Important update: Study space in URS Building

Students outside the URS Building

The University of Reading’s capital investment programme, 2026: TRANSFORM, is well under way to improve further our campus facilities. The University Library is undergoing a major transformation – we are investing over £40 million into making it a modern and comfortable place to study, with the very best facilities and learning resources. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Study space relocation to the URS Building

In April 2017, much of the study furniture from the Library was relocated to the URS Building. Several key services from the Library Building have also been relocated to the URS Building – the Library Information Desk, Study Advice and Maths Support, the Course Collection, the IT Service Desk and Café Libro. The Library Building remains open for borrowing books.

By moving study space and other services to URS, we can provide a quieter environment for study, enquiries and support. It also means less disruption through noise or dust from the building project, with URS still being close enough to borrow and use Library materials.

It is expected that these arrangements will be in place until August 2018, when study space and other facilities are currently planned to move back into the Library.

What’s changing?

Closed pink double doors to large lecture theatreThe URS lecture theatres have been out of use since the relocation to allow us to accommodate the maximum permitted number of study spaces in this building (there’s a restriction on the total number of people allowed in the building at any one time for fire safety). The University has recently taken the decision to re-open the URS large lecture theatre for teaching in the 2017/18 academic year.

Due to the fire safety restrictions in place, this will mean that the number of term-time study spaces available in the URS building will be reduced from around 800 to around 600. This will be disappointing news for some, as the total number of study spaces available to students during term-time will necessarily be reduced. However, please be assured that the University explored every possible alternative option before reaching this decision, but feel it is important that it offers students the best available teaching space for their classes.

We will work to re-instate the study spaces during the Christmas and Easter vacations, and in the summer term for the exam period.

Café Libro will remain open as usual.

Naturally, we will closely monitor the usage of the URS study spaces and the alternative study spaces provided across our campuses (see below for more information) to ensure all spaces are accessible, available and well-used. Feedback from students on these spaces is very much welcome as it will help us to plan study space availability in the future.

Alternative study spaces

Taking into account the reduction of study spaces in the URS Building, there are still over 1,500 study spaces available across the Whiteknights and London Road campuses.

We have provided some helpful resources to make it easier to find a suitable space to study. These include;

All of these resources can easily be found through the Library Refurbishment Project page. Do bookmark this page on your laptop or mobile to find it easily later.

We are also working with RUSU to create a new study space map which we will share with you as soon as it is ready.

Do not forget too that rooms located in teaching buildings will be subject to departmental use – and as always, please treat all spaces with respect.

Library project; progress to date

 We have made good progress since work started last summer. In summary;

  • all floors have been prepared for works to be carried out – you will notice that several areas have been sectioned off for work, especially on the Ground and 1st Floors;
  • work to improve the exterior of the Library is well under way and internal weatherproofing is largely complete;
  • work is underway for the creation of a brand new café; and
  • we are nearing the end of the demolition of a staircase on the south side of the building – a major phase of work that makes room for new, bigger lifts and a replacement staircase.

We are, of course, taking measures to reduce the risk of noise wherever possible, but please do remember that this is a live construction project – noise will be unavoidable from time to time. As a way of reducing disruption throughout the day, noisy work will cease after 10:00 during term time.

Stay up-to-date

The latest project news is shared through the Library blog – keep checking for updates. Major news will also be shared through the Me@Reading student portal and more.

We also share regular updates through our social media channels – we’re on:

Facebook: /theuniversityofreading and /universityofreadinglibrary

Twitter: @UniofReading, @UniRdg_Student and @UniRdg_Library

Instagram: uniofreading and unirdg_library

Please contact library@reading.ac.uk in the first instance if you have any queries.

Full details of the refurbishment, including FAQ, project summary, latest news and study space links, are available on our dedicated Library Refurbishment Project website.

University of Reading Communications Team

Using Library books around refurb work

Here’s an update on accessing Library resources within the Library Building, even though many other areas are closed for Library Refurbishment Project construction work.

Using Library resources

Tall man holds small book, small lady holds large book outside UoR Library

Large size arts & hums books have moved up to our 4th Floor; normal sized items down to the 2nd Floor.

The 2nd and 4th Floors of the Library are open, containing all your books. This includes arts and humanities material, relocated from the now-closed 3rd Floor: normal size material went to the 2nd Floor; larger size and Teaching Practice Collection items to the 4th Floor. If you need any help finding anything, just ask Library staff at 2nd or 4th Floor Information Desks.

A few unique print journals are retained on the 4th Floor, but as most print journals are unavailable until after refurbishment, we encourage you to use our online journals or request an inter-library loan.

Man uses Library Self-Service Point machines of right, computers on left.Although much of the Ground Floor is now out-of bounds, we created a small area at the bottom of the main stairs for you to borrow, return or renew your loans at Self-Service Points or use PCs and catalogues. Just ask at the Help Point by the entrance if you need assistance. Ground Floor toilets are also still available.

Library construction work

White cloth over doors to 3rd Floor from stairsYou may have heard construction work in progress from areas closed-off for your safety (Ground Floor, 1st, 3rd and 5th Floors). Our contractors are demolishing internal walls in advance of refurbishing our 1st and Ground Floors; removing staircase 2 before installing new accessible lifts; and preparing to install new heating, ventilation and toilets on our 3rd Floor; besides installing new windows. Find out more about our plans on our Library Refurbishment Project webpage or visit our URS Building display (2nd Floor landing by Café Libro) for images of future development and previously refurbished floors, which will be reinstated.

URS Building facilities

Lego construction figures arranged around book and large single black Lego brick

Remember! Library Building = books + builders; URS (Lego) Building = study space + services.

Remember to visit the URS Building for Library services and study space, next door at the other end of the orange brick road, further away from potential construction noise. This is also where you will find Cafe Libro, Course Collection material and can collect ‘holds’.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Library study space now located in URS Building

blue sofas and tables and chairs

One of the new group study rooms relocated to the URS Building.

Much of the study furniture from the Library has relocated to the URS Building. It now provides students with a contemporary and versatile space to work and study – including around 800 spaces (145 computers), work areas for collaborative, quiet and silent study, and several key facilities from the Library Building.

Including URS, students can now access over 1,700 study spaces across our Whiteknights and London Road campuses.

URS Building key features

  • Library Information Desk: For general and registration enquiries, located on the Ground Floor.
  • Study space: A variety of study areas – group, quiet and silent – are available on the Ground and 2nd Floors.
  • Study Advice and Maths Support: Get help with study skills and maths on the Ground Floor.
  • Course Collection: Find key texts for your modules in the Course Collection on the Ground Floor.  Holds are also available to collect here.
  • IT Service Desk and facilities: PCs and printing facilities are available on the Ground Floor.  If you need help, just ask at the IT Service Desk there.
  • Café Libro: The Library’s popular café is located on the 2nd Floor of the URS Building.
  • Opening Hours: The URS Building will adopt the 24 hour opening during term (except closing 21:00 Saturday to 08:30 Sunday) as is currently the case in the Library.

Take a look at the map and floor directory to see what’s been moved where.

Preparation of space

Furniture being moved form outside the Library, passing hoardings

Vitra staff moved and reassembled our modern study furniture in URS

The relocation was carried out over the Easter vacation – during this time, several new improvements were made to the URS Building in order to make its study environment as welcoming as possible:

  • Rooms have been configured to meet a wide range of study needs – you’ll find individual study booths, group areas, quiet study spaces and more.
  • We have improved several of the building’s existing features in order to make it a better place to study – new lights have been fitted to make studying easier, and south-facing windows on the Second Floor have been tinted to deflect heat.
  • We have balanced creating a maximum number of spaces with ensuring that students can study in comfort and safety. Health & Safety guidelines recommend that URS holds a maximum capacity of 800 students.
  • Our job as a University is to provide students with comfortable spaces to study, and we believe that URS will prove to be a popular home to Library study space until summer 2018, when facilities will move back into the Library Building.

Why has the space moved?

Relocating study space and facilities from one to building to another posed several benefits.

Moving study space from the Library into URS will provide a quieter environment for study while still being close enough to borrow and use materials. It also means we can carry out more work inside the Library than previously planned, and so will complete the refurbishment around six months earlier.

With URS in such close proximity to the Library, you won’t have far to take the materials you’ve just borrowed from the original Library building for studying.

