Design & deliver inspiring learning spaces - FRLS

“As a recognised and vital hub for learning, it is essential that the physical space is rethought and refreshed to meet the changing pedagogical models for learning; to foster learning experiences that lead to the development of real-world skills and tangible applications for students... The Library’s design should inspire students and staff to excel in their academic pursuits.” (Future Ready Library Strategy, p12)

We wanted our library spaces to align to contemporary design, pedagogy and student experiences.

This goal was influenced by several factors, including researching global trends on the future-readiness of academic libraries (their purpose, identity, and design), evaluating recommendations arising from the 2017 McKinnon-Walker International Study Tour Report, and assessing user feedback.

Over the span of the FRLS, $6M was invested in capital projects at the Wollongong Campus Library to:

  • create a student-centric design for focused informal learning spaces
  • refurbish the existing floor space to support the needs of students for the next decade
  • deliver modern facilities for informal learning.

The design principles underscoring the projects were:

  • flexibility and choice
  • sense of community
  • wellbeing and safety
  • equity and inclusivity
  • accessibility and intuitiveness.

"As an MBA student more than halfway through now, having such a great space as a student to come and finish off assignments, while I have young children at home during COVID-19 has been invaluable. The lower heights of bookcases provides that passive security too, as a woman, we just want to be aware of our surroundings while studying."

Student studying at table in library level one. Student browsing book shelves.
Several students studying in the library

UOW has a diverse student and staff profile and for many, the Library is their only space for learning, collaboration, and peer engagement. Access to this necessary infrastructure is a priority for student success. Pre-pandemic, the Wollongong Campus Library saw over 1 million visits per year, with approximately 40,000 of those visits between 10 pm – 8 am through ACCESS 24/7.

Working closely with UOW students and University representatives, Wollongong Campus Library spaces were reimagined to provide greater flexibility and choice for study spaces and to showcase collections. This also included new amenities, such as the student lounge – a safe place for refreshment and rejuvenation.

The strategic placement of collections and study spaces allow for better navigation and physical distancing. This approach has been one of many elements that enabled the Library to remain open to UOW students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.


"Standing desks in level 1 of the library? These might just entice me to actually study!"



"I'm loving the new library space. Very open, lots of light and seating with charging ports! And the book collection is still quite impressive. Hopefully this semester there won't be any one giving up their studying due to an inability to find a suitable study space."

Two students studying in the library
Student studying at a standing desk in the Library and switching light on
Students busily studying in the collaborative spaces on the Ground Floor of Wollongong Campus Library
Students talking in the Library lounge / kitchen / kitchenette

View the FRLS overview infographic