Notes from a Grateful University

Durham University Main Library renamed after legendary man of books, Bill Bryson

Durham University’s Main Library has been named the ‘Bill Bryson Library’ in recognition of the renowned author’s six years spent as University Chancellor.

Bryson is no stranger to books himself, writing numerous best-sellers including, ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’. After stepping down in 2011 to spend more time writing and with his family, he will attend the official opening of the library in November.

The decision has been well received by students. Ollie from Grey said, “Bill Bryson has done a huge amount to bolster the reputation of our university and it is only fitting that the library now be named after our old chancellor as a small testament to his work here.”

Change is afoot

The sign above the entrance doors is not the only thing to have changed; the interior has received a number of developments.

The library’s East Wing has increased in size by 42% and the Computer room on Level 3, home to 74 networked PCs, now has an improved layout as well as new furniture and carpets.

East/West rivalry?

The Level 4 Silent Study Room, now the Library Teaching Room, has another 16 networked PCs available to students when not being used for Library training sessions.The North end of Level 1 hosts a new journals area with electronic movable shelving.

The library’s 20 individual study rooms can now be reserved using an online booking system and there are plans to extend the booking facility to group study rooms in several of the University’s libraries over the course of 2013.

Re-housing the books

Over the summer began the overwhelming task of reordering all of the library’s 1.6 million books into a more simple and logical sequence. The process is still underway after delays with the contractors.

Work in Progress

According to the library’s Communications and Marketing Officer, the books should all be in place by the end of the month. Meanwhile, staff at the Help and Information desk are available to assist with book location.

Fred from Van Mildert conceded he found the process slightly bewildering. “I’m a man of routine who enjoys the simple pleasures of perusing through clearly-marked book-shelves. When I go hunting for a Brontë, the last thing I want to find is a generous section on customs etiquette and folklore.”

The University’s library at the School of Education has also undergone a renaming, now the ‘Leazes Road Library’, to reflect the diverse nature of collections held there.  The facilities there have been modernized and new study areas have been created.