It opened on 10 April 2007 to staff and students of the University, although it was officially opened on 26 September 2007 by Harsh Srivastav, a graduate of the University and former President of the Students Union. The project was conceived and is jointly operated by the University Library and the Corporate Information and Computing Services (CiCS). Soon after opening, satirical British magazine, Private Eye questioned the appropriateness of the building's name as a "commons", pointing out that ordinary residents of Sheffield, temporary staff and visiting researchers from other universities are forbidden access.
The IC has over 1,300 study spaces, 500 computers, and carries 100,000 texts. There is an information desk and a café on the ground floor, toilets and water fountains on all levels and shower facilities on the first level. The building is open to University of Sheffield staff and students 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.