Rumours about the future of Founder’s Library have been set straight by the Uni

We spoke to the Head of PR about the future of our iconic library

Our new library and student services centre, the Emily Wilding Davison Building, is set to open in Autumn 2017, and we’re sure it’s got you asking, “What’s going to happen to Founder’s and Bedford Libraries?” Well, The Tab have found out the answers for you.

We spoke to Head of PR, Amy Sutton, who says that all but a few of the books currently held in Founder’s will be moved to the new library. She told The Tab: “Use of the East Reading Room hasn’t been decided yet… The West Reading Room will remain as a study space. It’s possible that the East Reading Room will too, but the decision has not been made.”

We also spoke to one of the librarians on the matter, who said that all the books from Founder’s will be moved into the new library, and only some low use items such as hard copy dissertations, and journals that students have access to online anyway will be kept on shelves in the West reading room.

Rumours around campus that the East Reading Room is being turned into a staff dining hall were neither confirmed nor denied by the Uni: “[All other spaces] will be adapted for the uses of students and staff,” says Amy. None of us at The Tab know for certain what’ll happen to these spaces, but rumours suggest that more classrooms, or even a new lecture theatre built on the preexisting East Reading Room, are highly possible.

Amy also pointed out that this will not be the first time Founder’s Library has been altered. Though the West Reading Room has always been a reading room, other areas of the library as it stands today have gone through many transformations. The East Reading Room had been a museum from 1886 up to the 1940s, and the ground floor rooms had been used as music practice rooms, and at one point, a gym!

To be fair, our new library looks fantastic, and I have no beef whatsoever with top dog Principal Paul Layzell. RoHo’s expanding, we get that. But that’s no excuse for the shocking changes that are to come.

I happen to think that Founder’s Library is pretty great. It’s quiet, clean, and let’s face it—there’s nothing quite like studying in a castle (obviously Founder’s isn’t actually a castle, but you get my gist). When you quite literally have less than a day to write a 2500-word essay, it’s what can only be described as the “vibe” of Founder’s that’s there to pull you through – that’s with a packet of ProPlus, an average sandwich, and a bottle of sparkling mineral water. Bedford’s alright too, I guess.

Now frankly I don’t care what happens to Bedford, but for those of you who do care, we can confirm that all of Bedford’s books will be moved to the new library along with all of the Founder’s book collection. There are rumuors that the building will also be “adapted” into post-graduate offices. In my opinion, it would be better still if it were demolished.

My special desk in the Founder’s computer area…

In the new library there’ll be a careers and recruitment hub, a Student Services Centre, a dedicated research area for our PhD students, and, best of all, some shops, a bank and a café. There’ll also be a much bigger and better Union Shop, which is a good job because I’m sick and tired of the limited sushi selection in our current Union Shop. Like Bedford, it’ll also be open 24/7, allowing for those thrilling all-nighters!

We know there’ll be plenty of space in the new library, but that’s not where my issue lies. My issue is that it won’t be part of an iconic 19th-century building, and that by virtually closing Founder’s Library RoHo is taking away one of the things which make our Uni so iconic and unique. Why can’t we have both Founder’s AND the new library?

I’ve started a petition on Change.org to prevent the Founder’s library changes, so please go ahead and sign that (it only takes a minute!) You can find it here. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that our special and unique library should not be touched. So go sign the petition! Our Uni need to be clearer to us about the decisions which are being made on campus, we have a right to know. After all, our nine grand a year helps to keep this Uni running!

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