Werneth High School
Romily, Stockport

University Library Design Case Study:

Boots Library 4th Floor

Opening the Book and Broadstock Office Furniture are working together on a 3-year project to transform Boots Library.

The 4th floor of Boots Library is the most heavily used computer space in the university. The brief was to raise the quality of the student experience while maintaining the required number of computers and supporting 24/7 opening.

New desk designs were developed for individual study and for collaborative working. Everything in the design layout was evaluated with the university - technical staff tested computer installation on the prototype; students tried out chair styles for comfort; cleaning supervisors were consulted on recycling bin stations.

Quality and attention to detail at all stages from concept to fit-out have created a high-impact and robust environment.


  • To make a pleasant study environment while maintaining density of provision
  • To provide neat cable management for hard-wired pcs, security leashes and student access power sockets


  • Curved desks are softer than uniform straight rows
  • Co-ordinated colour scheme brings unity and zing
  • Desk designs incorporate cable managements in end sections to leave desktops free and no trailing wires

Student feedback has been really positive, with comments such as ‘Refreshing’, ‘A real place you can work’ and ‘Fantastic! It’s so much better, a breath of fresh air.

Julie Partridge, Customer Services Manager
Libraries & Learning Resources, Nottingham Trent University

More Case Studies

Opening the Book first visited St Mary’s Church, Lichfield, in 2016 to consider the feasibility of the library being part of a larger refurbishment project. The space was not, on first impression, very promising – it was dark, with low ceilings, lots of barriers and huge pillars which had been truncated by the extra floor added into the nave. But then we entered the chapel area with its magnificent stained glass window and suddenly the building opened up. This space really was beautiful – now the question was, could it be a library?

Werneth School in Stockport has been in the fortunate position of being completely relocated into a new purpose-built home on the same site. As part of this, Opening the Book was invited by the Deputy Head, Alyson Littlewood, and School Librarian, Nikki Heath, to put forward a design for the new library.

Transforming the old chapel in a 19th century school into a contemporary, practical library was an exciting challenge for our design team this summer. The brief was to create a highly flexible layout which would accommodate all the usual activities required of the hard-working hub of the school, plus the ability to easily transform the space for large group events.

A dramatic building, a new landscaped development and a council ambitious to change its relationship with its customers – what an opportunity! Opening the Book worked with libraries, Customer Services, architects and contractors to create a completely new kind of experience for Telford residents, whether they come for the library’s new offers or to claim benefits.

A hard-working library with pressures on space was transformed through a major rethink. Capacities were increased through better space planning across several floors but the library feels more open and light because of the skilful layout in relation to the architecture. Opening the Book worked closely with senior managers to plan new approaches to staffing the space.

A much-loved but derelict cinema was reclaimed and extended as the Library and Customer Services Centre. Opening the Book brought contemporary style mixed with a celebration of cinematic heritage to deliver immediate appeal in the high street location. Upstairs we zoned the space for noisy and quiet activities and designed in a film-projection space for an audience of up to 60.

This market town had campaigned for a new library for 20 years so expectations were high. Residents, councillors and staff all supported our proposal to move to a discovery layout and retail-style presentation in the new library. The results in terms of increased membership, visits and loans have been outstanding.