The library serves over 300 students and holds a collection of more than 95,000 volumesSarah Anderson for Varsity

The Seeley Library is set to close its doors for four years as part of renovations to the Stirling Building in which it is situated.

The library will move into the designated West Room in the University Library (UL) from December 2024 until the work on the Stirling Building is completed.

From Easter term 2025, Faculty administration staff and academics with no College office will also move to the Sidgwick Lodge and temporary accommodation at the south-west end of the Sidgwick Site.

The project is still in the early stages of development process, with construction set to start from 2025 subject to approvals. The renovation is expected to take four years to complete.

In 1968, the History Faculty relocated to the Stirling Building, which was designed by James Frazer Stirling.

Today, the library serves over 300 students and holds a collection of more than 95,000 volumes. It holds books for five subject areas: History, POLIS, Sociology, Land Economy, and Latin American Studies.

The Grade II* listed building is regarded as one of the finest examples of modern post-war architecture in the UK.

However, growing issues surrounding its efficacy, safety, and capacity mean that significant renovation is required to repair the building.

Persistent drainage problems and leaks in the Seeley Library had prompted a previous attempt to resolve the issue in the summer of 2015. During this effort, a completely new surface was applied to the flat concrete roof over the book stacks.

Due to its Grade II* status, the building is subject to many approval processes both within the university and externally.


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This comes as the UL, set to be the destination of the relocation, is currently reviewing its bag policy for all users. The UL has held several feedback sessions in order to balance convenience, user experience, and the safeguarding of its collections.

One History and Politics Student told Varsity: “The Seeley closing is an inconvenience both for us history and politics students and all those who use Sidgwick Site, with its brilliant opening hours. Moving the books means we have to navigate a new library, I am incredibly upset about this news.”

A University spokesperson told Varsity: “In anticipation of significant repair and renovation work at the Stirling Building, the Seeley Library will temporarily move into a dedicated and newly designed space within the University Library after term ends in December 2024, until the work is completed. Everything possible is being done to minimise any impact on staff and students.”

“The Seeley Library will continue to operate in its current location until the end of Michaelmas Term 2024. From January 2025, the Seeley Library will operate from inside the University Library on West Road, a 5-minute walk from where the Seeley is now. The Seeley Library team will continue to staff the Seeley Library, in the new location, and students will still have access to all the Seeley Library collections,” they continued.