The issue of noise and disturbance in various parts of the library continued to elicit a number of complaints during this year. Following the introduction of YourSpace on Level 1 in summer 2007 as a specific venue for collaborative work, other new zones were set up in 2008 in order to try to mark out and protect areas for quiet study more effectively. The new Research Space on Level 4 of the building should help to improve the overall situation.
The temperature in the building remained problematic at various times: there were several complaints about over-heating earlier in the year; at the end of 2008 there were many more complaints that it was too cold. The library has worked closely with the University's Estates Services throughout 2008 in an attempt to rectify the infrastructural problems, and we are assured that colleagues in Estates are giving the matter their full attention.
The condition of the public toilets in the library is a source of real concern to us. Following a number of representations to the Estates Service, a programme of refurbishment is due to begin during the summer vacation in 2009.
A number of complaints about the library loans system were dealt with on an individual basis with the people concerned, as the issues were generally personal rather than structural. Where specific deficiencies were noted with the provision of stock, they were investigated with the subject areas concerned. On a more general level, the library is committed to working closely with the faculties to ensure that reading lists are received in a timely way so that new and additional copies of books are purchased when needed.
A number of comments and suggestions were received about recycling. Prompted by students concerns, and the enthusiasm of a number of members of staff, the library has set up a new Environmental Group to plan and publicise a range of energy saving and recycling initiatives.
It is gratifying to note that the number of complaints about opening hours has decreased markedly since they were reviewed and increased at the beginning of 2008. However, opening hours are kept continually under review, and further improvements are planned for the exam periods and summer vacation in 2009.
Particular issues which emerged from an analysis of the comments received are listed below.