building as horrid, depressing, cold, and gray. Action had to be taken if the
university was to maintain its reputation and continue to attract and retain
students and staff of the highest caliber.
In the summer of 2004, the refurbishment program was reinstated beginning
with Levels 6 and 7 of the original 1968 building and was quite comprehensive.
Changes included new air-conditioning, energy-efficient lighting, wireless
technology, audio-visual alarm systems, and new carpets and furniture.
Banquette seating for group activities was installed and toilet facilities for the
disabled were created on each level. Reaction to the refurbishment was instantly
positive and was reflected in the qualitative and quantitative LibQUAL+® results
in 2005. This comment from a postgraduate from the Faculty of Arts is one
The refurbished levels are fantastic. A comfortable environment conducive
to study is very important, and it’s great… Couches on Level 9 would be a
great idea for us literature students and our novels.
Encouraged and enabled by the positive reactions, the library was able to
secure continued annual capital investment from the university for similar
projects until all 11 levels of the original 1968 building had been refurbished by
2006. This included the requested couches and the creation of Research Rooms
for postgraduates, staff, and visiting academics. In 2006, Glasgow University
Library was a winner of the British Building Improvement Project awarded by
the Institute of Maintenance and Building Management.
Other significant efforts have continued since 2006 resulting in the
recognition of the importance of the library in the student learning experience
based on several campus and international surveys.6 In 2007, other space needs
were addressed by presenting a business case linking investment in e-journal
backfiles with the release of space within the building. The goal was to create
additional work places and technology access. By removing shelving and
volumes of print stock, the library added more seating in an open access area,
group study rooms, and IT training suites. In addition, a relaxation and
refreshment area named the “Rest and Be Thoughtful” was opened. The
furniture in the open access area was chosen for its flexibility and mobility.7
The most dramatic, innovative, and responsive refurbishment to date was
the transformation of the Level 3 annex into a relaxed, informal learning café.
The facilities include study booths for groups working on projects, round
LibQUAL+® and the “Library as Place” at the University of Glasgow
C O N T I N U E D
AUGUST 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC