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Basket of eggsLibrary closed 17:00 1/4/15 to 08:30  7/4/15

The Library will close on Wednesday 1 April at 17:00 for the duration of the University Easter closure period. We reopen at 08:30 on Tuesday 7 April . See our full opening hours.

Library loans

Please remember to borrow what you need before the break! Details regarding 6-hour and 7-day loans are available on our vacation loans page and you can also check arrangements for collections from Closed Access and the Library Off-Site Store.

Remember, you can renew items online over the vacation using your Library account and pay fines online using the Campus Card Portal. All loans can be returned during the closure period in the Book Drop to the right of our entrance.

The online Library is still available

Whilst we are closed there is still a wealth of information available online 24/7 including e-books, e-journals and databases for finding references. For resources in your area see our subject-specific help pages, which include lists of relevant databases for finding information on specific topics.

Happy holidays!

We would like to wish everyone a very happy Easter holiday and look forward to helping you find and use information when we reopen.

Anna Richards, Library User Services & Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

26718429You may notice more surveyors in the Library building, Monday 16 March to Monday 6 April, working on behalf of the ‘Feasibility Group on Refurbishment of the University Library’. This Group is considering a possible multi-million pound Library refurbishment over the next few years including:

  • total 1st and Ground Floor redesign (incorporating cafe and entrance changes)
  • window and building exterior renewal
  • heating and ventilation work and
  • re-siting new lifts.

Work may begin after exams.

How spring surveying may affect you

The Library’s disabled parking bays and an area of Blackhorse House car park will become inaccessible from the Thursday 12 March in order to house the  contractors’ compound. Heavy machinery will be delivered from Monday 16 March – take care when walking around the building.

Surveying work on the Library building begins outside on Wednesday 18 and inside on Thursday 19 March. Disruptive work will be limited to the early part of the working day when the Library is least busy, as far as is practicable. More disruptive work will be done in the first week of vacation (week beginning 30 March), just before the Easter shutdown. Work stops on the Library after Easter to allow for more peaceful exam revision. However, the URS building next door is also being surveyed and works here continue until the end of vacation, (17 April). Continue to take care outside our buildings.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator; Robin Hunter, Facilities Manager

University of Reading Library at nightPlease carry your Campus Card in the Library to prove you are a University member and entitled to access. This is especially important overnight during term-time 24-hour opening.

During the day, do use both the Library’s central revolving and side doors. However, from 19:00 to 08:00 please enter by the right-hand Library door - the revolving door is locked.

  • University members can gain automatic entry by placing their Campus Card on the ‘proximity reader’ beside the right-hand door.
  • Visitors and University members without their Campus/Library Cards will be asked to show ID and sign our Visitors’ Book.

The Library reserves the right to refuse access to anyone, including University members, who cannot identify themselves adequately.

Campus Card faulty?

Did your Campus Card fail to open the Library’s front door with the card reader overnight 19:00-08:00? Please ask Campus Card Services to fix the fault via their Campus Card non-residential door access report form or email

Summer exam-time exclusive access

Please note that during the April-June examination period, we operate a ‘no card, no access’ policy 17:00-08:00 in order to preserve our fantastic University Library facilities for University members only.

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Black and white image of students studying at large tables in Library reading room

50 years ago students at the University of Reading Library used no laptops, phones or even calculators

It is exactly 50 years since the University of Reading Library at Whiteknights was officially opened. Half a century later, student study methods may be a little different, and their numbers greatly increased, but the Library is still at the heart of the student experience – the reason the University is still investing in adapting the building for current student needs.

Library history at Whiteknights

The Library was the third academic building built in the new Whiteknights campus, acquired in 1946 for expansion from the original London Road site. Initial designs date from 1958. Construction began in 1960 and was completed in 1963, having been delayed by a serious roof fire and ferocious storms that January. Library stock transferred from The Old Library at London Road over the Christmas Vacation in December.

Black and white image of two men in universtiy regalia about to cut ceremonial ribbon

The Library was officially opened on 15 May 1964 by the Chancellor, Lord Bridges

An official opening ceremony took place on 15 May 1964 when the Chancellor, Lord Bridges cut a ceremonial ribbon beside the Library’s architect, Frederick Preston. It was followed by a special degree congregation in the 2nd Floor Reading Room, bestowing honorary degrees on Preston, publishers, librarians and authors including W.H.Auden.

The new Library was designed to serve for a student population of 3,000 but there was already talk of an extension to the east. Whilst Reading only had 1,537 students in 1963, it aimed for 3,700 by 1967-68. In fact there were nearly 5,000 by 1969 and University numbers – and aspirations for expansion – kept rising.

Black and white image of scaffolding around a building, cars in foregroundThe Library extension was agreed in 1981 and opened in 1985. It reconfigured the north side, adding stack space on three subject floors, a 1st Floor current periodicals area (now S@iL) and Ground Floor administrative space. A new entrance was let into the west side, replacing two north and south entrances. The former north entrance was enclosed, becoming the Short-Loan Collection. The old south entrance is now one of CaféLibro’s windows, by the self-service machines.

