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Duston School profile

2012 Library Design Award Winner

The Duston School


The Hub at Duston SchoolThe Duston School, in Northamptonshire, is a successful Business, Enterprise and Science Specialist College of 1,300 students. However, the school has been through some challenging times and in just seven years has gone from special measures to expecting ‘outstanding’ at their next Ofsted. Contributing to this change has been a new focus for their library; re-branded as The Hub, it has become central in helping students learn and enjoy the concept of study and work.

Duston School LibraryWhat is so amazing about The Hub is that it is a totally untraditional library both in terms of use of space and staffing. It is centred more on supporting students with what they need most – people and resources and space to do different things. Learning might be through books, or it might be through play. Students might learn from a teacher or from another student. It functions more like a gigantic office rather than a library – but it is even more flexible than an office as the whole room can be reconfigured for a different purpose in minutes.

The Hub has a large footprint and as our judges commented, large spaces can often be difficult to space plan, but the creative use of pods and screens realises the potential and allows multi platform, multi activity and multi learning to carry on simultaneously. The Hub is everything for everyone.

Duston School Library PodulesThe much talked about and sometimes difficult to define, learning commons approach to educational classroom and library design is realised here with staff and students working alongside and with each other; imaginative design and furnishings allow a free flow of people and activities throughout the day. Above all, The Hub flips the top down approach to learning and creating and gives The Duston School students ownership of their own space and their own place. Funky furnishings, a bold colour scheme, creative space planning, natural and artificial lighting, effective acoustics and ever changing, motivating signage and graphics make The Hub a destination like no other.

The success of The Hub is a reminder of Principal, Jane Herriman’s, objectives for the rejuvenated space; she wanted the students to feel safe, respected, valued and supported. She wanted to do away with the ‘shush’ mentality of the previous library. She wanted it to be the most used space in school both during the school day and outside of it. She wanted it to be open at all times for anyone wanting to use it. And she wanted her students to have to opportunity to learn in a multi-media environment.

With a 90% occupancy on most days The Hub has met all of these requirements perfectly and fulfils the school motto – 'to make our best better'.

Demco Video of The Duston School

A promotional video made by Demco Interiors, showcasing some of the design elements to be found in the Duston School Hub.