Study Space

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University of Reading Library at nightStudents told the University they wanted 24-hour Library opening, including through National Student Surveys. We listened and invested. With new staffing arrangements agreed, we can now announce the dates of 24-hour term-time Library opening 2014:

  • The last two weeks of the spring term: Sunday 9 March to Saturday 22 March 2014.
  • After the Easter break and throughout the summer term: Tuesday 22 April to Friday 4 July 2014.
  • 24-hour opening in term-time will be standard over the 2014-2015 session.

Check our opening hours page for precise times and dates. (We do close Saturday night/Sunday morning for our essential maintainance – and your recreation!)

Your views

What do you think? Please leave us your comments below.

You can read what students told us last year in ‘Your views on 24-hour Library opening [2013]‘ when the Library piloted 24-hour opening for exam-time 2013.

Service levels and noise

The Library will be self-service early evening to morning and on May Bank Holidays. All study areas, PCs, printers and photocopiers will be will be available. You can pay small fines, borrow, return and renew at Self-Service Points, including ‘holds’ you collect yourself. See our website for which service level to expect when.

Please note that cleaning, including the use of vacuums, will take place regularly 05:30-08:30 Monday to Friday, plus occasional reactive cleaning. There will also be fire alarm testing every Monday at 08:30. Whilst we apologise for any disturbance to your concentration, this is essential to maintain a pleasant and safe working environment for all.


Security staff will be on duty overnight. Between 00:00 and 08:00, you will need your Campus Card to operate a swipe-card entry system at the right-hand front door. This should help restrict entry to University members only for your safety.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

26718429If you use S@il PCs, Study Rooms, Study Advice, Maths Support or ITS Help on the Library’s 1st Floor, please note! Rewiring work will be carried out here between 9 December and 15 January as part of the programme to rewire the whole Library building.  Whilst it is not expected to be very disruptive, there will be some noisy work and some areas will be relocated, or corridors rerouted, for short periods.

Affected areas

  • The large S@IL computer lab will remain available, barring unforeseen circumstances.
  • Corridors and gallery will be rewired Monday 16 to Friday 20 December. However we will try to reroute you around works.
  • Study Advice will be relocated to Rooms 109 to 111 from Thursday 2 to Wednesday 8 January. 
  • Maths Support and the ITS Help Counter may have to relocate for some of the works, depending how work proceeds – to be confirmed.
  • Quiet Study with PCs Room 109 and Group Study Rooms 110 & 111 will be unavailable for their normal functions Thursday 2 to Friday 17 January. Please use other PCs, and other group study areas on the Ground or 2nd Floors.

Please see the University Library news blog or Library Twitter for any day-to-day changes to this programme.







University of Reading Library at nightThe University has approved that the University Library should open 24 hours during term time.  Subject to practicalities, 24-hour opening will resume in March or April 2014. It will cover the revision/exam period 2014 and then continue for the rest of the summer term and into the next session.

Watch this space for further information as it becomes available.

See our previous blogs about when we piloted opening the Library 24-hours during the summer exam period 2013 and some student views of it then.


Library central informal seating areaRefurbished silent study areas on the Library’s 5th Floor are now open, the final phase of this year’s major Library refurbishment!  This follows the opening of refurbished 2nd Floor collaborative and individual study areas at the beginning of term - already very popular.  Next summer further refurbishment will take place on the Library’s 3rd and 4th Floors.

Library 5th Floor: traditional style reading roomThe 5th Floor has been rebuilt to provide:

  • An open, soft-seating area for conventional reading.
  • Two long, silent study rooms, bounded by glass walls. One is a traditional-style room, with some of the chairs and study tables original to the 1960s building, refurbished with modern lighting and power sockets. The other room contains contemporary-style furniture, again with power sockets and lights.
  • Library 5th Floor - contemporary study roomA second relaxed study area, furnished with self-contained, felt armchairs overlooks the 4th Floor through a new glass screen, replaced as in the original 1960s build with modern, safer materials.
  • More single-sex toilets than previously, plus one with disabled access.

IMG_2122 smallLet us know what you think by commenting below!

More information

For more information, see our exhibition on the University Library’s Ground Floor, University Library news or follow the Library on Twitter.


essentialreadingcoverSee what the Library’s just done for you in the autumn term issue of Essential Reading (PDF), our newsletter for students!

Collect a print copy from the Library or your hall, or view it online for news of:

  • the major Library refurbishment – £2 million spent on two floors,
  • extra Library improvements
  • a huge number of new e-resources
  • and much more …..


