Library

Using the Library

About the Library

The University of Surrey Library offers access to extensive online and print collections, a varied study environment and a range of tailored support to develop your study skills.

Our history

The Battersea Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1891, and began concentrating on science and technology from around 1920 onwards, teaching day and evening students for degrees of the University of London. In 1957, it was renamed Battersea College of Technology due to its technological focus, and by the early 1960s, a decision was made to move the institution to Guildford, rename it as the University of Surrey, and award its own degrees, as it had outgrown its main building in Battersea Park Road.

George Edwards building

The University of Surrey Library was built in 1972, following the institution’s move from Battersea to Guildford. The building was named after Sir George Edwards, who was not only an outstanding aircraft designer and engineer who conceived of the idea of a four-engine Viscount turbo-prop airliner, but was also the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University between the years 1964-1979. This building was designed by the Building Design Partnership, who produced a functional concrete design complementing the development of the new Stag Hill campus. This new building provided Surrey’s students with a traditional stock and basic seating arrangement.

Facts & Figures


• Cost to build - £449,000
• Number of books – 225,000
• Number of print journals – 2,700
• Number of e-books/e-journals – 0
• Student population – 2500
• Number of staff – 300
• Study space capacity – 934

Learning Centre

Today, things have changed quite significantly. Since the year 2000, the University of Surrey has been committed to investing in the campus through building development and other improvements. There was a pressing need for the Library building to be updated to keep up with the growing number of students and the increasing demand for more stock and study space, and as a result, the new Library and Learning Centre – which was designed by architects RMJM, with a modernist glass interior and gold exterior – opened in 2011. This new building has enabled us to offer a greater seating capacity as well as expand our physical collections. By comparison with 1972, we now also offer a vast number of e-books and e-journals so that students don’t even need to be on site to access the information they need. With both informal, social learning zones, insulated rooms for silent study and 24/7 opening during semester, it is clear to say that the building now provides for the changing needs of Surrey’s students, offering a wider variety of learning spaces to suit all different types of study requirements, any time of the day (or night!) 

Facts & Figures

• Cost to build in 2011 - £13.2 million
• Number of books – 545,000
• Number of print journals – 1,000
• Number of e-books – 227,400
• Number of e-journals – 47,000
• Student population – 14,000
• Number of staff – 2,400
• Study space capacity - 1340

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

More contact details
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