SCONUL Library Design Award 2013 - Mon, 22 Apr 2013

We are pleased to announce that applications are now invited for the 2013 awards.


There are many awards for buildings made by the architecture and building services organisations. The SCONUL award is distinctive in that it is made by a library body in recognition of newly-designed spaces which function effectively in meeting the needs of users and library staff, and which also meet the demanding requirements of a modern learning and research environment. The award identifies and celebrates examples of best practice in the period 2009-2011.


Previous award winners include University of Leicester Library, Trevithick Library at the University of Cardiff, and the Sir Michael Cobham Library at the University of Bournemouth.


There will be 2 categories of awards, for spaces with under 2000 square metres, and for those with 2000+ square metres. The criteria for the eligibility for the award are:

  • It should have been completed between January 2009 and 30 June 2012
  • All types of building projects: new buildings, extensions, conversions and refurbishments will be eligible
  • Any library, learning centre or learning resource centre which a SCONUL member library manages is eligible. Applications should normally be made by the official SCONUL Representative.

Information about the previous award winners can be found here.


The application pro-forma is available here.


Applications and subsequent presentations, should consider 4 broad themes:

  • The narrative of the redevelopment; stakeholder involvement; the development of the project and its implementation.
  • Critical reflection on how the building works for its users.
  • How the building has changed the service delivery.
  • How the building has changed since opening.

The awards will be judged using the following criteria:


Strategic relevance

  • How does the development fit the organisational mission - how does the space fit with the mission and strategy of the institution?


  • How does the design meet the objectives of the development e.g. functionality of design, flexibility, fit for the need of the users, fit for digital preservation issues?
  • Evidence the creativity and innovation of design e.g. interior design, fit with external space where available.
  • How has the design facilitated service innovation?
  • How does the design support accessibility e.g. disabled access, intuitive design, signage, security and safety?


  • What has been the impact on the user experience?
  • What impact has there been on service development and delivery e.g. has the development delivered on your service plans?
  • What impact has the development had on staff e.g. staff involvement in service and design planning, working practice and staff spaces?

Efficiency and sustainability

  • How has the development contributed to the efficiency and sustainability of the operation? - this could include service efficiencies, green agenda etc.


As far as possible visits by the judging panel (SCONUL Library Design Award Group) to libraries selected for further consideration will take place between 24 June and 12 July.


After visits the panel will make recommendations to the SCONUL Executive Board. There will be one award winner in each category and awards of highly commended may be made.


We would be pleased if you could send your proposals (electronically) to Liz Waller ( by 13 May 2013.