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Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

By Paul Ayris, on 19 February 2019

The Student Centre is live!

As colleagues will know, the UCL Student Centre opened its doors to our students yesterday. The news story behind the opening can be found here. The £67.4 million multi-purpose Student Centre, located in the centre of London, provides 1,000 new study spaces, over eight levels, for UCL’s 42,000-strong student community.

At lunch time today, I took the opportunity to walk round the architectural spaces which the Student Centre provides and to discover how UCL students are taking to the additional study spaces which UCL is providing. Centrally located, the Student Centre provides wonderful group and quiet study spaces for UCL students which are open 24 x 7. The new study environment does not replace existing library provision, because from the start I decided that the Student Centre would contain no paper copy. It is easily within walking distance of the UCL Main and Science Libraries.

What we have been able to do, therefore, in bringing the Student Centre online is to create a fully digital learning environment – one which encourages both quiet study and group/collaborative working. There are also bookable study rooms which students can reserve for discrete group working, intelligent lockers, and banks of laptops which can be loaned.

The building also houses the public-facing services from the UCL Registry and thus provides a one-stop shop for student learning and support queries.

The space the building occupies was originally the College Hall, which was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War. It has taken decades for UCL to decide the use to which this plot of land should be put. It is fantastic that the Library has gained such a footprint in this wonderful building; and it is the Library who will be responsible for operating the building now that our students are beginning to use it. Already in the second day of its opening, I have received e-mails from university libraries all over the country asking to be able to come and visit the Centre and to discuss with us the UCL model for the library of the 21st century.

Congratulations to everyone in UCL Library Services who has contributed to delivering on this brilliant project. It is a proud moment in our history that we have added such a prestigious site and project into the UCL family of libraries.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

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