Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University identified a need to re-develop their library and a Learning Centre in Canterbury and a Working Party was put in place to address this. Having carefully considered the nature of learning and teaching undertaken at Canterbury Christ Church University and its future requirements, The Learning Centre Working Party Report (2004) concluded that central to the ongoing development of the University was the need for an integrated philosophy for the delivery of services and the provision of learning environments. At that time the 'traditional' library was based at the North Holmes Road Campus in a building constructed in the seventies which had been extended twice but was now no longer fit for purpose. It housed print-based collections in imposing 6 or 7 shelf high static shelving, with limited learning spaces for students. The report concluded that the development of a technology rich learning centre and library was a key objective which linked to one of the University's strategic priorities "to create a learning environment in which all students are challenged, supported and able to achieve their individual goals".

Open to students in Autumn 2009, Augustine House is the new Library and Student Services Centre, providing state of the art IT facilities, creative learning spaces and access to student services, all under one roof. It offers students exciting spaces to learn, work and socialise.

The building itself is striking - the vibrant design incorporates floor to ceiling glass windows at the front of the building, reflecting the city walls opposite. Glass is used extensively inside the building, allowing light to filter throughout. A glass roofed central area forms the social heart of the building and a roof terrace on the top floor provides spectacular view out over the city walls. Facilities are set over 4 storeys which make the most of approximately 12,000 square metres of floor space. The construction of Augustine House is the biggest building project to be undertaken by the University since the first campus was built in 1962.

Qubiqa was chosen to provide the shelving requirements for this impressive building. Approximately 3,000 linear metres of low level Static Shade S9000 Shelving with Jacob Jensen designed end panels was specially chosen to ensure the library and learning areas were flooded with natural light. The shelving is cleverly interspersed with brightly covered seating and IT study desks on all floors. As part of the design process, Qubiqa suggested special black steel tops with a bevelled edge to the bays to match the interior décor.

Approximately 6,000 linear metres of Electronic mobile SHADE E9000 shelving was used for library shelving on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, adding to the ‘wow factor’ of this spectacular building. To maximise space usage mobile shelving was the solution to store a mix of different media and books, including a rare book collection (under controlled access). High quality wrap around steel end panels give an aesthetically pleasing and modern appearance to the library. The design of the modular decorative end panels with chamfer edges and striking black glass control panels complements and enhances this special learning environment. The University were keen for wheelchair users to be able to easily operate the systems and therefore the Control Panel was placed at a height suitable for disabled students.

Students have open access to the Shade E9000 Electronic system and enjoy using the high-tech electronically controlled shelving.

Naturally, the impressive safety features, ease of use, speed of use and track record with other University Libraries were some of the many reasons Canterbury Christ Church University chose Qubiqa.

Peter Ryan, Head of Library Services, explains: “In planning the shelving for the new Library at Augustine House we were acutely aware of the need to maintain the flexible use of study space; to maintain the open feel to the whole building design; and to develop a shelving system that met the current needs of the University’s library collection now and into the future as well as being visually impressive. The combination of static and mobile shelving from Qubiqa ensured that both of these design objectives were achieved. The high quality finish of the shelving units has added to the look and feel of the library spaces, whilst the simplicity of operating the mobile units has resulted in positive feedback from staff and students.”

“We have achieved a shelving layout appropriate to our needs now, but the flexibility of the mobile system will allow further expansion in years to come, without compromising the initial interior design of the library space. Qubiqa has worked closely with the Project team for the new development, including the architects and library managers, to ensure the construction of the mobile shelving fitted into the building construction, and that the shelving system is fit for purpose.”

Qubiqa’s Electronic system is totally non-discriminating - anyone can press a button, whether small in stature or disabled. All units, however heavily laden, move at once if required and the control panels have been sited at low height enabling the button to be reached by wheelchair users. Many additional accessories such as storage drawers, dividers, pull-out reference shelves, angled display shelves, hanging files and back cladding have also been purchased to hold various media on both the static and mobile shelving, including DVD’s, videos and audio cassettes.

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