Barr Smith Library redesign – what would you like?

The Library, in conjunction with Property Services, is planning a redesign of the Barr Smith Library. This will be a major undertaking, and will take a number of years to complete, but at this early stage we would very much like to hear your ideas. Please tell us, by leaving a comment on this message, or by email, what you would like to see in a redesigned Barr Smith.

Long term plans include new entrances and stairs, and relocation of some services.

In the shorter term (this year) we are intending to redesign Level 3 North, relocating the Unbound journals and moving the group discussion and student computers from levels one and two to this area. Levels one and two would then become areas for quiet study only. Other possible ideas for this area include a cafe or vending machines, and lounge seating. Again, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this change. Please leave us a comment with your ideas, preferably by June 10 for consideration by the project group.

All ideas welcome!

This entry was posted in Surveys. Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses

  1. Arvinth says:

    forgot to say a thing..
    m a computer science student.. i couldnt find much collection on programming books..
    i borrow some books in City Council Library,
    got some from UniSA library thro’ my friends.. please plan some big collection for programming languages.. thank you..

  2. Tim Nailer says:

    A redesign is a great idea! To second the general trend in this thread, more entrances would be great especially to the Hughes Building and at ground level (though definitely not through the reading room).

    Also, having a cafe/vending machines isn’t really a good idea. As another commenter said, there’s a couple really close to the library and if the extra exits do end up happening then getting acoffee from the art gallery/mayo/wherever will be even easier.

    My big problem with the library as it is is the study rooms. Soundproofing is a definite must, especially in the single-person rooms on level one. (And what’s with having them right next to reshelving?)

    Other commenters have mentioned looking to other libraries for ideas and I’d suggest adding the UniSA libraries to that list. Seriously, walk over to City East and see how they do things (not everything’s better over there – the architecture’s horrible and their collection is limited – but in terms of facilities and services they really do leave you guys for dead). One thing they have is equipped study rooms (with whiteboards, computers, etc). Not all of them are equipped, but you can specify what you want when you book a room online ( Also, I know you have a screen showing the availability of computers but theirs conveys the information better ( You can tell at a glance where the most computers are free and just go there. Also, they have a suggestion box!

    Still, this blogthing is pretty much a suggestion box (albeit a slightly less noticeable one) too so thanks to you guys for letting us all have a say.

  3. Viv Bachelier says:

    Cafes and lounges are great, but it is VITAL they not be near private study or quiet study areas, and the purposes of those areas is exactly that, to have a silent interruption, distraction free place in which to get some serious study done. Too many other universities have fallen for the trap of trying to make libraries more ‘cool’ and they just end up like Borders, a social hang out, that just happens to have books – we have those places.

    Some students actually want to get work done and need a silent desk area in which to work. There perhaps should be a sound proof reading room too, a place where you can hear a pin drop, so that those of us who like silence.

  4. Muhammad says:

    Dear Library,

    I would like more attractive library staff, to increase the libraries appeal to a wider variety of students =)

  5. Steph says:

    My favourite place in the Library is the Reading Room. It would be great to see some restoration happen there as some desks/chairs are a little worse for wear(please do not modernise it though!!!)

    It would be great to make use of more natural light and to make the library a bright, welcoming place where people would like to come and study.

  6. Lily Pearce says:

    I would love to see a Cafe (serving Fairtrade coffee of course) on the top level. While i think computer acess would be improved by concentrating most on the top level, i think its important to have some computers on other levels and in other areas too. Therefor people can acess computers and books simultaneously, and not have to carry heaps of books around that will then need transporting between levels for reshelving. i have to say that having the journals and the reference on the top level is reaaly sillly, hardly anyone uses them, and i personally spend most of my time down stairs, wandering between gloomy shelves in the cold! Thanks.

  7. gm says:

    1. Make the small study rooms soundproof – personally I don’t see the point of these private rooms if you can’t talk in them without disturbing others. Maybe even include a DB meter in the room so people on the outside can see how loud it actually is in there 🙂

    2. More power points. Perhaps some in “floor traps” (small boxes inset into the floor with folding lids), in the carpeted areas.

    That’s all I can think of so far… but I’d really like to see #1 done.

  8. Donna says:

    I think, although it would be a HUGE amount of work, that the filing system should be changed. I don’t get it and I am not finding the books I need. Half of one set of numbers is in a different area. I don’t get the decimal numbers and the letters. I avoid working in the library coz I find it uncomfortable. An ajoining cafe sounds nice, but not in the middle or something. Most upgrades probably wouldn’t affect me since I don’t like staying in the library anyway.

