top of page

Thursday 29th March

Designing library spaces within our education estate

There is no statutory duty for schools to have libraries or provide access to school library services. Yet back in 2014 an All Parliamentary Group stated that “it is vital that all schools have a good library to ensure children develop essential literacy and digital literacy skills.”


Currently, England sits 23rd out of 24 OECD nation for teenage literacy.  Yet we continue to hear of cuts in our library service both within schools and in the community at large.


At the other end of the scale, Oxford University boasts over 100 libraries “making it the largest library system in the UK."


Come and join us as our expert panel discuss:

  • What makes a good library space?

  • How do they change to meet the different age groups from primary through to higher education?

  • Should it be seen as a timetable spaced with formal teaching taking place?

  • How do we make them more accessible for students to access?

  • Will more libraries embrace the “Maker Space” movement?


Alison Wheeler MBE
Trustee of CILIP, the library and information association

I’ve worked in libraries almost all of my adult life, beginning as a children’s librarian, and becoming head of the frontline service in Suffolk in 2001. I continued in this job until 2008 when I became a strategic commissioner in Adult Social Care which gave me a humbling but life-changing lesson in diversity and working with vulnerable people.


From 2012, I was the Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries IPS Ltd. I led the Suffolk library mutual, working with a number of elected Directors to develop strong governance and strategic direction while building a resilient and flexible leadership team of managers and frontline staff. Library innovation has been at the forefront with experimentation in service design and new partnerships. I retired from this role in February 2018.


I was closely involved in creating the Public Library Skills Strategy, which launched in 2017 and aims to develop a workforce equipped to deliver a vision for public libraries as digital, creative and cultural centres of excellence.

Simon Tupper
IID Architects

A Director of IID Architects since 1997, Simon has particular experience in formulating long-term development plans in close collaboration with clients, realising imaginative solutions to building needs often within the context of listed buildings and planning sensitive sites.  His project work has been recognised with shortlisting and awards from RIBA, Building Design and RICS. Over the last few years, Simon has been directly involved in the design of several school library spaces including those at the London Oratory School, Tiffin School, Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls and The Tiffin Girls’ School.

Ian Goodfellow
Penoyre & Prasad

Ian Goodfellow joined Penoyre & Prasad in 1994 becoming a partner in 2004. Ian is responsible for the practice’s sustainability strategy and implementation, committed to the development and communication of a pragmatic and genuinely sustainable approach to architecture.

Ian has led on a wide range of award winning education and arts projects as well as number of high profile Higher Education projects.


Ian is Deputy Chair of the RIBA Higher Education Design Quality Forum.

Adrian James
Adrian James Acoustics


In 1994 he established Adrian James Acoustics, an independent consultancy specialising in the acoustic design of buildings for the performing arts and education.  The practice has since expanded into other areas of acoustics and noise control, and has undertaken more than a thousand commissions of all sizes in the UK, mainland Europe and the Middle East.  He was a principal author of the DfES Building Bulletin 93 “Acoustics of Schools” and continues to advise government departments and several county councils on the acoustics of buildings for education.


Adrian has chaired a number of technical committees and working groups on acoustic measurements, and has published and presented papers in English and French on a wide range of acoustic subjects.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Acoustics and a past Chairman of the Association of Noise Consultants.   Recent and current projects include refurbishments of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg and the Bishopsgate Hall in London, and performing arts centres for Hampton School, King’s School Canterbury, Greshams and King’s College School in Wimbledon.

bottom of page