In January 2000, the largest PC area on campus came into the Library. Computers were now essential for writing, communicating and research since the internet’s 1995 birth, but students still wanted to be in the Library.

In 2006, University archives and special collections relocated to a new state-of-the-art store and reading room service at Redlands Road (University Museums and Special Collections Service, UMASCS). This released 1st and 5th Floor space at Whiteknights for student study space.

In 2007, Ground Floor £1 million refurbishment created new areas for student group work – an increasingly important aspect of study – and a new Course Collection for in-demand course texts and a café.

Smaller steps, as funding was available, brought group study pods and display screens in 2011.

IMG_2046 small

Today students need collaborative study pods and power sockets at each desk for effective library study

Most recently our 2009-2014 Collections Project review of all stock, and acquiring an Off-site Store, gained valuable study space within the Library. Major refurbishment in summer 2013 and 2014, in all worth £4.4 million, delivers:

  • upgraded individual study areas: Silent Study 5th Floor (2013); Quiet Study 2nd Floor (2013), 4th & 3rd Floors (2014)
  • more collaborative study space: 2nd Floor (2013), 4th Floor (2014)
  • many more sockets to power laptops and mobile devices, now essential for students.

University of Reading Library at nightOpening hours have also changed in the last fifty years. In 1964, where students were largely full-time and locally resident, the new Library was only open on term-time weekdays until 9.45pm and closed at weekends. To satisfy current student needs, where students may be part-time, need to take jobs or simply want the choice of early or late working, 2014 saw the permanent establishment of 24-hour Library opening.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

Student studying at desks separated by green divider panelsYou say you love the Library’s refurbished Silent Study 5th Floor and both the quiet and collaborative study ares on the refurbished 2nd Floor and you want more. So you’ll love what’s planned for the Library’s 3rd and 4th Floors this summer … not to mention refurbished single-sex Ground Floor toilets and upgraded staircases! Another £2.4 million of University investment enables work to begin in earnest after exams on Monday 16 June. It is due for completion by the end of September 2014.

How will works affect me, summer 2014?

The Library remains open to provide services to Library users around works. However, please note:

  • We’ve already moved some 4th Floor social sciences material this Easter. Further stock moves will take place on the 3rd and 4th Floors from June. This includes relocating the Teaching Practice Collection and music CDs to the 3rd Floor.
  • Access to the 3rd Floor Arts and Humanities and 4th Floor Social Sciences material may be restricted, section by section. However we will operate a fetch and carry service where material is out-of-bounds.
  • Library staff will continue to help you but based in alternative, temporary accomodation on another floor.
  • Please use alternative PC and Study areas whilst Rooms 111, 110 and 109 are closed to users. Our newly refurbished 5th and 2nd Floors remain open throughout.
  • Both sets of Ground Floor toilets will be closed for refurbishment, reopening eight weeks later as separate Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s conveniences, as requested by Library users. Please use alternative facilities on the Library’s 5th Floor or in the nearby HUMMS Building.
  • Please use the Library’s revolving or right-hand front door. The left-hand door will be out of use whilst we work on our heating system, using an adjacent staff entrance.
  • Noise: Unfortunately, making such a fantastic ‘omelette’ will require cracking eggs loudly! You will experience noise from drilling 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 summer 2014 updates on our University Library News blog or follow the Library on Twitter or Facebook. Even more Library improvements are under development for future years, including the Library’s Ground Floor and external structure.

Rachel Redrup, Library Marketing Co-ordinator

researchskillsbanner2013Want to do your best in your exams? Effective preparation is the key, says the University Study Advice Team, based on the 1st Floor of the Library.

Prepare for exams

Take advice from the Study Advisers’ guides on preparing for exams, watch one of their bite-size video tutorials, book an individual appointment with them or read a University Library book on the subject, eg:

Five tips for effective revision

  1. Download past papers from the Examinations Office Past Papers Archive to work out how many topics to revise, how questions are asked, timings and for practice questions.
  2. Revise effectively to a schedule covering all your selected topics in some depth (rather than a few completely), and utilising your best times of day for concentration.
  3. Learn actively – think critically and consider how to use what you’re reading to answer an exam question. Keep testing what you know, then look for material to fill gaps.
  4. Practise, practise, practise writing to a specific time and by hand – find out how much you can write in that time. It is different to writing assignments!
  5. Be nice to yourself! You need some space for thinking and processing what you’ve learned. To achieve your best results, give yourself time off to exercise, eat and sleep properly… Take the Library stairs, sit outside or try cafélibro or refreshment machines on the Library Ground Floor. However, please don’t eat at your desk – it’s not good for you or the Library environment, although bottled water is OK to  have with you.

Space to revise

  • The Library is students’ most popular choice. Select which study areas help you revise best: group discussion, quiet or silent study. For the last week of the Easter vacation and in term-time, the Library is open 24-hours, Sunday to Saturday.
  • RUSU’s The Study usually opens 24-hours from 09:00 Monday to 21:00 Saturday: see RUSU’s website.
  • If the Library is busy or you want an alternative, check extra University exam-time study spaces across campus, arranged by Student Services. Note which operate during the day, evenings, weekends or overnight!

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

This info tip was written by Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator, and Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser.

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.


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.


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.


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