The future of the research library is open and inclusive, while state-of-the-art technology is an integral part of the way services are developed and spaces are experienced. The potential of digital and remote technologies to facilitate collaboration and synergies around collections transforms the way these are accessed and used, facilitating scholarship and learning, and empowering communities. However, in a future where research and education is increasingly digital and working practices are hybrid or virtual, what is the distinct role of library space as well as its form?

Developing a vision for library spaces requires taking into account a variety of factors, such as the role and requirements of collections, the behaviour and needs of the library community as well as societal and environmental challenges and the impact of the latest technological advancements on research, learning, and professional practices. How do we plan strategically for the future of the library space? How do our current strategies shape its future form and purpose? How will researchers, students, and other user communities experience library space in the campus of the future? These are some of the questions RLUK explored during this event which focused on (re-)imaging the physical and digital library space of the future.


Chair: Kate Price, University Librarian, Queen Mary University London

Presentation: Library Space as a reflection of University Strategy

Jeremy Upton, Director of Library and University Collections, University of Edinburgh

Jeremy Upton is the Director of Library and University Collections at the University of Edinburgh. A music graduate, he started his professional library career as a music librarian before moving into a technical services management. Jeremy joined the University of Edinburgh in April 2015.As Director, Jeremy is responsible for ensuring the professional management of and access to the University’s Library and Museum collections, both physical and digital and for their physical environment,Jeremy has a long-standing interest in the development of library buildings. He is currently involved in creating a new five-year plan for the University’s grade A listed Main Library building.


Presentation: Slow and fast change: planning the future of University of Leeds Libraries’ student spaces

Michael Fake, Associate Director: Student Learning & Experience, University of Leeds Libraries

Michael Fake is Associate Director: Student Learning & Experience at University of Leeds Libraries, where he has worked since 2016. He has responsibility for the Library estate and space planning, and leads the library’s Sustainable Environments programme.


Presentation: A UK approach to the collective retention of print monographs: space, preservation and access

Jane Saunders, Associate Director: Content and Discovery, University of Leeds Libraries and Sandra Bracegirdle, Associate Director: Collection Strategies, The University of Manchester Library

Jane Saunders is currently Associate Director: Content and Discovery at Leeds University Libraries. Her interests include collaborative collection management: Leeds was a key player in the development of the Copac Collection Management Tool, now succeeded by Jisc Library Hub Compare. She is member of The Jisc Library Hub Community Advisory Board and in 2016/17 she collaborated with White Rose colleagues on a Jisc supported project to explore collection overlap between the White Rose libraries using OCLC’s GreenGlass tool. In previous roles at Leeds University Libraries Jane played a leading role in the construction of the Laidlaw Library (opened in 2015) and in the refurbishment of the Edward Boyle Library (completed in 2017).

Sandra Bracegirdle is Associate Director for Collection Strategies at the University of Manchester Library and a member of the Library’s Executive Team. She has strategic responsibility for the Library’s content budget and for the management and development of the Library’s modern collections. Sandra is a member of the Jisc Library Hub Community Advisory Board and has a long-standing interest in collaborative collection management.