These improvements will include upgrading the heating, lighting and electrical systems and installing insulation – changes designed to minimise energy use and help regulate the environmental conditions. Discreet wooden-edged double-glazing with internal blinds and UV filters – to help minimise damage to the collections from sunlight – will be installed in the windows of both rooms.
We will also improve considerably the seating arrangements in the Laudian Library, which will continue to house part of the undergraduate collections. In addition to rationalising existing reader spaces, new desks will be built into the windows of the Laudian Library, looking out eastwards onto the Great Lawn (pictured).
The first floor is where the old and the new parts of this project come together. A glass passageway links the top floor of the Library & Study Centre to the original, and newly reopened, north entrance of the Laudian Library.
A reader will be able to walk uninterrupted from the seminar room and the main reading room on the first floor of the Library & Study Centre, via the glass passageway, into the Laudian Library – and then into the Old Library beyond.
The junction between the Laudian Library and the Old Library presently contains the main staircase which was inserted into the building in the 1970s. This unsatisfactory alteration to the space will be reversed, helping to return the room to its previous state (pictured).
The restored room will house exhibition cases displaying items from the Special Collections, which members of the public will be able to view during visits. These cases will use responsive technology to help manage light levels, as their glass fronts will turn from frosted to clear as visitors approach.
This room will also have informal seating areas for readers. It will certainly be a beautiful space in which to read and study, providing views westwards down the Old Library and northwards down the Laudian Library – and on to the new Library & Study Centre beyond.
The Paddy Room
Once the book collections currently housed in the Paddy Room (located directly below the Old Library) are moved to the new Library & Study Centre, we will restore the Paddy Room area to its original configuration of five teaching rooms for Fellows.
This will provide much-needed additional space for undergraduate tutorials and graduate supervisions, as well as a place for Fellows to write and undertake their research. The number of Fellows in the Governing Body at St John’s has increased by over two and a half times since the mid-20th century, at the same time as the College’s student population has grown by a very similar rate.
This photograph shows one of those teaching rooms, before they were converted for Library use in the 1970s.