College has made its through to the final three libraries nominated for the 'School Library Design Award'. Out of the 23 libraries nominated, six were visited by a judging panel and now three have made it through to the final. The winner will be announced in a ceremony in London on 1 October 2012.
Our library, named the Chatfeild-Roberts Library, was given a large donation by a former pupil, Mr John Chatfeild-Roberts of over £675,000 to aid the refurbishment. It was opened in September 2011, having been completely refurbished as part of our wider school development plan. Also refurbished in the same period was a Biology lab, our main theatre space, with new drama classrooms and a dance studio. The next stage is a new girls' boarding House, set to open in September 2013 and refurbished Chemistry and Physics labs this summer.
The Chatfeild-Roberts Library now includes a new and specific Higher Education and Careers area, iPad kiosks and a contemporary modern feel set against a traditional backdrop. Designed to encourage pupils to study independently, it offers a much better space for more structured study, a more welcoming environment, complete with comfy sofas as well as desks, and flexibility for all users. There are plugs at every desk for pupils to use their laptops and break out rooms, including a resources room with places for 30 laptops, for collaborative work. There is also a large screen TV for presentations that can be moved into the Library. Already we are noticing an increase in pupils using it.
The feature that is particularly popular with pupils is the new catalogue access and library management system, provided on iPads that stand in kiosks. An interactive map facility shows pupils where a book can be located and most books can be identified by a picture of the front cover. All in all it makes finding resources in the library much easier and more intuitive for the pupils.
Mrs Ginette Doyle, College Head Librarian, commented:
"Our previous Library, although set in a beautiful building, was very traditional with fixed shelving and very little technology. The new design is a wonderful blend of heritage and contemporary design and it is this blend which has caught the eye of the judges. Our Chatfeild-Roberts Library is now a light, airy and open space which encourages study through its lovely, calm atmosphere.
The Symondson University and Careers Library is also adjacent to the main library, giving pupils more opportunities to prepare for life after College. What is perhaps the most significant however, is that pupils have told us that whereas previously they never used the library, they now come in every day. I don’t think we could hope for a better testimonial.”
Below: Before (left) and after (right) photographs of the Chatfeild-Roberts Library.