NUI Galway has secured €15 million in funding for a large scale redevelopment of the James Hardiman Library on campus.
The project is called the new Library and Learning Commons, and aims to modernise the library space and make it more accessible for active learning.
The funding comes from the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructural Fund (HESIF) – Project Ireland 2040 and was announced by Minister for Education Joe McHugh.
Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUIG said, “I am delighted to welcome this very substantial support for NUI Galway’s library redevelopment which is a strong endorsement for teaching and learning at this University.”
“This development will have a distinctively transformative impact on the learning experience of our students at NUI Galway.”
The James Hardiman Library was first built in 1973, and has been extended three times up to 1999.
In a survey carried out on campus last November, while students had many positive things to say about the staff and resources present, 85% of the comments about its physical space were negative.
Common complaints were that it is cramped, poorly laid out, and without enough bathrooms or electrical sockets.
There were also concerns about the building’s heating, lighting, and ventilation.
Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said that modern education needs require a space that promotes “new forms of connection between teaching, learning, research, and scholarship.”
“This investment provides an opportunity to reconceive the library as an inclusive, accessible centre for active learning, a place of shared curiosity and for the co-development of knowledge and understanding in the world and for the world.”
John Cox, University Librarian, commented that “The transformed Library will be an inspirational, welcoming, space for learning and creativity, facilitating collaborative discovery and interdisciplinary engagement, with access to the world’s knowledge via a comprehensive digital library.”
A feasibility study on transforming the James Hardiman Library was carried out in 2014, and estimated that the project would cost €25 million.