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The Centre for Molecular Informatics building and the Library

The Chemistry Library, serving the entire Department of Chemistry, is an integral part of the Centre for Molecular Informatics (CMI). It is a highly-valued facility for academic and assistant staff, postdoctoral researchers, postgraduates and undergraduates studying chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, as well as researchers from other related disciplines across the university.

The Library supports the research and teaching needs of the Department of Chemistry in terms of collections and electronic access and provides a quiet and calm environment for scholarly work. Reported first impressions on entering the Library are of space and light.



The Library was part of a £6.67 million building project (funded by Unilever). The CMI was built between 1999 and 2000 and the library opened on January 11th 2001. The brief was to provide an open-plan space for private study with book and journal storage and on-line access to information systems suited to an increasingly electronic age. The reading room space offers sufficient flexibility to adapt to future needs.



The CMI building is set on a slight angle to the Department of Chemistry and adjacent road. It is separately constructed but attached by bridge walkways to the main department. The Library occupies the whole of the first floor of the CMI building.

The building is constructed with 12 steel columns and an enormous steel tree supporting the second floor. The tree is placed under a glass pyramid from which daylight is reflected through a light-well. The steel tree symbolises Yggdrasil, the World Ash tree in Scandinavian mythology which has its roots in the underworld and reaches up towards the light with its branches in the heavens. (This is considered a powerful symbol of the role of molecular chemistry).

The building materials for the library were chosen for their light-reflective and acoustic qualities.

The floor is tongued and grooved maple.

The walls are constructed with panels of acoustic brick whitewashed to preserve their absorbent quality.

The ceiling is lined with red lacquered panels.

195 suspended metal-housed low level fluorescent lights match the steel beams and central steel tree.

The Library measures 5 metres in height. The reading room occupies 594 sq m. In addition, there is a Library Office, print room, and basement store.

A specially-commissioned bronze statue of Minerva by Danish artist Jette Vohlert overlooks the Library.



Cornelia Zibrandtsen Architects with Professor Erik Christian Sorensen (Denmark).

A local company, CMC Architects, was commissioned as Executive Architects.



4 University Managed Desktop (UMD) computers, 6 docking solutions consisting of large monitor and cables, printing, scanning, copying, and wireless facilities providing access to University-subscribed eresources including online journals and databases.

118 study places.

10 armchairs offering comfortable seating area for browsing.



The stock includes printed books and periodicals in the fields of inorganic, organic, physical, and theoretical chemistry, which, at the research level overlap with physics, materials science, biochemistry, biology and medicine. There are collections of the core textbooks required for undergraduate teaching and a reference collection.