The £32M David Wilson Library at Leicester University has won the prestigious SCONUL Library Design Award. Cardiff University has taken the honours in the 'smaller buildings' category. The Award, presented by the Society of College National and University Libraries (SCONUL), rewards the best new or refurbished higher education libraries in national and university institutions. The David Wilson Library, named after a local businessman who donated £2M, represents a significant leap forward in service provision and a snap-shot of the quality of future library services.
Ann Rossiter, Executive Director at SCONUL, said:
"There is a very real chance that students will be required to pay significantly more for higher education in the near future. Student demands therefore regarding quality of services are only going to increase.
"This Award shows the importance of providing these students with high quality design and comfort combined with state-of-the-art technologies. This quality of building and finish is going to become increasingly common.
"Libraries form an important part of a university's offer and can be the difference between high and low levels of student satisfaction. Leicester's building and student facilities have helped to significantly improve student satisfaction and offer a blueprint for how university's can take advantage of the opportunities presented to them by their libraries."
Sheila Cannell, chair of the judging panel said,
"Leicester's Library is a benchmark and deserving winner, offering a beacon for quality design and scholarship in UK universities. The new space provides students with an exceptional learning environment. Importantly, it also recognises the changing demands of students.
"We have a robust judging process for the Design Award and the panel has travelled to the four corners of the UK and Ireland to examine the candidates. We have been extremely impressed by the overall quality of library design throughout."
The 'Smaller Buildings' category won by Cardiff University is presented to developments of less than 3000 sq m. The full list of Awards and winners includes:
Winner for Large Library Award: Leicester University
Winner for Small Library Award: Cardiff University for Trevithick Library
Highly commended (3 libraries, all in Large Library Award category): University College Cork for Postgraduate Research Library, University of Greenwich for Universities at Medway Drill Hall Library, University of Sheffield for Information Commons.