Library Building key features

The Library remains open for use – inside you will still find:

  • Printed materials: All printed material (other than Course Collection) will remain inside the Library for borrowing or reference.
  • Library staff: Although Library staff are now based in URS, they will still offer a Help Point by the Library entrance and Information Desks on the 2nd and 4th Floors.
  • Opening Hours: The Library Building will open 09:00-22:00 seven days per week during term time. URS will be open 24/6+ during term time (closed Saturday nights).

Construction work will continue in the Library Building whilst we strive to complete the project as soon as possible, so you may experience considerable noise whilst using this building.

Alternative study space across campus

Including URS, there are approximately 1,700 spaces to study on campus (subject to teaching timetabling and departmental use).

Keep in touch

While we have taken great care to ensure that URS meets your needs, we appreciate that there may be more to improve over the coming weeks. Please pass on any feedback or comments to library@reading.ac.uk.

Further information

A dedicated URS Building page has been created to help clarify exactly what has moved from the Library. It will be kept updated by our Library team, who will also share regular news and updates via the Library blog. The Library opening hours page lists opening times for both the Library and URS buildings.

Further details of the Library’s major £40 million refurbishment can be found on our Library Refurbishment Project webpage: www.reading.ac.uk/library/refurb.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator
for University Communications

Café Libro hours, Easter and Summer 2017

CafeLibro logo reversed on window, red tree behindCafé Libro will move to the 2nd Floor of the URS Building ready to re-open on the first day of the summer term, Tuesday 18 April. (See the Library website for general Library and URS Building opening hours.)

Easter Vacation

Tuesday 11 – Monday 17 April 

  •  CLOSED – to allow us to pack and move to URS Building! (Library is open Tuesday 11 April but closed Wednesday 12 – Monday 17 April, for University Easter Closure.)

Summer Term – extra exam-time hours

We re-open on the 2nd Floor of URS at 08:30 on Tuesday 18 April and will be into our extended hours after that.

  • Monday–Friday        08:00–23:00
  • Saturday                     11:00–16:00
  • Sunday                        11:00–23:00

Alternative catering options

New self-service machines for snacks and drinks will be provided after the move to the URS Building. Your can eat your own cold food in Cafe Libro but hot food, including takeaways, are specifically excluded from Library areas by Library rule 14. Alternatively, check out University Catering’s other campus outlets.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator, for Martin Batt, Catering

What’s going where in URS and Library

We’re getting ready to run Library services and facilities from two buildings from 18 April: the URS Building (no 33 on the Whiteknights campus map) – further away from construction noise – and the Library Building (no 2 ). We are preparing URS signage and our webpages will show where everything is from this date but here’s a preview!

Services moving to URS BuildingThree femal studetns walk infront of orange building with protruding sturts and undercroft on a sunny day

URS Study space and IT facilities

We will move modern study furniture (with power sockets) currently on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Floors of the Library Building into the the URS Building 2nd and Ground Floors, mainly over the Easter vacation. Some of the 16 large 2nd Floor rooms will be designated as group study space, some quiet study and some silent study space. The silent study rooms will contain some more traditional desks and some individual workbays.

The URS Ground Floor will mostly consist of 145 fixed PCs, with printing facilities nearby.

URS Course Collection and Self-Service Points

Our Course Collection of in-demand texts on reading lists will move to the URS Ground Floor, along with study space and Self-Service Points to borrow and return Course Collection items. You may also save yourself a short walk and return Library Building items here too.

URS Services

  • CaféLibro will transfer to the 2nd Floor of the URS Building.
  • On the URS Ground Floor, you will be able to get help from:

URS Building Hours

The URS Building will adopt the 24 hour opening during term (except closing 21:00 Saturday to 08:30 Sunday) as is currently the case in the Library.

URS Security

For security reasons, everyone will enter URS by the one main entrance, closest to Whiteknights House, by the pond. We will adopt the same security that we employ now for the Library and transfer this to the URS building.

Library Building

Univeristy Library in springYou will be able to borrow all printed material (other than Course Collection items in URS) from the University Library, open 09:00-22:00 in term.There will be no study desks in the Library Building so you will need to take them either to the URS Building or find alternative study space on campus (see top right of Library Refurbishment Project page).

We recognise this is less convenient than having printed books in the same building as study space but hope that the Library hours we have been able to achieve will serve the majority of students – our usage statistics show that almost all borrowing activity occurs before 22:00.

Library staff will be on duty to help you during core hours.

