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Staff experiences of library refurbishment or library building projects [TG2/Refurb]


10:00 am - 12:45 pm

Event Type

This event highlights the experiences of five very different refurbishment/buildings projects within academic libraries. Each speaker will talk about their project, focusing on the measures in place to assist and support students, staff, and stakeholders during the work. Whilst each project is unique, there are comparable complexities inherent to all major library refurbishment/buildings projects such as:

  • the logistics of working on a project of this scale
  • keeping students, staff, and stakeholders informed with effective communication
  • implementing temporary procedural or policy changes were necessary
  • managing stakeholder relationships throughout the project
  • ensuring effective health & safety measures are in place
  • providing feedback mechanisms for staff, students, or stakeholders to raise questions or concerns

You will have the opportunity compare these projects to understand the key similarities and differences. You will also have an opportunity to put your questions to the speakers to gain valuable insights into the process.


  • 10:00 – Introduction and session information
  • 10:05 – Aqil Zahid & Ciaran Donnelly (Queen Mary University London) -‘Keep Moving Forwards – refurbishing in a pandemic’
  • 10:25 – Questions for Aqil Zahid & Ciaran Donnelly
  • 10:30 – Phil Cheeseman (Lancaster University) -‘Extending the reach of the Library at Lancaster University’
  • 10:55 – Questions for Phil Cheeseman
  • 11:00 – Debbie North (Greenwich University) -‘What if we don’t open on time?’
  • 11:20 – Questions for Debbie North
  • 11:25 – Break
  • 11:35 – Martina Brooks & Andrew Day (Drill Hall Library – Medway) -‘Let’s work together – delivering complex and interlinking projects successfully in the Drill Hall Library’
  • 11:55 – Questions for Martina Brooks & Andrew Day
  • 12:00 – Elizabeth Malone (Independent library consultant) -‘In for the long haul – communications challenges on a large project, a case study of the Town House at Kingston University.’
  • 12:20 – Questions for Elizabeth Malone
  • 12:25 – Open Q&A
  • 12:45 – Finish

Speaker biographies

Aqil Zahid  has worked for QMUL Library Services for over 10 years. QMUL Library Services is comprised of 3 Libraries and 3 Library-managed spaces. Aqil is passionate about service improvement. He has been involved in various projects over the years, including the refurbishment of areas following the removal of print journals via UKRR, and being seconded to the role of Project Coordinator for the LSP implementation. He was also instrumental in the creation of a PGT Reading Room.

Ciaran Donnelly has worked for Queen Mary University of London Library Services for 6 years. Starting as a library assistant, he currently works as a supervisor in the Study Environments Team. As part of this role he managed a service continuity project to maintain access to the library and its resources throughout a refurbishment that encompassed, in two phases, the entire ground floor of the university’s main library. This is the theme of today’s talk

Phil Cheeseman holds the role of Associate Director for Academic Services in the library at Lancaster University. His areas of responsibility include leadership for the Faculty Librarian and Learning Development teams as well as Special Collections and Archives. Phil led the project to design the library extension, acting as client on behalf of the library during its construction and co-ordinating activities during the launch and subsequent use of the space. He has also led in development of the Library 5-year vision. Phil is the staff development lead for Academic Libraries North.

Debbie North: I have worked for the University of Greenwich for 29 years and have held the post of Avery Hill Library Manager for the past 3 years. I began my career as a library assistant in a hospital library and have moved through various supervisory roles and site locations so have a very good knowledge of libraries from the ground up. At Avery Hill we support Health and Education students and it is very satisfying to work with Faculty, SU and Estates colleagues. The library is at the heart of the Avery Hill campus so we are integral to the services and support offered to our students.

Martina Brooks has worked for the Drill Hall Library on the Universities at Medway campus since Aug 2015. The Drill Hall Library is a partnership of 3 Universities sharing library facilities, Greenwich, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church. Martina has a passion for excellent Customer Service and improving service environments, with over 30 years’ experience of managing staff, business improvement and service redesign. Her background as a Retail Manager, Officer Manager, HR , Business Analyst has given her a vast amount of experience in the Service improvement and Customer Service sector. Since joining the Drill Hall. Martina has project managed many improvements, installation of a book sorter, redesign of the library floor including new furnishings, implementing the use of and monitoring of process notes, the introduction of a Family Friendly study room, online feedback/ reporting systems and redesign of the Drill Website and content, moving a number of services to a self-service/online facilities.

Andrew Day has worked at the Drill Hall Library since January 2020, just in time for the worldwide pandemic. Andrew manages the Academic Services and Collections team, of three Academic Support and Liaison Librarians, and three Academic Services Assistants. The team is responsible for delivering information literacy training to students from our three academic partners, as well as purchasing and managing print and online resources for CCCU, University of Greenwich, and University of Kent courses at Medway. Andrew has started out in public libraries, moving to Imperial College London Library in 2007, with his first librarian role being at the University for the Creative Arts in Rochester between 2015 and 2020. The Medway to Kent stock moves project was the first project of this scale and complexity that he led on and proved to be a valuable learning experience, with excellent support from his colleagues in the Drill Hall and the University of Kent.

Elizabeth Malone is the former Co-Director of Library & Learning Services and Head of Student Services at Kingston University.  Prior to leaving Kingston in the summer of 2021, she spent 8 years as one of the leading stakeholders in the Town House project which combined a new university library with dance and performance areas and public spaces.  The project was recently awarded the RIBA’s Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building.  With 25 years in library senior management, Elizabeth has extensive experience of a range of large change management projects, including new library systems, staffing restructures, customer service excellence and the development of one-stop-shop facilities for students.  She is now working as an independent library consultant ( and is keen to support new managers and leaders in their career development and to work with teams on developing fresh approaches to their work.


£25.00 members
£50.00 non member institutions

Information for joining:

  • This session is virtual and will run via Zoom. Once your booking has been confirmed, joining instructions will be emailed the day before the event.
  • Electronic CPD attendance certificates can be provided on request. Please request via

Cancellations less than one week before the event will be charged a 50% cancellation fee. In the event of a ‘no-show’ on the day, the full fee will be charged.

To book a place please use our online booking form. Please remember to include your PO number as bookings cannot be confirmed without this.


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