Dear students and staff,
We hope that you all settled well in the new academic year. You might have wondered why recently the library was noisier than usual. The reason for all the disruptive drilling noise in the library is that our crew has now started working on the ceiling. They will be carrying these works over the coming two weeks. We apologise for the disruption, the noise will lessen as soon as work moves to more decorative finishing touches.
We are working towards making our Library a modern and comfortable place to study, with the very best facilities and learning resources. Let’s now take a look at what is currently happening on Level D:
- This will be your refreshment area, where you can socialize and have a cup of tea!
- Currently, we are installing the drop ceiling in there.
- Looking from the refreshment area we can see the cleaning up ready for ceiling grid and the new doorway on the left.
- Apart from the ceiling we are also working on preparing the floor for our new carpets.
- Completing interior walls for staffing area.
- And font door new lobby frame.
We are grateful for your patience and hope you look forward Level D to be re-open in January 2018.
We will update you soon, keep checking our blog for the latest refurbishment news!
Anna and Arfon
Welcome to new students and welcome back to returning students who may be suprised to find that the original library entrance on Level D is not open and that there is a temporary entrance to the Hugh Owen Library via Level E. This is due to building work taking place over summer and continuing through this first term to refurbish Level D. A reminder of why the Hugh Owen Library Level D is being refurbished.
To help you all find your way into the Library until Level D reopens in January 2018 please see:
How to find the Hugh Owen Library entrance from the direction of Rosser/Parry-Williams (TFTV Dept.) direction: https://youtu.be/5_Emw7sYVxQ
How to find the Hugh Owen Library entrance from the Piazza: https://youtu.be/ZeMt3MtchGY
Refurbished Level D is really starting to take shape with old office walls having been removed and new walls up and plastered, making new areas. The photos below have been taken just before the start of term, and show the new group study spaces, new Enquiry Desk area and the space leading down towards the stairs up to Level E of the library. We are very excited to see so much progress and look forward to new furniture arriving in November and seeing the space in full use in January 2018.
We are currently in week 10 of building works.
In our meeting last week with the contractors, RL Davies it was confirmed that:
• Mechanical and Electrical isolation/strip out is 100% complete.
• Plumbing and Mechanical 1st fix is in progress.
• Internal partitions are all boarded on one side.
• Entrance lobby substructure has been completed. Components have been removed to create space for our new entrance. (A reminder that the entrance will be relocated to face onto the concourse)
• Our suspended ceiling grid is due to be installed next week.
• Work continues on the ventilation system. This new ventilation system will result in a more pleasant working environment for staff and students on Level D.
View from old entrance facing new Refreshment Area – Before
View from old entrance facing new Refreshment Area – Currently
The main thing we are working on this week with our electricians and mechanical engineers, is the position of our new furniture. Following on from regular student feedback, we are endeavoring to ensure we have as many plug and USB points as is reasonable in our new space to enable you to charge your devices.
View from old entrance – Before
View from old entrance. Door on left of photo leads to stairs. Current view.
Location of new entrance – before
New entrance being build on left side of photo. Current view
We have also had very successful meetings with our colleagues in the Design Studio. Again, following on from student feedback, we are hoping to have some very beautiful murals and wallpaper in our new look Level D.
(Welsh translation to follow)
We are in week 6 of building works:
Last week, at our regular catch up with our contractors RL Davies the following progress was reported:
• Set up and enabling works are completed.
• The contractors are at the end of the soft strip out and demolition phase.
• The electrical strip out has begun and the first fix is underway.
• The mechanical strip out is due to begin imminently.
• A new mains board has been installed.
We also discussed things like door locks, ceiling tiles and carpet tiles.
This week there will be work happening on the air handling unit and the plumbing system.
We are hoping to have more photos of the progress up soon.
Work on the project has begun and our contractors RL Davies are in the middle of the demolition phase of the building work. It’s really exciting to see progress being made. Hoarding has gone up around the site and we have got some information posters up to ensure everyone knows what’s going on behind the barrier.
We have also set up a display outside the temporary entrance to the library. This details the full layout of the refurbished space and also illustrates some of the furniture, colours and patterns that we will see when the work is complete.
The demolition is the noisiest stage of the project and our contractors expect it to only last another three days or so; they are also working into the evenings to minimize noise during office hours.
We appreciate that there has been noise disturbance during this phase and we thank everyone for their understanding and patience while we carry out these essential works.
Here are some images of the ongoing strip out.
Myself and Julie Hart, our Head Librarian and Project Executive, sporting very fashionable safety gear, on our way down to visit our contractors.
To help our users find the entrance to the Hugh Owen library during the refurbishment Ellie Downes, our wonderful library assistant, has made some videos which show exactly how to find us.
