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A momentous week in the history of UCL Library Services

By Paul Ayris, on 5 December 2014

Opening of the new learning spaces in the UCL Eastman Institute Dental LibraryOn 3 December 2014, I was honoured to be asked to help open the new learning spaces in the UCL Eastman Institute Dental Library. Pictured at the opening alongside me are Professor Stephen Porter, Head of the Eastman Dental Institute, Robbie Lumsden and Anna Di Iorio.

At the opening, I described how this first week in December 2014 is a momentous one in the history of UCL Library Services. First, Professor Porter and I were jointly opening the fantastic new learning spaces in the UCL Eastman Dental Institute Library. All the team involved in the design and delivery of these spaces should be congratulated. The new learning pod, pictured in the photo, was the centre of attention at the opening, with many guided tours to explain how it operates. But the wider learning spaces in the Library are cutting-edge – modern, student-centric and offering the best possible support for the 21st-century ways in which students now learn.

Second, I talked a little about the merger on 2 December 2014 of the Institute of Education into UCL, to create the new UCL Institute of Education. This merger has turned UCL into a predominantly postgraduate institution, with over 18,000 postgraduate students. This means that UCL is the largest postgraduate institution in the UK and the biggest Higher Education institution in London. The Newsam Library and Archive at the UCL Institute of Education is the most significant library, probably anywhere in the world, devoted to the study of education in the context of the social sciences.

Third, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Autumn statement has confirmed funding of £141 million to support the development of UCL’s new research campus in UCL East at Stratford. This is one of the most important developments in UCL’s 200-year history. UCL Library Services is planning the construction of an 800-seat learning hub there to support the UCL researchers and students who will be based in Stratford. The Hub will also be a collaboration with local London boroughs, particularly the London borough of Newham, and be open especially to young learners, 14-18 years old. UCL Special Collections will have one of its two new bases there, to act as a focus for outreach and public engagement. An early development will be the creation of a Citizen Science project connected to the history of London – an area in which UCL Library Services is a specialist collector in London as a whole.

The first week of December 2014 is therefore a momentous one in the history of UCL Library Services, never more so because of the opening of the cutting-edge facilities at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute Library – a sign of how UCL cares about its student community

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