Transformation Project at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

We were delighted to have been part of a three-year project with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. The project formed part of a multi-million-pound refurbishment of this post-graduate research facility, sited within a historic Grade 2 listed building in Russell Square, London.

The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) is attached to the University of London and houses a national legal research library within its Russell Square location. The function of the IALS is to facilitate and disseminate the results of advanced study and research in the discipline of law, for the benefit of persons and institutions in the UK and abroad.

We have a 20-year history of working with the IALS, and when selected to be involved in the library transformation, we identified the key stages to the project:

  1. The Access Control System that was in place needed updating, in order to create a monitored entrance and exit location for library users. The Access Control System provides IALS with statistical data that can be accessed remotely, and used to monitor the number of library users, peak time usage and other user habits.

    Due to the renovations, the Access Control System needed to have two temporary installations during the three-year period, with their permanent position sited in the third, and final location. To create these temporary access locations, we designed floor ramps that could quickly and easily be installed, ensuring minimal disruption and potential downtime as the barriers would be quickly back online in their new locations.

  2. All 170,000 books in this specialist reference library needed to be converted from using barcode to RFID technology, a more enhanced solution designed to generate self-service and assist with inventory control.

    We managed the book tagging service on behalf of IALS, working through all 170,000 books to convert each one over to the new RFID technology. With the use of a barcode reader, the team were able to scan the previous ID and implement the RFID encoding at the same time, enabling them to complete the tagging of several thousand books a day.

  3. A new room booking solution was introduced for two new study rooms, which students can book in advance. Using the Juno software system, this solution requires no staff intervention to book or provide access to the rooms. The student simply books through the Juno online web application. On arrival at the room, the student presents their ID card at the console by the door, that also shows room availability and can allow bookings. The unit identifies both the user, and the booking slot, before releasing the door through electronic lock control. The system registers all arrivals and will automatically process no-shows.
  4. A Self-Service kiosk for all library users were also provided. Self-service facilities are of huge benefit to a library of this size, significantly freeing up time for the library staff and creating a smoother experience for library users.

    The kiosk can be used to check out, and return books, through a simple scanning system that can read up to 15 books at once. Users can also renew items at the kiosk, as well as choosing to print or email their receipt, reserve items, and check their account status. The kiosk utilises RFID technology, and in addition to user efficiency benefits, it also removes the need for the library to manage separate security tags and barcodes.

    The self-service kiosk also retains functionality in the event of a network failure, and in such an event would continue to work in an offline mode, all with minimal staff intervention.

To complete the journey of transformation, we supplied the IALS library team with a ‘scanning wand’. To use this new handheld inventory management tool, a staff member can simply pass the wand in front of the bookshelves, and it will pick up all of the RFID codes for all tagged material on the shelf, allowing for fast and efficient stocktaking and other stock control tasks.

Narayana Harave, IALS Digital Manager describes using the new stock taking wands as “a doddle”, going on to say “The team at Telepen are all brilliant at their jobs. Their level of experience and knowledge is why we decided to use them for this important project. Telepen’s project management was excellent, the team were happy to come and meet with architects, builders and electricians, providing them with technical drawings that were needed so that everything was managed properly. The level of detail was impressive, and the measurements were correct to the millimetre.”

Kevin Sontag, Telepen Sales Account Manager, described the project as “A pleasure to see implemented”, continuing “Telepen always look to have long-term relationships with their customers and to support their products through a long-life cycle, with a suitable product ready to replace and upgrade when the time comes.”

With over 110,000 visits to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies library in 2018-19, each and every user can now enjoy the benefits of the newly refurbished and upgraded facility.

Narayana Harave from IALS, concluded by saying, “Using one supplier for all our systems makes it easier for us, and having worked with the team at Telepen for a long time we know that the service they give us cannot be faulted, they provide excellent customer service and really look after you.”

To find out how we can help with your transformation project, call +44 (0)1582 769991 or email