University and County Council Joint Library Wins Prestigious Design Accolade

It triumphed in the SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) Library Design Awards 2016, winning the Development over 2,000 sqm category.

The Hive is a partnership between the University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council and has won over 25 awards since opening in 2012.

SCONUL represents all university libraries in the UK and Ireland as well as national libraries and many of the UK's colleges of higher education.

The awards, run every three years, aim to encourage good practice in library planning and design and to celebrate outstanding examples of cutting-edge design.

Awards are given on the basis of the functional design of buildings rather than purely architectural merit.

The Hive, which is Britain's first joint university and public library, was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2012.

The £60million facility houses more than a quarter of a million books and 12 miles of archive collections and runs events, including regular public lectures, exhibitions and performances.

It has previously picked up "New Build Project of the Year" in the 2013 Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Awards and "Sustainable Project of the Year" at the Building Awards in 2013 and the Partnership Awards 'Best Sustainability in a Project' honour in 2012.

The Hive also received National and Regional Awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2013.

Liz Waller, Chair of the SCONUL Library Design Awards Panel and Head of Library and Archives at the University of York, said: "This is an exciting and innovative development on a number of levels, as a physical building but also as an exemplar of innovative service design with the interest of the user at its heart."

University of Worcester Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green, said: "The Hive has proved a wonderful success over the past four and a half years. It is beautiful and inspirational, serves the whole community and inspires the next generation into reading. At the same time it is highly efficient and an international exemplar of imagination and outstanding service for University students, staff and members of the public alike.

"All the many people who work at the Hive are to be commended for winning this very major award in competition with Britain's top Libraries. The Hive is simply one of the country's very best Libraries. It is also arguably the best Library in Europe to be opened in the 21st Century. What an achievement for Worcester and Worcestershire!"

Kathy Kirk, Libraries, Learning and Arts Services Manager at Worcestershire County Council, said: "We are very proud of The Hive, the design and also the ground breaking partnership with the University. We believe The Hive is a unique and very special library so it is wonderful to receive this recognition from the SCONUL judges."

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "I am delighted to see Worcester's cutting edge library, The Hive, winning another significant national award.

"This reflects the innovative design which has brought together University, City and County to provide a better service for each and all.

"It is absolutely right that The Hive is an iconic part of Worcester's skyline and it is also of huge educational and social value. Well done to all involved!"

Cllr Simon Geraghty, Leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: "We are delighted that The Hive has been recognised with this award.

"It has transformed library services for both the City of Worcester and our ever growing University of Worcester.

"It is a joint university library and community library service that is unique in the country and cherished by residents and students alike. Council provided services and academic provision blend seamlessly throughout the distinctive building, providing students with quality study space alongside, residents' life-long learning."

Picture of (left to right) Janine Downes, Hive Library Manager, Judith Keene, University Librarian, and Laura Warsfold, Hive Business Development Manager with the award." Credit: Samuel Cole