Kimberlin Library

Administrative / Biographical History

The Kimberlin Library brought together three smaller subject libraries which were situated in different buildings across campus. Improved library services were considered essential to meet the academic objectives of the new Leicester Polytechnic. The building was constructed over four floors, connected to a single storey Exhibition Hall. The concept was to create an open plan and flexible building. Ground conditions dictated use of piled foundations, on which the concrete frame of the building sits. The floors and roof use a ‘M’ mould waffle floor system. The exterior and parts of the interior are faced in red engineering brick, while the internal timber is Colombian Pine. The main entrance was on the first floor, which also included the counter and enquiry desks, periodicals and a lecture room. The ground floor held audio visual and stack material as well as offices, while books and study spaces occupied the 2nd and 3rd floors. The Library was opened in November 1977.

The Library was named for Archibald Kimberlin, OBE, who was a member of the Governing Body of Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology since 1947. Kimberlin Chaired the Governors from 1971 until his death in March 1976. As well as his business interests in the clothing industry, Kimberlin initiated some of the first management education schemes in the UK which led to the formation of the School of Management at Leicester Polytechnic. He also served as an Alderman and in 1964-65 became the first Catholic Lord Mayor of Leicester since the Reformation.

In 1997 the Library was extended with a new wing added over the site of the Kimberlin Exhibition Hall. The extension has a lighter weight construction as it was intended to house computer facilities rather than large numbers of books. A new entrance was added with disabled access and a fabric canopy. The building is steel frame clad in grey ceramic panels. It was designed by Eva Jiricna Architects. In 2007 the older portion of the Library was refurbished and modified, while a new entrance area was completed in 2015.