How to find the Hugh Owen Library entrance from the direction of Rosser/Parry-Williams (TFTV Dept.) direction:
How to find the Hugh Owen Library entrance from the Piazza
Information Services has a history of supporting ‘Green’ activities and considering the environmental impact of all our activities. Last summer, we were awarded the Gold Standard Award under the Green Impact Programme.
To continue our sustainable practice during service relocation and the emptying of Level D we have:
- Retained glass from Level D to be reused in the new layout.
- Repurposed some unwanted furniture and given it a new lease of life (photos below are of old drawers which have been given a makeover)
- Donated any unwanted crockery from the staff lounge to Craft to be reused.
- Installed a Hydrachill machine – this allows us to refill our water bottles and thus reduce the need to purchase bottled water.
- Retained Wireless Access Points and our CCTV equipment to be reused.
- Relocated furniture / shelving across our libraries.
- Recycled all redundant electrical/IT equipment.
- Retained door motors to reuse in the new build.
Wherever possible we have endeavored to ensure all our actions have a minimal impact on the environment.
The refurbishment has brought a lot of disruption to Information Services colleagues and they’ve all been so supportive and cooperative in accommodating the refurbishment works. Whether its storing bits of furniture in their offices, cwtching up to make space for colleagues temporarily displaced from Level D or losing the staff tea room for the duration of the works, they have been fantastic. Thank you all.
Here are some of them making do in our temporary, makeshift tea room.
Recent feedback to the library from students and staff at AU:
- “I strongly believe the Hugh Owen Library should be completely redone. Ideally from the inside and outside.”
- “[would like to see more] Group (non-silent) study areas, with computers. Definition between silent and non-silent study areas. More rooms like the joy welch room that can be booked. Also [more] bathrooms […]”
- “[would like to see more] Improvement in creating a lighter and brighter library.”
As a result of feedback from library users and the obvious need to update an outdated building, Information Services (I.S.) proposed a £2M refurbishment of the Hugh Owen Library over a 4 financial year period, 4 tranches of £500k. The first phase of the work being Level D over 2 financial years (2016-17 – 2017-18), with Level E & F taking the remaining 2 years of the project.
As a key service in the University throughout the year, it is paramount that the library remains operational throughout the refurbishments and it was agreed that we would start first with the main reception area of the Library on Level D.
Drivers for the project include:
- From regular student feedback, there is a clear requirement to maximise, update and improve appropriate student study spaces on Level D. The space currently feels significantly dated and is no longer meeting user and staff needs.
- The space for staff working on Level D is cramped and the current layout means those not timetabled to work on the enquiry desk remain on view to users. This results in frequent interruptions to staff and a poor experience for users who may perceive they are being ignored by these staff.
- While I.S. scored very well in the ‘We Are Aber’ survey, our poorest score was the “The department has visually appealing facilities and/or materials” question for which we scored a 56.7% satisfaction rate; all other I.S. scores were in the 70% – 86% range.
- Evidence from the sector indicates the high importance of library and information resources to both student satisfaction and student recruitment. See https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/news/student-experience-survey-2017-expectations-are-high-for-learning-resources and https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/student-experience-survey-2017-build-facilities-and-students-will-come
- Improving the space and services on Level D, as the Library entrance area and location of the Library and IT Enquiry Desk, would have the greatest impact on current students and is additionally our shop window for prospective students.
Our plans for Level D include:
- Reconfigure the layout to improve the flow through the building and user access to facilities and services. This will include moving the main library entrance to face onto the Piazza.
- Open up and repurpose some of the existing ‘back of house’ areas to provide additional user space. This will include a vending area, additional bookable group study rooms, student toilet facilities and seating for computers and individual and group study.
- Improve the lighting, heating and ventilation to make a more comfortable environment for our users.
- Update the decoration and furnishing to provide a modern and well-designed space that meets our users’ needs.
While Level D will be closed during the refurbishment, the Library will remain operational throughout the building works with staff and services relocated to Level E of the Library and normal opening times unchanged. Please keep up with our plans on the Library refurbishment webpage and send us your feedback: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/news/librefurb/
This week our Library & IT Enquiry Desk service opened on Level E of the Hugh Owen Library. This Enquiry Desk is located in front of the main entrance doors on Level E. Staff at the Enquiry Desk welcome your enquiries.
We have been busy relocating some book collections and services in preparation for building work to start on Level D of the library. While we have signs up and around redirecting library users to the new entrance of the library and to relocated book and services inside, if you have any problems at all finding books or need any help, please do not hesitate to ask a member of our staff.
Remember also that you are welcome to contact us via email, phone or online chat for any support or questions about use of library / IT services and resources: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/help/contactus/
Level D of the library has now been emptied of all furniture, ready for the building contractors to start work by the last week in June. This is what Level D looked like on the last day of term (last Saturday)
and this is Level D today, ready for refurbishment to start
A reminder that the Hugh Owen Library Level D refurbishment web page is at: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/news/librefurb/
Thank you to all involved in relocating this service up to Level E. We’re looking forward to building work starting.