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The library that has 'oomph'
John and Aileen O'Reilly Library at DCU wins library design award
9 December 2002

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The John and Aileen O'Reilly Library at DCU has received a Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) design award in London, the only Irish university to receive such a distinction.

Among the qualities that the libraries were assessed for were functionality, accessibility, interactivity, efficiency and finally 'oomph', defined by SCONUL as a combination of all the qualities which capture users' minds and the spirit of a university.

The DCU library, which was officially opened by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, td, in April 2002 received a substantial personal gift from Sir Anthony O'Reilly through the O'Reilly Foundation. It is named after Sir Anthony's parents, John and Aileen, who lived in the vicinity of DCU.

According to DCU President, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, "From the outset, the DCU library was designed to be a leader in the new knowledge society. This award is a very significant acknowledgement that DCU can compete with the very best of libraries in the UK and Ireland".

The 2002 awards were given to higher education and national library buildings opened between 1996 and 2000, which are greater than 2,000 square metres in size. It is the only such award in the UK and Ireland to be judged by professional librarians on the basis of functional design of libraries, rather than purely architectural merit. A total of 17 libraries were visited for consideration.

Andrew McDonald, Chair of the SCONUL Advisory Committee on Buildings says, "These are all landmark buildings on campus with strong 'sense of place', demonstrating the continued importance of library buildings in the digital age. They have facilitated a step change in library provision within their institutions, exceeding user expectations and stimulating greater levels of demand".

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