£50K First Group boost for University library

The UK’s largest bus and rail operator, FirstGroup, today revealed that it has provided £50k worth of funding for the construction of the University of Aberdeen’s new library.

The news marks the third major charitable announcement from FirstGroup this year.  In January it pledged £100k toward the construction of the proposed Aberdeen Aquatic Centre - a joint venture between Aberdeen City Council, the University of Aberdeen and sportscotland which will extend the excellent facilities at Aberdeen Sports Village.  Meanwhile, last month the company revealed that it has raised £4m in cash and kind for its charity partners, Save the Children, over the last four years.

Former Chief Executive of FirstGroup and current Senior Governor at the University of Aberdeen, Sir Moir Lockhead joined Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, at the site of the library this morning where construction has reached a new milestone with the completion of the building’s striking front elevation.

Sir Moir said: “The new building promises to be the finest library facility in the UK.  I am proud that FirstGroup is part of that, proud too that the University of Aberdeen is investing in world class facilities.”

He continued: “Aberdeen is FirstGroup’s home - the city has supported us as we’ve grown to become the UK’s largest transport operator and a global leader.  Being able to support projects such as the new library and the proposed aquatic centre is a privilege and allows us to give something back to the city.”

Professor Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “The new library has been designed to meet not only the needs of students but the wider community with a flexible range of uses accommodating everything from quiet individual study through to group and seminar work, exhibition and events.  

“We are grateful for the donation from FirstGroup as the library reaches another significant milestone. The library is an iconic building for Aberdeen and will provide significant public access to our rare historic collections.”

First’s £50k contribution will support the creation of a quiet study area on the third floor, offering fantastic views of Aberdeen, and is expected to be one of the most frequently used areas of the library.

The University of Aberdeen’s new Library and Special Collections Centre is a £57 million project to revolutionise its learning and research environment. As well as providing a flexible, 21st century environment for over 16,000 students and the University’s international community of academics, the Library will also provide a secure storage and preservation environment for over 200,000 rare books and manuscripts. The building’s design also incorporates facilities for public engagement activities and the display and promotion of the internationally significant treasures in the University’s historic archives. Danish architects schmidt hammer lassen won an international design competition to create a concept for the new Library and their vision is being constructed by Pihl UK. Construction began in September 2009 and the Library will open to students, staff and the community in September 2011.