Demco designed and provided furnishings for the state of the art Learning Resource Centre at Croydon College. The library is within the new rotunda extension, part of a ┬ú33m refurbishment project, which also includes additional learning and social space, a new performance hall and recording studios and office accommodation for senior management.
Announcing the third phase of building the College said: ÔÇ£The start of this new phase of work is another milestone in the continuing development of the college.
ÔÇ£This is not a facelift. It will provide some of the best facilities in London and will enable us to continue delivering the training needed by both residents and businesses in South London at every level, from entry to post-graduate.ÔÇØ
The library provides a learning commons approach to bringing learning resources and social sharing together in one space; housed across three floors in the rotunda and with no straight lines and only curved walls presented some challenges for the design. The original tender brief was to have the project split into shelving only and other design. It was DemcoÔÇÖs expertise in being able to overcome the challenges and offer a new way of approaching the project that so impressed the library team and won them the complete contract for concept, installation and delivery.
Tom Butler, Head of Library and Learning Resources, Croydon College was very pleased with the decision to go with Demco ÔÇ£It took away a lot of stress having one company and one point of contact managing the whole thing. It gave us a more joined up approachÔÇØ.
Self service had been introduced into the library in September 2008 and with over 95% transactions now done via self service this influenced the decision to have no counters in the new space. Library staff are now available on the library floor and communicate with each other via Bluetooth headsets. Self service has meant that, instead of large counters, Demco designed and manufactured single green computer pods, some with embedded tills that are located through the library floors.
Tom Butler adds: ÔÇ£We took the Ryanair approach to introducing self service! ie., take away all other options so that students could not default to the nearest counter. So much of our time before was spent managing queues at the counters and now we effectively have none.ÔÇØ
As the learning resource centre was to be the ÔÇÿshowcaseÔÇÖ for the new build it was decided to go with DemcoÔÇÖs very stylish, highly engineered and distinctive Lineal shelving with light diffusing glass end panels. The study areas are in a University Style zoned for groups of up to six, small groups and paired work, and a general quiet study area. A key objective was to give students room to spread books and work materials around themselves and positioned under natural daylight students benefit from the focus on space and light. Soft seating, some with built in power extension access and swivel out laptop tables, are brightly colour zoned across the three floors.
The College attracts students from a very wide geographical area bringing with them a broad range of expectations and needs. The new learning resource centre has proved to be the showcase to attract new students and with front line staff freed up to offer the very highest ÔÇÿcustomer serviceÔÇÖ, students benefit from the very best physical space managed by an enthusiastic and committed library team.
Tom Butler: ÔÇ£It has been good working with Demco and we have been really impressed throughout. Students always say how great the library is and from our point of view the transition has been exceptionally easyÔÇØ.
Exciting inside and out, this development ensures that the College remains at the forefront of training in South London.
To see our case study of Croydon College click here.