Designing libraries: how the Bodleian’s Weston Library was transformed

(12 September 2016) The Bodleian Libraries’ new Weston Library reopened to readers in 2014 following a three-year, £80 million refurbishment and is now a finalist for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016.

The Grade II listed building, originally known as the New Bodleian Library, was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930s and opened in 1946 as a working library and storage facility. After 70 years of service the building was in need of upgrading in order to meet the National Archives’ Standard for Record Repositories; severe overcrowding of bookstacks along with non-compliance with fire regulations meant the building and the libraries were at risk of losing their heritage status.

The vision of this ambitious project was to fully modernize the library, overhauling the storage facilities for the Bodleian Libraries’ special collections to meet the latest standards. The aim was also to dramatically improve research facilities to support scholarship, with the renovation of three reading rooms and creation of new centres of scholarship: the Centre for Digital Scholarship and the Visiting Scholars Centre.

The CILIP website has the illustrated story by Toby Kirtley.