University of West London Library

Sited over four levels and with 2km of shelving, the new Paul Hamlyn Library is the centrepiece of the University of West London’s £50m campus development.

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Photo credit: Simon Hadley

Completed in September 2015, the library is part refurbishment, part new build, with its modern glass-clad extension overlooking an internal atrium.

Planning for capacity and flexibility

In order to achieve its ambition to create a modern, flexible library space at the heart of the campus, the university required a sophisticated storage solution for its stock. Julian Roland, Head of Customer Experience Library Services at University of West London, was a key member of the team tasked with development of the library. “One of the first things I did was look at the capacity and plan for the shelving,” he said. Roland and the project team – made up of academic librarians familiar with the university’s stock – considered how to fit the books they had into the available linear measurement.

undefinedUniversity of West London
Photo credit: Simon Hadley

The stock was planned in using the Dewey Decimal System, the accepted standard for library book classification. “Basically we went very systematically, every shelf in turn, working out what we would be able to fit on it.”

Roland and his team started with the floor area and matched these calculations with the space required for each Dewey number, ensuring there were natural, logical breaks between the floors. “We also included planning for expansion – aiming to fill to 75% capacity. It was really quite a tight deadline. Building work was going on around us and we were putting books on shelves with gloves on, high visibility jackets and hard hats, right up to the last minute. Despite some worries towards the end, the calculations we’d done were pretty much spot on.”

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“We knew we needed a trusted academic library supplier. Bruynzeel’s experience and expertise were key factors in our decision to appoint them.”

Tim Wales, Director of Library Services