Edge Hill's Solstice ushers in a rather vocal change

The days of silent study and threatening 'quiet' signs are long gone at Edge Hill University. The Ormskirk institution has unveiled a new social learning space on the ground floor of its Learning Resource Centre , where informal chat between friends and colleagues is encouraged rather than frowned upon.

The development is funded by SOLSTICE - the University's e-learning Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - and represents an innovative and stimulating study environment.

The new space includes a caf area, 'Book Ends', wireless networking, express PCs and group areas with large comfortable sofas. The LRC is now able to offer a variety of study environments to encourage group work but also maintains areas for silent research study.

Sue Roberts, Edge Hill's dean of learning services, said: "The new environment brings together the best of technology with real, comfortable learning spaces. Far from being 'hushed' by a librarian, people are encouraged to engage in conversation with their peers and to access a wide range of learning resources, stimulating their understanding and appreciation of their subject.

"This is an important development for staff and students and the feedback received so far has been excellent."

SOLSTICE, is one of 74 national Centres for Excellence.