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The Maughan Library holds the main King’s collection for the study of Arts and Humanities, Business, Law and Sciences. However, King’s has six libraries in total across all the campuses, plus the Archives at the Strand, and Special Collections also based here on Chancery Lane. Across our libraries we have access to approximately 1.25 million printed books and e-books, as well as thousands of journals and other online resources, so you’ll never run out of reading to do!
In the rare occasion that you can’t find what you need here, there is an interlibrary loan service as well as access to other University of London libraries, like Senate House library in Russell Square, meaning that it’s almost impossible to not find what you’re looking for.
On most occasions, all primary reading is available in the library as either an e-book or physical book but do check with the reading lists before the start of term.
The Library Enquiries desk is where the lovely members of staff here can help you with any queries or issues you may have with the library, whether that be catalogue or database searches, library account help or even simply directional help in finding where you are going – our library is the largest new university library in the UK since World War Two, so it can be easy to get lost in your first few weeks here!
We have self-service kiosks at Kings that allow you to borrow and return items at any time. The library is open until 1am in the first semester and then 24/7 in the second semester until the end of the exams. These kiosks are particularly useful if you’re here studying late at night and the library staff have gone home for the day.
Your King’s ID card will give you access to all the libraries as well as the services within them like borrowing and using the printers.
The Library Search PCs allow you to search the availability and location of resources, with the help of our floor plans around the building. You can also access the library search online from your own devices, and request books which are currently taken out which will be reserved for you upon their return.
We also have the self-service laptop loans cabinet, where you can borrow laptops for 72 hours for your own use, meaning you don’t have to carry around your laptop constantly. We also have access to around 360 PCs at the Maughan Library, and the PC Free service allows you to check online where there are free computers in the library – this saves you wasting valuable study time searching for a space.
The short loans area hosts some of our most popular and crucial texts for various courses. The majority of books are standard loan for one-week, and they will be automatically renewed if no-one else requests them, we also try to ensure there are ebook versions available where possible. In the short loan area essential course books are available to loan for 24 hours, to ensure that everyone has equal access to the texts that they need.
We also have a Multimedia Area (G.70) where we have a range of films and music accessible to students. This is mainly for our Music and Film Studies students, as we offer audio visual equipment such as VHS players, vinyl record players and cassette players as obviously not many students have these types of equipment anymore! However, this is not to say that other students cannot use this space – it is open to all King’s students, and the film selection can be particularly dangerously tempting in the middle of the exam period!
The Round Room hosts our Humanities Reference Collection and is based on the British Museum’s own Round Reading Room, though obviously at a smaller scale. This is a very popular spot to revise for obvious reasons during the year, particularly during the exam period when some students choose to arrive in the early hours of the morning to get a seat here!
This room was completed in 1863 and is listed in its own right. The decorative panels here and also in the entrance lobby are both zinc painted like wood, which is a rare technique and in fact they are the only two structures to use this technique in the UK.
There are many rumours about this room being used as Dumbledore’s study in Harry Potter, although unfortunately it is not the case!
However, the room was a setting in the novel The Da Vinci Code and is used for filming for various things throughout the year, such as The One Show and the film Bastille Day with Idris Elba. Even the library entrance has been used recently in The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch, so there’s always chance to spot a famous face here!
We have student computing rooms on every floor of the library as well as PCs available in study spaces that can be found using the floor plans around the library.
You will also notice that this is a ‘quiet’ zone for studying – this means that you can talk and use your phone quietly. The Round Room is an example of a silent study room – there is no talking allowed and no phone usage in this space. There are also ‘discuss’ zones in the group study rooms which have comfy seating and AV equipment such as plasma screens to facilitate group work and presentations. This caters for different styles of working for students.
In total, we have 1,369 user study spaces at the Maughan Library, with a variety of different spaces where you can work. We have seating on both the floor level and the mezzanine level, and we also have the Clock Tower where there are individual enclosed study carrels for privacy for postgraduate students, but there are some undergraduate carrels as well.
As you can see, our collection of books is extensive, with an estimated 750,000 books just at the Maughan Library and 25,000 linear metres of shelving.
The Weston Room was formerly known as the Rolls Chapel.
The Maughan Library has a rich and varied history rooted beneath its floors. The origins of the site date back to 1232, when the ‘House of the Converts’ was built here as a place of refuge for Jews who had converted to Christianity.
In the 14th century, the site become known as the Rolls Estate, and provided private lodging for the Master of the Rolls and a chapel to house the records of the Courts of Chancery. The Rolls Chapel was demolished in 1895 all that remains of the chapel now are the three funerary monuments and the stained-glass panels.
Now, the space is used for university events – for example Special Collections regularly hold exhibitions of rare books and records that the University own which are open to all King’s students and staff.
More recently in October 2015, Prince William, along with Sir David Attenborough, Bear Grylls and a number of our own students, visited the Weston Room for a key speech on wildlife conservation, which caused a bit of excitement here on campus!
The final room of the tour is the Original Cell, a space which has been preserved in its original state since the building’s completion in 1851. Despite what the name suggests, this was not a prison cell, but instead the Maughan Library was previously the Public Records Office for the country and is now Grade II* listed.
This building is also the first fire-proof building in the country – the Palace of Westminster had burned down in 1836, and so with the important documentation housed here, it was crucial that this building would not be at the same risk. As a result, the cell doors – like the one we entered through – weigh half a ton each and are cast iron in order to attempt any outbreak of fire.
There was also no artificial lighting or central heating in the original building as they were considered a fire hazard – which explains the large number of windows as everything had to be naturally lit.
The space is currently an informal prayer space, so if it is not in use you can have a look into how the spaces would have looked in the past.
We also have Rolls Café downstairs on the lower ground, which offers hot and cold food as well as hot drinks for students studying in the library, and they have extended hours particularly during the exam periods.
Thank you for joining the tour today, I hope you enjoyed your visit to King’s College London and you’ve got a feel for why all of the students studying here chose King’s.
If you want to learn more about our range of subjects, you can explore our collection of recorded introduction talks on our On-demand open day, on our website. We will also be running an Open Day on campus again in the summer, and you can find more details of this also on our Open Day website.
If you have any questions for the admissions team, we recommend contacting the King’s Advisors on email@example.com. You can also connect with current students and members of staff directly via our UniBuddy chat service.
Finally, if you were looking for a tour of the accommodation sites, you can contact the King’s Residences team through their webpage to arrange a viewing.
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