Brief client and company background:

The University of Leeds was established in 1904 and is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. A world top 100 University and is renowned globally for its quality of teaching and research. Investing in Knowledge and Opportunity is key for the University; ensuring students have the best possible education and experience possible.

Leeds University Library is one of the major academic research libraries of the UK, attracting students and scholars from around the world to its rich and extensive print, online and manuscript collections gathered during its 100-year history.

A need for a new Library was identified by the University of Leeds as at certain times of year, particularly during exam periods, existing campus libraries were often completely full, with every seat occupied. Laidlaw Library, would provide a further 1,000 extra seats to address the issue.

Overall Brief:

The University wanted an innovative space and designed the library with architects via BIM modelling to ensure that designs would support student learning by providing a gateway to information in all formats and an inspirational study environment.

This inspirational library would need audio visual solutions and spaces to match. Facilities were required for group work, room booking solutions for bookable space, on site academic skills support and conveniently located café facilities.

PC’s were to be installed at approximately one quarter of all the individual study seats and two thirds of the group study seats would have access to a PC for collaborative working. A laptop loan facility would be provided and Wi-Fi would be available throughout the building.

Services Provided:

Consultation, Collaboration and Innovation Were Key

Already an incumbent supplier to the University through the NEUPC, Universal over a period of 12 months worked in a consultative manner with the University, library managers and key AV technicians to determine what was needed from an audio visual perspective, providing the University with innovative solutions to choose from.

The University produced a video fly through from architect’s designs which was their vision for how they wanted the Library to look and be used by students, allowing Universal to get creative and innovative with the spaces available.

Universal AV worked in partnership with key suppliers, and leading manufacturers based on the quality of product and solution they are able to offer, timescales and distribution channels. These trusted relationships allowed us to deliver unified communication solutions to the University that were intuitive and easy to use as there would be no AV technicians on site to facilitate the working of the solutions.

The solutions proposed by Universal would provide a multi-functional library encompassing, lecture capture, seminar rooms, complex communication solutions, digital signage solutions, video wall, individual collaborative meeting rooms and collaborative pods throughout the space where Bring Your Own Device could be deployed.

Solutions Chosen

Reception, Video Wall and Digital Signage

As you step into reception you are immediately greeted by a 3 by 3 47” Anti-Glare High Definition Panasonic Video wall, showcasing the journey of the Library from rubble to the magnificent building and facilitates now in situ. Panasonic were chosen due to their relationship with Leeds and as a leading supplier of display screen and projection solutions in the Higher Education Market.

Further Panasonic Displays are located throughout the reception area and at key points throughout the library, showcasing digital signage and vital information the Library and University wishes to share with its users.

Podiums have also been utilized to facilitate free standing signage solutions.

Community Classroom and Split Teaching Rooms

These followed the University’s standard teaching room specifications. Dalen lecterns were used, with Panasonic Laser Projectors, as well as the facility to capture seminars through the lecture capture solution.

6 Individual Group Study Rooms/ Collaborative Group Working Pods
Collaboration is key in the education environment, with more courses focusing on team based learning, the library needed to facilitate this in study areas. It was proposed that 6 small group study meeting rooms would be located on the ground floor, for students to book online, or via the room booking systems located on the wall outside the room.

The rooms would contain 55” CTouch Leddura 10 point Interactive Display mounted on the wall with a Synergy collaborative table in the room, HD Video Recording Facilities, all controlled by a Crestron Touch Control Panel and Airmedia Presenter supporting Bring Your Own Device.

Following on from the rooms on the ground floor further Pods would be available throughout the Library, providing group study and learning for students. The Pods would encompass slightly smaller CTouch Ledurra Interactive Displays at 47”, would be set around the Top Tec Synergy Desk to promote collaboration and Crestron Touch Control.


The installation commenced in January 2015 and was completed by mid-February 2015 in order to meet the timescales of the Library’s grand opening.

By working closely with contractors and the University, we could ensure that we worked swiftly throughout the library, entering rooms and area’s already signed off from a building and decorating point of view, ensuring we were not hindered in the installation and commissioning of the solutions.

Services Provided:


This outstanding facility is of benefit both to the University’s students and the wider Leeds community.

Tony Molloy, Panasonic, comments: “We have worked in close partnership with Universal AV and the University of Leeds for many years and were delighted to play such a key role on such an amazing project. As a market leader in display and projection solutions to the Higher Education Market, we were able to help advice Universal and the University on display screens for the impressive video wall in the entrance, as well as all portrait screens for the signage solutions throughout the Library. The resources the library provides are amazing; students have the latest in technology available to them.”

Simon Ferguson, Dalen Top Tec comments: “We were delighted to be able to provide the University with solutions to meet their requirements for collaborative team work and meeting spaces, as well as open plan huddle spaces. The kit in situ looks absolutely fantastic and provides students with a modern, comfortable working and learning environment. Universal as usual were a pleasure to work with, project managing timescales, order receipts to enable manufacture, facilitating delivery of racks to be built off site, and then transported to the University. They make the operation seamless.”

“We were delighted to work with Universal on the Laidlaw project, and really help bring the solutions to life, with intuitive, easy to use control solutions.” Commented Howard Algar, Crestron

Rowan Brunger, Medium comments: “Universal are one of the largest suppliers of CTOUCH in the UK, and we were delighted that the University Library chose the CTOUCH Interactive Screen as there preferred display. CTOUCH is a market leader in interactive displays; with easy to use software and a 7 year Warranty, it is easy to see why.”

The cost of ownership for the library is low; they are robust and versatile for many different setting and uses. The installation that Universal completed with CTOUCH into the library is typical of Universal’s skill at combining technology with workspace.”

Nick Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, Universal AV Services commented: “To have been involved from the beginning, to shape and add value to such a fantastic facility is hugely satisfying, I would like to thank my team and supply partners for their hard work and dedication on what is undoubtedly an resounding success.”

University of Leeds Laidlaw Library

“Our students love the vibrant Laidlaw library and its wonderful digital environment. We’ve got bookable group study rooms where they can prepare presentations and collaborate on shared work by connecting up to four laptops to the big screen using Airmedia. It’s wifi enabled and has amazing touch screen technology and digital signage on every floor. Universal AV have transformed the way we work, we love Laidlaw and our students do too.”

Audrey Cobb – Laidlaw Library Manager

University of Leeds Laidlaw Library

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