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The Harrow Library at Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design reopens with a new design and cutting edge technology

21 December 2016

Sketch of the first floor Harrow Library by Architects Rock Townsend

The University of Westminster’s £2 million refurbishment project of the Harrow Library has now been completed with the ground and first floors renovated and developed to offer more comfortable study space and innovative tools for experimentation and development.

The refurbishment was conducted by Rock Townsend who developed Harrow Library’s second floor in 2015 and won an international design award for their work on University of Westminster’s Marylebone Campus.

A new MacBook self-service loan system has been added to the ground floor. Students can use this system to borrow a MacBook laptop using their University card and date of birth at any time. Find more information and a video tutorial on how to use the self-service.

The first floor at Harrow Library now offers a new training room for Academic Liaison Librarians, where they will deliver information literacy sessions, as well as the unique Emerging Media Space (EMS) which will provide all Westminster students broader access to technology based tools and resources.

Students using first floor Harrow Library
Study area, first floor Harrow Library, courtesy Rock Townsend

Activities supported in the EMS include microprocessor devices such as the Arduino, Makey Makey and Raspberry Pi; wearable technology for programmable fabric and ubiquitous computing; circuit and hardware building; motion-capture and compositing; augmented reality; interactive environments; location aware devices and applications; facilities for specialist printing including lenticular and 3D printing and last but not least, the interactive iWall.

The library’s first floor also features a group study space with large screens to facilitate group viewing, creation spaces, semi-private spaces, and new Macs and PCs with printers and copiers as well as new toilet facilities.

Students using computers in Harrow Library, First Floor
Newly refurbished first floor of the Harrow Library, courtesy Rock Townsend

When speaking about the refurbishment, Senior Academic Liaison Librarian Eleri Kyffin said: “The refurbishment has changed not just the look of the library but also seems to have changed the atmosphere. A colleague has described our first floor as café culture - but without the products.

“We seem to have more students in the space, and they appear to be staying longer. It’s also fascinating to observe the variety of learning activities taking place – from the more traditional reading and browsing book collections through to group discussions and group work; presentation practice, meetings and developing digital skills and digital artwork.

“I’m looking forward to the final part of the refurbishment, which is revamping the garden courtyard which will involve a crane delivering our outdoor reading sheds.”

Learn more about the University of Westminster’s Harrow library.

Main image: Architects drawing of first floor refurbishment, courtesy Rock Townsend

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

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