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UCL East Library

By Benjamin Meunier, on 15 January 2015

Dear colleagues,

Shortly before Christmas, I gave this presentation to colleagues in UCL Special Collections on the vision for a new library in UCL East: UCL East 151214

Searching for suitable images of “East London” from our digital library, I found the cartoon below. How things have changed since 1901 and An illustrated history and guide to East London…

East London

UCL East is a tremendous opportunity for us to enhance our Outreach activities, and it will become a real showcase for UCL Special Collections. Current plans are to base about half of UCL Special Collections in a new building on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP), with a focus on London Social History. The collections and research activity around those will support work on the UCL Grand Challenge of Intercultural Interaction. Local partners around QEOP include the V&A, Smithsonian Institute and a number of London Boroughs.




The new library in UCL East will also provide hundreds of additional study spaces, to support students who will be living on site and the teaching and learning activity which will be happening there.

These slides give a snapshot of what the Library at UCL East might look like. As for the FAQ on my first slide, the answer is that there won’t be a swimming pool in the library… Do get in touch if you are interested in finding out more, or post any comments below.

4 Responses to “UCL East Library”

  • 1
    A concerned Londoner wrote on 15 January 2015:

    “How things have changed since 1901”

    Hmm, scratch the surface…

    Hopefully UCL’s engagement will benefit the local and disenfranchised communities more than the Olympics did (and promised to do).

  • 2
    Benjamin Meunier wrote on 15 January 2015:

    The cartoon was a product of its time, but it is true that “poverty in Newham is high and life expectancy is lower than the London average.” (http://www.newham.info/Custom/LEA/Demographics.pdf)

    UCL East is a big part of the theme in UCL 2034 entitled “London’s Global University: in London, of London and for London” (p3 of the slides). Community engagement initiatives are ongoing, and hopefully they will prove to benefit the people who live in the area. In terms of Library Services’ contribution, there is a lot of local interest in a building with learning spaces, especially quiet study rooms and computer workrooms. By making our Special Collections accessible to the local community (and particularly schools and young adults), we can play our part in encouraging better educational attainment and become a cultural centre for local people, as well as a research facility.

  • 3
    A concerned Londoner wrote on 16 January 2015:

    I’m glad that the Library is committed to those goals, and confident it will deliver within its somewhat limited scope.
    Of course, if UCL as a whole wishes to genuinely encourage better educational attainment then it will need to use its political clout to encourage the removal of the economic blockade that faces many gifted A-level students lacking the requisite affluence to undertake (let alone consider) higher education in the UK.
    Hopefully the fact that Library Services is slowly building bridges between the university and neglected communities in London will help lend some weight to this process.

  • 4
    Benjamin Meunier wrote on 26 January 2015:

    The Provost sets out the context and underlines UCL’s commitment to Widening Participation (WP) in this article from last week. “WP is about targeting the ‘most able, but least likely’ to go on to university.” https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/staff/staff-news/0115/22012015-provosts-view-widening-participation-and-fair-access

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