Students and staff at Gower College Swansea have celebrated the official reopening of the library at the Tycoch campus.
The innovative learning space, which was opened by BBC Wales presenter and children’s author Lucy Owen, includes a collaborative area, an information learning technology studio, an acoustic pod and individual / group study spaces.
As well as being stocked with the latest textbooks, the library has also been fitted out with enhanced Wi-Fi and USB/power sockets embedded in the furniture so students can research a wealth of electronic resources on College PCs and laptops or their own devices.
The original library was completely gutted - and four floors of the main building of the campus severely damaged by water and smoke - when a fire broke out in the early hours of 28 October 2016.
“This is a really rewarding moment where we can applaud all the hard work that was undertaken to get the library ready for the start of the new College term,” says Principal Mark Jones. “It was a very challenging year for everyone at the Tycoch Campus – staff and students alike. Our Estates and Computer Services teams and all our contractors had to rebuild the library from scratch, and also, of course, our Library staff did a fantastic job in ensuring the service they provide to our students was as unaffected by events as possible while they were based in temporary accommodation. Today is an opportunity to thank everyone involved in the re-building of the library and also to show them around this fantastic new student facility.”
“I am delighted to officially reopen the library at the Tycoch Campus of Gower College Swansea,” says Lucy, who published her own children’s book – Boo-A-Bog in the Park/Bw-A-Bog yn y Parc – in 2016 to raise funds for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales. “It’s wonderful to see the hard work that has gone into the rebuilding of this space after the fire last year. It is a spacious, modern new library which I’m sure all students will enjoy using as they progress with their studies.”
The new library, which was designed and furnished in collaboration with BOF and Opening the Book, is a light and airy space that takes into account the needs and learning styles of all students. For example, there are height-adjustable desks for wheelchair users and enclosed areas for ASD learners who might prefer to work in a more private space.
The front area of the library is suitable for collaborative work, with tables that can be moved around and soft seating so that people can chat while they study.
Further back, high shelving has been positioned to suit learners who prefer to work in a more traditional ‘quiet’ space or who wish to work on individual projects.
At the launch event, the College’s Hospitality and Catering students served a delicious afternoon tea and a showpiece ‘book cake’, made by Uplands-based Celebration, provided a real talking point.
“We had a really exciting opportunity to create a learning space which caters for today’s learners,” adds Library Manager Mark Ludlam. “Hundreds of students and members of staff use this new facility on a daily basis and the feedback we have received so far has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Photos: Adrian White