1986 to 1994, reader space in college libraries had grown by only a few per cent.
Bids were invited last year. The highest awards have gone to the University of Hertfordshire (Pounds 4,185,000), Nottingham Trent University (Pounds 2,870,000) and Teesside University (Pounds 2,725,000).
Cardiff University's libraries are to receive Pounds 668,000 in additional funding from the Welsh funding council.
Some Pounds 371,000 will be spent on extending the law library, with a further Pounds 172,000 allocated for purchasing extra copies of texts and periodicals.
The university's Salisbury Library, a 50,000-strong collection of historical and current Welsh and Celtic documents, is getting Pounds 125,000 to transfer the catalogue on to Libertas, the computerised library catalogue system.
Libertas links a network of 50 academic libraries in Britain and is connected to the Internet, so that users worldwide will be able to access the Salisbury database.
The collection, which features books, prints and manuscripts includes rare 16th-century material, such as Geoffrey of Monmouth's Latin version of the History of the Kings of Britain and an 1818 edition in Welsh of Culpepper's British Herbal.
Much of the historical material was acquired in 1886 following the bankruptcy of Victorian book collector and politician E. R. G. Salisbury. It cost Pounds 1,100.