  9. Vedrana says:

    I think there should be improved printing facilities for the computer bays. The swipe card system for the printers on the lower levels is just inconvenient.

  10. Vedrana says:

    Just one more thing…I know this isn’t really to do with design per se, but maybe the multimedia section should invest in more microfilm readers that can print.

  11. Lorenzo says:

    If you have some cash lying around, why don’t you fix the stuff you already have first. The computers on the 1st floor have been out of order for the two and a half years I’ve been using this library. So either shape em up or ship em out.

  12. Ed says:

    Glass roofs so you can look up and see the clouds.

  13. reniinyss says:

    on the 8th day when the flowers were blooming, the birds were singing and sun was shining, god declared: “let there be food in the library”.

  14. Michael says:

    Paul is right. The redesign budget and the stock budget would be completely different. The library should focus on things that can be improved, in a cost effective manner.

    The University, and the library, are, after all, a business (anyone who disagrees, rent a book, and keep it for a few months, will soon see what I mean). As such, any construction that goes on to the BSL would have to be improvements to already existing structures, rather than create new additions (sorry to disappoint cafe supporters, but installing a cafe would not be improving already existing structures, rather creating a new one).

    Therefore, in my mind, the most cost effective improvements that have been mentioned are the underground connections between the library and the surrounding buildings being exploited for student use, a vast improvement to the amount of private study areas, and improved climate control for the whole building.

    The underground access is easy. Remove swipe card door, replace with guard, stool and magnetic sensor gate, like at the main entrance. easy.

    An increase in the amount of study areas would be a challenge, because that means the removal of something else, which could create more problems than it solves. So I amend the previous suggestion of ‘vast improvement to the amount of study areas’ to a vast improvement to the already existing study areas. This is easily accomplished.

    However, the most fiscally challenging suggestion is the climate control issue. The sheer cost, per year, of being able to effectively run an air conditioning unit of the size required to heat/cool the entire expanse of the BSL would be so astronomically high, that any future budgetary towards any book/resource increase would be unattainable because the cost of running the ‘redesigned’ library. For this issue, I have no answer, but those are suggestions, for what they are worth… And being a student at Adelaide Uni, I’d assume very little.

    Thank you for your time.

  15. Jade says:

    Perhaps some small study areas amongst the shelves to open it up a bit.
    (I feel very claustrophobic in the library and it makes it very difficult to get books.)

    Also more lift services for the students who can’t easily use the stairs.

    More natural light – I don’t think a small coffee shop on the top floor would be a bad thing. Often students don’t have breaks from their studies because it means having to pack everything up and go in search of an open cafe which is very annoying if you have short load books.

  16. wishes says:

    A renovation when we can’t even afford an online subscription to Sage journals? I guess image is more important than content…

    I agree an entrance through the reading room wouldn’t work as it would require staff & security which would create noise & spoil the atmosphere. But other entrances would be good especially for people with disabilities.

    Can we have the copy card machines close to at least one place where they’re needed, ie: the books, the photocopiers, the printers, or Reserve?! It’s very trying to have to leave your computer, carry piles of books & bags around & up & down stairs, or check in & out of Reserve, just because you ran out of credit.

    Yes, drinks would be good in a small special area, or a tiny cafe like Briefs. Nothing bigger.

    Lounge seating & keeping noise areas to level 3 are good ideas.

    I don’t think the stacks need natural light but can we please have the flouros replaced when they go out! Trying to read call numbers in the dark or under flashing lights is very headache-inducing.

    Other than that I also like the dungeon feel – I think there’s ghosts in the 300s!

  17. wishes says:

    And one more thing – architects keen on postmodern concrete & glass should remember the popularity of Hogwarts…

  18. astrid says:

    i agree with the no food or drink rules in the library, so i think you’ll find it even harder to manage with a cafe in the building. More than one entrance would be awesome (though id be loathed to open up the old entrance as it will ruin the fantastic peace and quiet of the reading room) there are not enough quiet areas as it is. I like the idea of having the larger study areas upstairs – away from the single study desks. I agree that there are not enough places in the uni at the moment to organise group presentations etc without dirty looks, and also – its just nice to study with friends without annoying other people.

  19. Simon Coward says:

    Access to computers is always an issue. To alleviate this I bring in my laptop computer and use the wireless network. More power points throughout the library would be advantageous. Thank you