During the week of 19-23 March 2018 the University of Kent celebrated the formal opening of its enlarged and refurbished Templeman Library after a £27m upgrade and its birthday of 50 years.
The library, now the biggest in Kent, has increased in size by 5,000 square metres to 18,750 square metres and now houses a collection of more than one million books and journals. In total the shelves in the library contain 12 miles of books and its floor space is equivalent to 95 tennis courts.
As well as more shelf space, the extended library includes many more study spaces for students, new seminar rooms, digital classrooms and a 260-seat lecture theatre to provide conferencing and teaching space.
Work to refurbish the existing 1960s-built library began in 2015, with the University maintaining full access to services for the 9,000 people using the facility every day.
Both the new section and the older refurbished sections of the library now incorporate the latest in environmental best practice, including maximising the use of natural light and ventilation.
The week of celebrations recognised the library’s history, impact and future and started with a series of tours of the rare collection of books and artefacts held by the University’s Special Collections and Archives and a presentation of their National Archives Accreditation award. An exhibition also highlighted some fascinating stories of the Library’s development.
A provocative ‘Lecture in the Library’ was held by Kent Professor Frank Furedi, author of the book Power of Reading: From Socrates to Twitter who explored the question ‘Why is reading always a problem?’ and a unique edition of the BBC show Dateline featuring a lively discussion between University of Kent Chancellor Gavin Esler, FTI Consulting’s Head of UK Public Affairs, Alex Deane, and Kent students on topics including the best outcome for Brexit, the future of University funding and freedom of speech.
A special edition of the BBC radio programme ‘The Listening Project’, themed around universities, libraries and students was hosted by Fi Glover, Kent alumna and Honorary Graduate, who also officially opened the building by unveiling a plaque.
View the week’s events on Flickr here.