Construction work will continue during weekdays in the Library Building whilst we strive to complete the project as soon as possible, so you may experience considerable noise whilst using this building.

Further details

For further information, see the Library Refurbishment Project page at www.reading.ac.uk/library/refurb.

If you have a disability and have any concerns about using either the Library or URS Building facilities, please contact Matthew Holtby, Library Disability Co-ordinator.

If you have any other queries, please email library@reading.ac.uk.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator for
University Library Director and Associate Directors

Library study space moves to URS Building

Three femal studetns walk infront of orange building with protruding sturts and undercroft on a sunny dayThe University will shortly be able to offer the URS Building instead of studying in the Library during its major refurbishment. We will be moving furniture and IT equipment from the Library into URS so that students can study in a comfortable and quiet space away from construction works.

What we are doing

  • Studying in URS will be quieter as it is further away from Library building works.
  • The URS Building will be open 24 hours in term (except Saturday night) just like the Library is now.
  • Course Collection will move into URS to maintain full access.
  • Books will remain in the Library and will be borrowed as usual.
  • Although Library staff will be based in URS, they will also run an information service in the Library building to help you find and borrow books there.
  • Using URS means the refurbishment will be finished earlier than originally planned.

838 study spaces (including 145 computers) will move into URS along with Library staff – so there’ll always be someone on hand to help. Cafélibro will also relocate to URS.

All books (excluding the Course Collection) will stay inside the Library and will be available to use and borrow as usual. The Course Collection will move into URS and will continue to be accessible for 24 hours in term-time, as the Library offers now.

As well as providing a quiet and convenient alternative space for students, using the URS Building will mean that the length of the refurbishment programme will be shortened by approximately six months, ending mid 2019 as opposed to late 2019 / early 2020 as originally planned.

The URS Building was vacated in December 2016 in preparation for the building’s own major redevelopment – as the programme is still under revision in light of the URS Building’s grade two listing, the University is now in a position to offer it up as relief space to students. We expect URS to be available until at least August 2018.

RUSU are supportive of the move as it helps provide a suitable environment for work and study in the wake of such a major project. Ben Cooper, RUSU President, said:

“RUSU is committed to campaigning for more study space and better facilities for students on campus. We highlighted that the University must do everything it can to mitigate issues such as noise from the building work and access to books, especially for students currently studying here.

RUSU believes that this move of study space to URS is a good option and will result in less overall problems for students to face. It means that some of the noise problems will be reduced and there will be adequate study space in the busy periods whilst the Library refurbishment is being completed.”

The University is working hard to implement these plans ready for the 2017 Quiet Period. Logistics are still being finalised – we will share final plans as soon as possible. If the move is at risk of affecting the exam period it will be postponed until after exams have finished.

Don’t forget that as well as the URS Building, there are many additional alternative study spaces around campus – a full list is available online and our Free Room Finder helps identify available rooms on a daily basis. For more details of additional study space available on campus, project benefits and the latest news, please visit the Library Refurbishment Project webpage.

Rachel Redrup
for University Communications

New Library travel mugs, still £5.00

Library travel mug in grey with black lid bearing statement 'I'm keeping a lid on it in the Library'Remember we changed Library rules to allow you drinks in the Library – as long as they’re in lidded containers? And Cafélibro give 5% off drinks in your own cup? … But you need a lidded travel mug inside the Library?

Keeping a lid on it in the Library!

Cafélibro are now selling our latest style of Library lidded mug – still at £5.00, still a competitive price! Our Mark 2 design holds 450ml, is grey with a black lid and bears the statement  ‘I’m keeping a lid on it in the library’. Treat yourself! Make your statement with ours!

Drinks – yes; food – no!

Please note that whilst our rules still ban food from the Library, you can eat cold food in the café. Hot food, including takeaways, is not permitted anywhere in the building.

However, we look forward to forthcoming Library refurbishment which brings new opportunities in an enlarge the cafe! See what the architect plans on our website.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Further Library refurbishment 2016-2019 approved

Architect's impression of Library building and landscaping

Architect’s impression showing the refurbished Library west front with enlarged café, new cladding and landscaping

A £40 million redevelopment and refurbishment of The University Library starting this June, has been approved by the University Council. This second phase of the complete modernisation and revamp of the Library will increase space for individual and group study, and will make better use of the space currently available on the Ground and 1st Floors. Work is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2019.

