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Here’s What The University of Reading Library Will Soon Look Like

Today The University of Reading has announced its plans for a £40 million extension and refurbishment of the existing library on Whiteknights Campus. The library will still be open to students despite building work until its planned completion at the end of 2019; with no work taking place during exam periods.

The extension of the library should create better group study spaces as well as individual study spaces, with the development of the first and ground floor taking place in June this year.


Proposed new entrance lobby and café

Some of the key changes include increasing seating capacity by 200, as well as improving the building’s sustainability by reducing energy use by 40%.  

There will also be 3 new lifts serving all floors, increased toilet capacity – including gender neutral toilets, improved wheelchair accessibility and the introduction of improved automated services for borrowing and returning books.

In areas where work is being done, books will be relocated to different areas of the library. Print journals will move off site, but as the majority of Library users access journal content online via the Library website this shouldn’t be a major inconvenience for students.

There will also be more study spaces open across Whiteknights Campus during busy periods such as when people have exams. These spaces will be announced nearer the time.

Planning permission for the library was granted by Reading Borough Council last December.


View from the front showing the proposed enlarged café, new cladding and landscaping.

The refurbishment is scheduled to be fully completed by December 2019, but many changes will take place before then.

The newly refurbished first floor is set to open in Summer 2017, this will include new individual IT workspaces, IT group study spaces and group study rooms. The new ground floor will open with an extended café, extra study spaces and a new entrance in Spring 2018.


Proposed exterior seen from the Palmer Quad

“Our library has never been a static, sepulchral space.” said Vice Chancellor David Bell.

Regarding the changes being made to the library, he said: “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, 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.”

The major redevelopment comes after the first £4.4m phase revamped the study spaces and furniture on the second, third, fourth and fifth floors.