Research libraries can have a transformative impact on scholarship, research, and learning through their collections and expertise of their staff. However, it is their physical and virtual spaces that constitute the places where ideas are conceived and knowledge is created and shared by diverse communities.  

As part of placing greater focus on equality, diversity, and inclusion, research libraries are increasingly concerned with making these spaces more inclusive through responding to their communities’ diverse needs. Yet, how do we design and develop spaces which are accessible and champion equality through encouraging different voices to be heard?

This event, that was held on 1 December 2022, aimed to showcase how research libraries are designing and reinventing their buildings and spaces with the aim of becoming more inclusive places where people from various backgrounds can work, explore, and learn. 

Launching a Family Study Room at the University of York Library
Kirsty Lingstadt, Director of Library, Archives and Learning Services at the University of York
David Brown, Academic Liaison Librarian at the University of York

In this presentation we’ll explore the development of our Family Study Room at the University of York Library. We’ll consider the origins of the room as the winner of our student innovation competition, LibInspo, and explain how we worked with students with children and various other stakeholders to make the space a reality. We’ll provide an overview of the development of the room including our planning and design process and we’ll provide some early feedback from students with children during our initial review period.

Kirsty Lingstadt is Director of Library, Archives and Learning Services at the University of York. She leads on the development of services across a range of different areas with a focus on ensuring that these respond to user needs.

David Brown is an Academic Liaison Librarian at the University of York. David co-managed the LibInspo competition which first inspired the Family Study Room, and has subsequently been part of the project team responsible for developing and launching the room.

Making the library a space where everyone belongs and can contribute to our distinctiveness
Phil Cheeseman, Associate Director for Academic Services in the Library, Lancaster University

In April 2021, Lancaster University Library opened a new extension, providing additional study space as well as dedicated spaces to support teaching, research and engagement activities. Concurrent with this we launched our new vision, The Library Towards 2025, which places Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of all we do; with a commitment to connect, innovate and include.

This presentation will share our experiences of using the new spaces, the opportunities they have provided for new connections and partnerships, the actions we’ve taken to be more inclusive and how we celebrate our diverse communities.

Phil Cheeseman is Associate Director for Academic Services in the Library at Lancaster University. His areas of responsibility include teaching, engagement and library special collections and archives. Phil took a lead role in the planning and development of the library extension and in development of the library vision. In addition to his role at Lancaster, Phil is the staff development lead for Academic Libraries North and Co-convenor for the RLUK Associate Directors Network.

Accessibility in Library Services: a holistic approach to an accessible campus
Oliver Ireson, Head of Learning Space Development, University of Birmingham

Oliver will be giving an accessibility-focussed tour of the new main library building at the University of Birmingham, before widening the scope to discuss how those principles of inclusion are applied to various other student-facing services across campus.

Oliver Ireson has worked at UoB for over 15 years, fulfilling various roles related to teaching and learning space design and support. His current role as Head of Learning Space Development, based within Library Services, involves managing the ongoing development of centrally managed teaching and study spaces across campus.

About RLUK’s Space Programme

This meeting is part of RLUK’s Space Programme, a series of events and resources to explore and support its members around spatial redesign and capital-build projects. The programme provides a forum through which colleagues can share their knowledge and experience in a collegiate and supportive environment.

Previous events:

Library spaces in the campus of the future 

Hybrid and blended working approaches and the role of space in libraries