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Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris9 March 2018

Library Committee, March 2018

On 5 March, Library Committee met for its second meeting of the year. There were three items of substantive business – a report from me on progress in implementing the Library Strategy, an analysis of the ongoing work that the Library is pursuing in terms of collection management, and possibilities for future development of learning space provision across UCL Library Services.

My report to Library Committee on strategy implementation is available as a pdf file: PVP Report.  The Report is arranged under the 6 Key Performance Areas of the Library Strategy. At the meeting, I highlighted two or three issues for further discussion – future provision for the needs of research postgraduate students (PGRs), attainment in the ReadingLists@UCL service, and an overview of the results of the 2017 Staff Survey, with a note that a Working Group of Library staff is writing an Action Plan to accompany the findings, which will be presented at the next meeting of Library Committee.

My Report shows that the Library has been successful in a number of activities across the whole range of the Library Strategy. The biggest single challenge, which is also something to celebrate, will be the opening of 1,000 digitally-enabled learning spaces by this time next year in the New Student Centre.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris17 February 2018

New Student Centre

Friday 16 February 2018 saw the topping out ceremony for the new Student Centre. This tremendous building development is a pivotal objective of the UCL 2034 strategy and of the Library Strategy, which are designed to enhance the Student Experience and to provide an environment fit for education, research and outreach in the 21st century.

The photograph to the left shows the current state of the interior of the building. Topping out marks the fact that the building has reached its full height in terms of construction. No fitting out has yet been undertaken in the interior of the building. That comes next.

A large group of UCL staff, including members from the Library, joined the construction teams to celebrate the topping out ceremony. There were a number of speeches to mark the occasion led by the Provost and President of UCL, Professor Michael Arthur. The Provost spoke of the importance of the UCL 2034 strategy to deliver a first class student and research experience. The delivery of the vision contained in UCL 2034 is of fundamental importance for the future health and vitality of the institution as one of the great research universities of the world.

The topping out ceremony itself took the form of the Provost inscribing a concrete block with his name and title, which will now be secured into the structure of the building.

The Student Centre, when fully open this time next year, will mark a transformation for the service which the Library can provide to UCL students. The building will be operated by the Library and contain 1000 digitally-enabled learning spaces. There will be no paper provision in the building. Library collections will remain in the existing UCL family of libraries. If borrowed by the student they can, of course, be brought to the new Student Centre for personal use. The type of learning spaces the Library will provide is being closely modelled on the learning spaces which we already provide in the Cruciform Hub and in the UCL Institute of Child Health. These are in fact the model we aspire to for all UCL’s libraries.

One of the most striking things, which I noticed when I joined the UCL group for the topping out ceremony, is that the views from the top of the building are stunning. Pictured here is the view of Wilkins’ Dome in UCL and UCLH across the road in Gower Street. And the Student Centre will offer a new thoroughfare through UCL, helping to unite the campus and to bring a greater sense of community to staff and students on the site.

The opening of the Student Centre marks a very important development for the Library. It will transform the Student Experience and the way students use libraries and learning spaces across UCL. This will give us the opportunity to continue to re-think our existing library spaces and how they are used.

The topping out ceremony marks the start of a year of communication in and from the Library as UCL fits out the interior of the building and we plan for the full operation of the Centre. Ben Meunier this week gave an interview to CILIP, and there will be other interviews and national Newsletter articles to announce the birth of what is a major development in academic libraries throughout the whole country. It augurs well for a bright future for UCL students working in a cutting-edge building.

Paul Ayris


UCL Library Services

New Student Centre and Wilkins Terrace Update – Gordon St Entrance/Exit Closure

Ricky Estwick7 July 2016

Works on the 2nd phase of the New Student Centre and Wilkins Terrace are about to commence.

This will mean that general traffic, vehicles and pedestrians will no longer have access via the Gordon St entrance/exit from 12th July 2016 for approximately one and a half years. All other entrances/exits will not be affected.

There are ongoing discussions regarding deliveries and I will update information where relevant. We will continue to work closely with Estates and Project Management teams to ensure the least amount of disruption to our library sites.

myUCL: a flurry of news about UCL Library Services

Benjamin Meunier13 March 2015

I am highlighting this week’s edition of myUCL, the weekly newsletter for UCL students, viewable at:


The opening of the UCL Senate House Hub, with its 144 new study spaces for UCL students, features as one of the headline stories. The learning space was designed by Burwell Deakins Architects (the same firm as for the Cruciform Hub) and it incorporates quiet and group working areas. A set of stunning framed images from UCL Special Collections provide a “homely” touch for UCL visitors in the grand Senate House building.










An event for UCL students and staff to find out more about the New Student Centre is scheduled for Wednesday 18 March in the South Cloisters, Wilkins building. The building will provide 1,000 learning spaces, managed by Library Services.





Transcribe Bentham, the crowdsourcing project based around Bentham’s manuscripts in UCL Special Collections, was praised by the German State Secretary for Education. You can find out more about the project and UCL Library Services’ involvement on the Bentham Project webpage.


And finally, if any colleagues are interested in the UCL Teaching & Learning conference, hosted at the UCL Institute of Education on Monday 13 April, you can register now.