IALS Transformation Project 2018-2020

Project News

The Institute is part-way through a multi-million pound transformation of the IALS building, the first stages of which are due to end in spring 2020. Later stages of the project will depend on the success of our fundraising campaign.

The building, its seminar rooms, lecture theatre and the main reading rooms of the Library will remain open throughout the programme of works. There may be some noise and disruption, and temporary arrangements for entry to the Library and for the Issue & Enquiry desk.

February 2019

25th February 

The Project Team at IALS is very pleased to announce that the 4th floor, the first of the floors to be completed, is now open. The floor was able to be partially re-opened to library users on 4th February as the last shelving and books were being installed.

The Library entrance was moved up from the 2nd floor over the weekend of the 9th/10th February and the 4th floor formally opened in full on Monday February 11th. 

Also on 11th February the 3rd floor, the next floor to undergo transformation, was handed over to Overbury exactly according to the project programme. This floor is scheduled to be completed in mid-June.

During the relocation of books and shelving from the 3rd floor, Library users were kept informed on a daily basis of which areas of the floor were open or closed. The Project Team is very grateful for everyone’s patience and accommodation.

Over the last 2 weeks a number of minor snags on the 4th floor have been addressed and the stripping out of carpet, lighting, partitioning etc has been completed on the 3rd floor.

The new space is proving to be extremely popular and the Institute Director and library staff are delighted with how it has turned out. A rough count on Monday 25th February showed around 100 readers in the library with 75 on the 4th floor and 25 on the 2nd.

Feedback, comments, questions and concerns are very welcome and can be sent to the Project Team by emailing ials2020@london.ac.uk

10th February

New hoarding has been placed around the IALS highlighting our transformation project.  

Photo of hording at the front of the building

Photo of hording at the side of the building


In order to complete the occupation of the new 4th floor it will be necessary to transfer the library admissions and enquiries desks to the 4th floor and to close off all access to the 3rd floor ready for refurbishment. 

Attempting to complete these works with the library open would present certain logistical difficulties and cause major disruption to library users. It has therefore been agreed to close the building on Sunday 10th February 2019. 

The library will be open as usual until 8.30pm on Saturday 9th February and re-open at 9.00am on Monday 11th February 2019. 

This closure is unavoidable, but nevertheless we apologise for any inconvenience it may cause you.

January 2019

IALS Transformation Project - Update January 2019

Phase 1 of the transformation project is nearing completion with the 4th floor opening on 11th February 2019.  Further information can be found here.

November 2018

IALS Transformation Project - Update November 2018

Construction work image

The total refurbishment of the 4th floor commenced as planned on Monday 10th September. The focus over these last 9 weeks has been the stripping out of all redundant elements of the floor. Partition walls have been removed, including the walls around the internal stairs to the 3rd floor. Suspended ceilings, toilets and carpet have all gone.

The most important part of the strip-out has been that of the asbestos insulating board (AIB), mostly situated behind the radiators below windows. This has been conducted by a licensed asbestos removal contractor under fully controlled conditions.

These works are monitored by the University of London’s appointed asbestos management consultant to ensure that all works are carried out in accordance with the methods submitted to, and accepted by, the Health and Safety Executive.

It is the clear policy of IALS and the University to remove the asbestos where possible and only to leave it in situ and effectively encapsulated if absolutely necessary. Upon removal of the AIB panel located directly behind the radiators, another layer of AIB was discovered bonded to the external metal panels under the windows.

After due analysis and consideration it has been decided that it is not feasible to remove the newly-discovered layer of AIB during this project. It will be left in place but safely sealed and encapsulated. The boards will not be visible or accessible but the new asbestos-free boards in front of them will be labelled to indicate the presence of asbestos.

Feedback, comments, queries and concerns can all be sent to the Project Team by emailing ials2020@london.ac.uk

Download PDF copy of this update

August 2018

Update August 2018

July saw a run of moves and changes at IALS. This was all in preparation for the planned fitting-out works. The tendering process for the main building contract is now complete and the contract has been awarded to Overbury, a firm with experience in the Higher Education sector.

Library Access

In order to vacate the 4th floor for construction works to commence, it was necessary firstly to relocate the library entrance/exit from the 4th to the 2nd floor. This was carried out over a 10 day period from Monday 9th to Wednesday 18th July. New turnstiles were installed and after the library closed on the evening of Tuesday 17th July, the security book reader was relocated (and thankfully worked when recommissioned on the 2nd floor).

On the morning of the 18th July the computers, credit card reader, till etc, in addition to the short loan book collection, all had to be moved down and set up by 9am. It was one of those challenges where we really should have had a time lapse camera in action. The library opened on time with everything in place.

Staff Moves

The next step in the process was to move all the Library staff from the 4th to the 5th floor, which was vacated at the beginning of June when the Academic and Admin Staff relocated to Dilke House, 1 Malet Street. This move took place over 2 days on the 19th and 20th July. Staff were moved team by team and by lunchtime on the Friday everyone was able to log-on at their new desk positions.

Student Facilities

The final piece of the jigsaw was to relocate the Library Computer/Training Room from the 4th to the 5th floor.  The new room opened on Thursday 26th July having been closed for just over a week.

Construction Works

We now enter the pre-construction and site mobilisation phase of the project. Portacabins will be located on the empty land next to IALS, scaffolding will be erected and a hoist installed at the rear of the building. Visible activity will start up by the second half of August with work commencing on the 4th floor by the end of the month.

Feedback, comments, queries and concerns can all be sent to the Project Team by emailing ials2020@london.ac.uk

Download PDF copy of this update

July 2018

From Wednesday 18th July 2018 onwards the temporary entrance and exit to the Library is located on the 2nd floor. The 4th floor is closed.

The Admissions Desk, Issue & Enquiry Desk, Short Loan Collection, Self-Issue facility, Photocopying, scanning and printing facilities are now located on the 2nd floor.

Library Computer and Training Room is now on the 5th floor

The Library Computer and Training is now in Room 503 on the 5th floor. From Thursday 26th July to mid-September 2018 the following summer vacation hours operate in the IALS Library Computer and Training Room:

Monday to Friday 9.00am to 7.35pm
Saturday 10.00am to 5.05pm

Aims of the IALS Transformation Project

Internet Explorer users please click this link - A fly-through simulation of the IALS transformation project

The project will replace the infrastructure with new heating, cooling, ventilation, cabling and wifi. IALS Library will be completely refurbished and re-designed in the upcoming refurbishment. We will be able to offer a new 2nd floor entrance looking out on to Russell Square, 50 additional study desk places, bookable group study and training rooms, special needs room, 10 additional lockable library research carrels, new desk and chair furniture throughout the library, more control over our reading room heating and cooling, more self-issue laptops and improved IT services. A new dedicated study room outside the library on the 5th floor of the building will be created for IALS PhD students. This major project will take around two years but we will remain open throughout.

IALS at 70 panel 2018: Future

Find out more and follow the progress of the project at: http://ials.sas.ac.uk/about/ials-transformation-project