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LIBER Architecture Group seminar 2022

By Benjamin Meunier, on 14 June 2022

At the end of April, I was privileged to attend the LIBER Architecture Group seminar in Luxembourg, which was postponed for 2 years due to the pandemic. It was a joyful opportunity to re-connect with colleagues from European institutions and to learn about the latest developments in library design.

I had been to the University of Luxembourg Belval campus previously, when I visited as part of the organising committee. The campus on the old steelworks is far more built-up now than I remembered and reminded me of the changes on the Olympic Park in London, where construction around the stadium makes the area between Stratford station and UCL East feel like a network of streets, rather than wind-swept plains beyond the Westfield shopping centre. We will of course have our own new library spaces in UCL East from Term 1 of the new academic session, which will be complemented by another (larger) library site opening in October 2023.

The key points from the seminar are summarised in the article below from LIBER. My feeling from the presentations was that for student-facing spaces, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland  and our very own UCL Student Centre continue to be reference points for new library design.

The 20th LIBER LAG (Architecture Working Group) Seminar 2022: ‘Designing for Learning and Scholarship: A Challenge for Librarians, Architects, and All’

Library design and architecture is also crucial to delivering state of the art services and advancing Open Science, and the latest LIBER Architecture Group seminar in Luxembourg (27-29 April 2022) focused on publicly-accessible libraries such as Oodi (Helsinki) or LocHal (Tilburg) as examplars. There was massive consultation with citizens in shaping the Oodi Library, which is perceived as a “living room for the city” and the range of services available at LocHal includes events where local residents and library visitors can learn new skills in “skills laboratories” (a number of sessions are led by local volunteers). Examples of these laboratories include a Digilab, GameLab, FutureLab, FoodLab, KennisMakerij (LearningLab), TijdLab (TimeLab), Stemmingmakerij (DialogueLab), WoordLab (WordLab) and workshop rooms.

The presentations from the seminar will be uploaded on the LIBER Architecture Group webpage shortly: https://libereurope.eu/working-group/liber-architecture-working-group-lag/

If you would like to find out more about latest European developments in library architecture, the LIBER Architecture Group maintains a database of projects: https://www.librarybuildings.eu/

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