A step closer to the new Library and Learning Commons

Next week sees a major milestone in the journey towards a new Library and Learning Commons for the University of Galway.  Planning permission was received back in August 2023 for this landmark building for the University campus and Tuesday February 6th, will see enabling works commence on the riverside site of the new building.  This will include the closure of a small car park to the south of the Kingfisher and preparations begin for the demolition of existing sheds and buildings to make way for the new building.


The new Library and Learning Commons is a development that will be welcomed by the University’s student community, who have been crying out for spaces that are more conducive to modern learning needs.  The current James Hardiman Library opened its doors 50 years ago, at a time when learning was a solitary affair and information access was through print journals and hard-copy books.  Learning in the 21st Century is more collaborative, more technology-enabled and more creative.  The majority of information resource access is now online through e-books and online journals. 

The Library and Learning Commons will provide our students with collaborative spaces, makerspaces for creativity and innovation, and well-connected spaces for easy access to online resources.  Expert staff will be readily available to aid students in developing their academic and lifelong skills, ensuring their success throughout their learning journey and beyond.  The building will be accessible throughout, with supports available from the Assistive Technology Centre for students who need it.  Easy access to print collections will be retained with 60,000 books on open shelving.  Additionally, our Bookbot, a high-density Automated Storage and Retrieval System, will ensure speedy access to the entirety of our collections on request.  

The ground floor will comprise a Welcome Zone.  It will be open to the wider community, who will have the opportunity to visit an Exhibition Area, showcasing the Library’s Heritage Collections of archives and special collections, and attend events celebrating those heritage collections and the research of the University of Galway.  The Welcome Zone will serve as a hub, connecting the community to the vibrant activities, research and resources of the University of Galway.