Winners of the Library Design Awards - Fri, 29 Nov 2019

SCONUL LIbrary Design Award 2019

We are delighted to announce the winners of the prestigious SCONUL Library Design Awards.


The University of Birmingham Library is the winner of the medium to large library category, while the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Library has won the small library category.


Ann Rossiter, Executive Director at SCONUL, said:
“We’re delighted to recognise these beautiful and inspiring buildings and all those who worked so hard to deliver them. We have seen inspirational design that has influenced and transformed the relationship between the library and users that has allowed new ways of thinking and working.”


Leo Appleton, Chair of the Design Awards Panel and Director of Library Services at Goldsmiths University of London said:
“The SCONUL Design Awards 2019 received many high quality, excellent submissions from exemplar libraries which, through their innovative designs are transforming how teaching, learning and research happens at their respective institutions. Chairing the awards panel was a real privilege as well as being challenging due to the high calibre of the entries. All seven short-listed libraries are huge successes in their own rights, but the two winning library designs stood out amongst them:


The new library at the heart of the University of Birmingham campus is a prolific, flagship library building and a highly popular destination for University of Birmingham students, academics and researchers. The innovative design maximises a blend of attractive study and research spaces, whilst at the same time enabling an innovative new approach to collection management. The project has transformed many aspects of the library and the university, but most  notably the ways in which teams from across the university now collaborate and work together.


The development of the library at the Royal College of the Surgeons in Ireland is another exceptional example of transformative design. The library spaces and functions permeate the campus building and in doing so allow for flexibility and adaptability as the library seeks to be able to respond to the requirements of the RCSI students, academics and researchers as well as the medical and clinical users, all of whom were fully engaged stakeholders in the design project. The new library makes a significant contribution to the institution which in turn has transformed medical education at the RCSI and beyond.”

University of Birmingham Library and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Library

The SCONUL Library Design Awards have been running since 1973. The aim is to encourage good practice in library design and to celebrate outstanding examples of cutting-edge architecture, technology and service. Awards are given on the basis of the functional design of buildings and their transformational nature, rather than purely architectural merit. 


This year SCONUL received 15 submissions, which were short listed to seven. The panel visited each short-listed library and were impressed with the passion of all those involved in the projects. The panel commend all the libraries on their detailed planning, the strategic alignment of the projects to both their institution and the library objectives and how the building design has enabled innovation and transformation. The impact delivered by the projects was remarkable and evidenced by the enthusiasm with which users spoke of their experiences in the new or refurbished  libraries.


Explore the winning and short listed libraries on our website.


The image of Birmingham University Library was kindly supplied by Associated Architects.