On instruction from the Royal Library of Belgium, work started in April 2017 on the renovation of the newspaper and contemporary media reading room.
The original late 1960s reading room was completely demolished, and the existing steel structure in the room was razed to the ground. After stripping the room the new steel structure was measured up. It forms the base for the elliptical mezzanine.
The parapet of this mezzanine was formed of custom-made bookshelves which follow the curve of the ellipse. This design was echoed further in the curved shelving on the ground floor and the large central oval reading table in the middle of the room.
The centrepiece is without doubt the 6 meter high totem cladded with newspaper front pages spanning the decades. The new reading room has 190 seats and a lift allows wheelchair users to access the mezzanine above.
The new light reading room houses more than 2000 Belgian and 500 foreign newspaper titles, from 1800 to today. Digitised newspapers are also accessible via BelgicaPress.