Significant improvements

Specific key areas of improvement will include 200 more study places and increased toilet capacity with toilets available on all floors, including disabled and gender neutral provision. Café space will be expanded, including opening glazed doors onto external al fresco areas. New lifts will be installed, and an improved system for borrowing and returning books will be put into place.

The redevelopment will provide better access and security as well as improving its energy efficiency, through improved insulation and ventilation. The exterior of the building will be totally re-clad and will have replacement windows fitted throughout, providing a striking focal point at the heart of the Whiteknights campus.

University investment rates Library highly

The University Council approved the £25 million building costs, with an additional £15 million costs of keeping the Library fully operational, contingency funding, VAT and project management. This comes after the first £4.4m phase revamped the study spaces and furniture on the 2nd to 5th Floors in 2013 and 2014. Planning permission was granted by Reading Borough Council last December.

Our Vice-Chancellor’s view

“The Library has always played a central role in our life and work, with its location at the very heart of the University’s Whiteknights campus,” says Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell. “We have invested £4.4m in the top four floors of the Library as a first phase of redevelopment and this major new investment of £40m will complete the project. We will combine traditional and crucial functions such as book and journal collections with group study facilities, great digital access and multi-purpose spaces. Our Library has never been a static, sepulchral space. It has continued to evolve over its 50 year history and as these excellent new facilities become available to students and staff.”

Keep calm, we’ll carry on!

The Library will remain fully operational to students across the entirety of the redevelopment. No building work will take place at all during exams. To minimise disruption for Library users, books held on floors being refurbished will be relocated elsewhere in the Library. Print journals will move off site, but as the majority of Library users access journal content online via the Library website, this should cause minimal inconvenience.

In addition, the University will provide alternative study space across the centre of the campus during exam and periods of high-demand – with details being confirmed in due course.

Further information

The Library Refurbishment 2016-2019 webpage gives further information, including a proposed work schedule, frequently asked questions and links to the latest refurbishment news on the University Library News blog (where day-to-day advice will be given to Library users).

A wider Campus Projects website is also in development, in which the Library redevelopment will be featured. Many other communication channels will also be used to help provide as much information as possible across the development of the project.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Lidded drinks allowed! Need our travel mug?

Red and grey Library lidded travel mug You may take your hot or cold non-alcoholic drinks anywhere in the Library – as long as they’re in lidded containers – now we’ve changed Library rules on drinks.

Did you know Cafélibro give you 5% discount on drinks if you bring your own cup – but you’ll need a lidded travel mug to take it inside the Library.

Library lidded mugs £5

To celebrate our rule change, Cafélibro began to sell the Library’s own stylish, lidded mug at £5 – a competitive price! Our Mark 1 design was produced in red, grey and white, bearing the statement  ‘I’m keeping a lid on it in the library’. From April 2016, our Mark 2 design went on sale in black, grey and red.

We gave away the first 50 free to Library users mentioning the phrase ‘I’m keeping a lid on it in the library’ when buying a Cafélibro drink. They were so popular, they were all owned by happy customers by the end of lunchtime on the first day!

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

 

Drinks and phone policy changes

Lidded cardboard coffee cupIt’s not just the Library building that gets a makeover, our policies get them too! From 1 August 2015, hot and cold non-alcoholic drinks are welcome within the Library so long as they’re in lidded containers.

Furthermore, to minimise distractions, mobile phone calls should  be taken within CaféLibro. More information can be found in our Library Policies & Rules.

Keep a lid on it!

We’ve heard what you would like to improve your study space and we’ve done just that! You wanted drinks in the Library? Done. What better brain boost is there than a nice refreshing beverage? Hot and cold drinks in lidded containers are now allowed within the Library! So as long as it’s covered in a bottle, flask or travel mug, then drink away.

But food can be messy and smelly, and a real distraction to one another’s work. No one wants that, so we ask that food still be consumed within the café. Better to eat in the café during a well earned break, don’t you think?

We’re always seeking new ways to improve your experience here at the Library. Therefore to protect each student’s right to work quietly, mobile phone calls should only be made in CaféLibro; elsewhere mobile phones should be switched off or in silent mode.

Need to discuss your work? No problem. Try the group study areas to discuss your work in, such as the snazzy group study pods on the various floors or the Knowledge Exchange on the Ground Floor.

Joe Veale, Library User Services