IMG_2046 smallCome and wonder at the new collaborative and quiet study areas on the 2nd Floor!  This first phase of this year’s major Library refurbishment is now open! The second phase, a refurbished silent study area on the 5th Floor, will open later this term.

Refurbished 2nd Floor open!

IMG_2044 smallThe 2nd Floor reading room (front of building) holds a fantastic, new, collaborative study area, filled with a variety of modern furniture, especially designed to minimise sound. There are glass group study pods, long study tables, diner-style group seating, alcove padded seating for small groups, individual swivel armchairs, bright white tables with innovative chair designs …  

IMG_2062 smallThe resources area (back of building) has reopened for you to consult books and journals after rewiring and carpeting.  It also includes new individual study seating for quiet study. There are new power sockets at every study desk.

The new information desk is in the central, high-ceilings area, opposite the catalogue. Ask here for your Liaison Librarians who have returned to staff offices on this floor. 

Let us know what you think by commenting below!

Progress with other Library areas

IMG_2076 smallThe 5th Floor Silent Study area is due to open in a few weeks time. The 3rd and 4th Floor are back in full operation after glass walls were installed between adjacent floors, letting in more light and views. You will enjoy the newer study furniture (long desks, study carrels, chairs) brought in from now refurbished floors. It is hoped to make further improvements next summer.

Behind the Library, the road and parking spaces remain closed for the works’ duration .. although you may notice the crane has gone!

More information

For more and the latest information, see our exhibition on the University Library’s Ground Floor, University Library news or follow the Library on Twitter.


26718429In addition to major refurbishment, we’ll be making some other improvements to the Library during July. Although this will mean some further disruption, the improvements will create a nicer working environment for you.

Improvements include…

  • Re-carpeting the Ground Floor Main Hall
    Commencing 8 July, replacement of the carpet on the Ground Floor will take approximately three weeks and means that sections of the public area will be out of use for approximately one week each.
  • Replacement of chairs on the 1st Floor
    The majority of the chairs in S@iL will be replaced when we are closed over the weekend of 6-7 July.
  • 35 twin sockets added to the 3rd Floor
    New electrical sockets will be installed around the edge of the 3rd Floor, giving at least one socket per study space in these areas. This work will take a week and will be completed in July.
  • All windows above the Ground Floor are to be cleaned inside and out

Alternative study areas

Whilst we will try to keep disturbance to a minimum, students and staff needing an alternative space for quiet study can book rooms in other parts of the University. Contact or ring 0118 378 6506.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news

Our previous blog (Major refurbishment begins) details which Library areas are open and how to request material from out-of-bounds areas.

Keep checking University Library news or follow the Library on Twitter for the latest refurbishment developments. You can also subscribe to our news by email – just fill in your email address in the box on the left of this news item.


Overhead view of study pods, desks and seating drafted for Library's 2nd Floor refubishment

Architect’s impression of Library’s 2nd Floor refurbishment 2013

Work to achieve major Library refurbishment by this autumn has begun!

  • 5th Floor Silent Study area is now closed until December. You may hear the noise of demolition work beginning.
  • 2nd Floor (Science and life sciences)
    • The best route up is via the lifts or  adjacent stairs.
    • Material temporarily inaccessible during the works can be requested online for collection at the Ground Floor the next weekday midday. Currently this affects:
      • normal size books 573-699
      • folio books 000-099, 500-599 and 600-699
      • middle folio books 001-055.
    • The existing 2nd Floor Information Desk is still in operation but we will advise when it changes to the floor office.
    • Liaison Librarians Helen Hathaway, Melvin Morbey and Sally Smith are still in their office on the 2nd Floor. All other 2nd Floor Staff are now based in 109 on the 1st Floor, including Liaison Librarians Tim Chapman, Erika Delbeck and Judith Fox.
  • Parking spaces and road behind the Library closed for the duration of the works.

Examine our plans

An exhibition of our plans is now on show on the University Library’s Ground Floor. Please take a look! Alternatively, for more or day-to-day information, please follow the University Library news or follow the Library on Twitter.


Girl working at laptop next to reference booksAs part of major refurbishment for the Library this summer, the 5th Floor is being redeveloped and will be closed from Saturday 8 June for the duration of the works.

The 5th Floor Reference Collection is being moved to a ‘Closed Access’ area in our Basement. To use this material, please now look it up on our online catalogue and select ‘Request Closed Access or Store items’ and we will bring it to the Ground Floor Information Desk for you.

During the summer we will be identifying well-used 5th Floor Reference material to be moved to the open shelves on the Ground, 2nd,3rd or 4th Floors. Lesser-used material will remain on Closed Access. If you are likely to need material from the 5th Floor Reference Collection on a recurring basis this summer, please do contact your liaison librarian in the first instance.


