At the heart of the Library’s vision and purpose is our commitment to provide inspiring learning spaces and to transform how information can be discovered, used, created and shared. Working closely with UOW students and University representatives, Library spaces have been reimagined to provide greater flexibility and choice for study spaces and to showcase collections.
The first wave of redevelopment focused on the revitalisation of the Ground Floor, including the establishment of the UOW Student Makerspace. The second wave of development has focused on Level 1 and the further development of the Ground Floor with the establishment of The Lounge – a space to refresh and rejuvenate, aligned to the offering of Access 24/7 across all three floors of the Wollongong Campus Library.
The design concept was influenced by a number of 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; assessing feedback received via surveys and other feedback channels. The project was guided by a Steering Group representing the Library, Learning Teaching and Curriculum, IMTS, Student Services Division and students. Students were regularly consulted and they were enthusiastic in their responses, clearly noting their preferences for design features, equipment and fit-out.
As a recognised and vital hub for learning and research, the following student-centric design principles were adopted in this second major wave of transforming the Library:
- Flexibility and choice.
- Sense of community.
- Well-being and safety.
- Equity and inclusivity.
- Accessibility and intuitiveness.
In 2020, we offer the students and staff of UOW both spaces and experiences that respond to changing learning and research needs and expectations. A commitment to environmental sustainability includes: maximising abundant natural light, improved light fixtures and controls, thermal comfort and air quality including the use of plants. Users of the Library will experience enhanced campus views and connectedness with the campus surroundings, as well as communal spaces that foster a sense of inclusion, community and belonging.
A major change has been the relocation of some of the print collections to off-site storage (and available via an online request services for fast turnaround delivery) to release much needed spaces. We continue to provide both digital and print resources in abundance. The books that remain in the Library have been reconfigured and showcased to expose the collections – study spaces are immersed in the collections rather than situated on the fringe and importantly to improve accessibility – with reduced shelving heights and improved lighting.
We are excited to open the new spaces to the students and staff of UOW. We are confident that the commitment to user-centred design, students as partners and our deep understanding of the changing and evolving role contemporary academic libraries will be recognised and valued. We are grateful to the University for the significant investment made to enable this transformation.