Having listened to what students say they need from their Library, the University has invested in a major new refurbishment programme this year, as well as additional Library materials funding and longer opening hours already financed. We are spending over a million pounds each on the Library’s 2nd and 5th Floors to provide state-of-the-art collaborative and quiet study space with additional power sockets. Work begins as soon as most exams are over, due for completion in autumn 2013. We plan to work on other floors in future years.

What will it look like by autumn 2013?

Overhead view of study pods, desks and seating drafted for Library's 2nd Floor refubishment
Architect’s impression of refurbished 2nd Floor

The 2nd Floor will have 350 study spaces, each with a laptop plug point. The high-ceilinged area to the front of the building will provide a variety of collaborative study options including group study pods; diner-style seating; two-person and large table seating. Glass walls will divide off the book stock towards the back of the building with individual study seating for quiet study beside the windows. You’ll also benefit from brighter, eco-friendly lighting throughout.

Plan of study rooms with tables and chairs, toilets and informal seating areas

We plan long study rooms, informal seating and more toilets on the 5th Floor

The 5th Floor will include two long, silent study rooms with laptop plug points at each desk; an open soft-seating area without power sockets for conventional reading; and more single-sex toilets, including those with disabled access. Further study places will overlook the 4th Floor central area through a glass screen, replaced as in the original build.

How will works affect me, summer 2013?

The Library will remain open, providing services to Library users around works. However, please note these changes:

  • The 5th Floor Silent Study Floor will be closed to Library users for refurbishment from Saturday 8 June for the duration of the works.
  • Access to 2nd Floor Sciences and Life Science material will be restricted, section by section, but we will operate a fetch and carry service where material is out-of-bounds.
  • Science and Life Science Library staff will relocate to the 1st Floor Rooms 109, 110 and 111 where they will continue to help you.
  • Please use alternative Group Study areas on the Ground Floor and other PCs whilst Rooms 111, 110 and 109 are closed to users.
  • There may be some days when access to 1st Floor S@iL PCs will be restricted. You can also use PCs in other buildings. See IT Services webpage for availability.
  • For a few weeks over the summer, access to the central 4th Floor area (beside catalogue PCs/4th Floor Reference/Information Desk) will be restricted whilst a glass wall is installed between it and the 5th Floor.
  • Noise: Unfortunately, making such a fantastic ’omelette’ will require cracking eggs loudly. You will experience loud noise from 10 June for a few weeks whilst we demolish walls etc on the 5th Floor. We will also need to drill through floors and walls throughout the project, although we will try to restrict this to early mornings before 10:00.
  • Alternative quiet space: Students and staff may always book rooms in other parts of the University for quiet study. At this time we envisage fewer rooms will already be engaged for teaching or exams. Contact or ring 0118 378 6506.
  • Disabled parking bays behind the Library will be moved from near the Chaplaincy to near the Cedars Hotel entrance whilst the contractors’ compound is in place.

More information

Watch our Library homepage for updates on our University Library News blog or our Library Twitter account. Look out for an exhibition including the architect’s impressions on the Library’s Ground Floor soon.


University of Reading Library at nightHave you used the Library overnight or early in the morning since it opened 24 hours for exam-time,15 April to 7 June 2013? Would you never work at this time or only during exams? Please let us know what you think of this pilot project.

Student views so far

Student studying at Library1st Floor desk by PC

Some work at night on coursework

Different people work best at different times - 24-hour opening allows everyone to visit at a time which suits them. Whilst we are not as busy as during the day, students have been making use of the Library after midnight. On average during the first week, overnight numbers were greatest at 01:00, halved by 03:30 and dwindled by 06:30.

 A few students interviewed on Saturday morning said they worked better at night and had enjoyed the peace of the Library, staying all night to finish dissertations (due this week). Others said they liked the opportunity to start their day early, arriving between 07:30 and 09:00 to begin revision. Some said they would only come to the Library overnight or early during exam-time.

Female and male students revising at desks in Library

Others arrive early to revise

However, not all students are in favour of 24-hour Library opening, feeling it exerts undue pressure to work longer hours than is healthy.

What do you think?

Please tell us what you think!  Comment privately online, post a personal paper ‘comment’ in the box at Library Reception, or join the online debate below.


Students revising in the LibraryThe latest in our series of monthly ‘Info tips’ has just been published, which this month gives guidance from the Study Advice Team on doing the best in your exams. Read the tip for revision hints and information on spaces for revision across campus.

This is one of a series of Info tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information.


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