Summary of actions taken - 2008-2009

Robinson Library

Opening hours

Specific concerns were raised by postgraduate students who regarded our summer vacation 2009 opening hours inadequate, despite extending them for the first time in a number of years. Given this feedback and the library's commitment to supporting postgraduate study we plan to make further improvements to summer vacation opening hours in 2010.

Library environment

Temperature

The library has continued to have ongoing issues with regard to moderating the temperature and air circulation in different parts of the building. This often results in parts of the building becoming uncomfortably cold whilst others are too warm. The library has worked with Estates Support Services to try to address issues as they have arisen but now has a five year plan in place to renew as well as maintain the building's heating and ventilation systems. Major work is due to commence in June 2010 but we hope disruption will be kept to a minimum.

In addition to these ongoing issues we had serious problems when our heating system was not automatically turned on after the Christmas 2008 closure which resulted in a high number of complaints. This was very dissatisfactory for both Readers and the library's staff. Fortunately lessons were learnt from this experience and the return after the Christmas 2009 closure was much more satisfactory.

Toilets

Significant issues around the cleanliness of toilets in the library were also raised. The library has worked with Estate Support Services to try to address these. New cleaning schedules have been implemented; with cleaners working longer at the weekends and more checks being made in the afternoon and evenings, so that toilet rolls and towels are replaced more quickly.

Noise in the library

Managing noise in the library continues to be another important issue for readers. The library provides differently styled study areas to accommodate different learning styles and activities and is trying to establish the principle that as you move from Level 1 to 4 the quieter the environment should become. We are trying to achieve this by a mix of clear signage, suitable furniture arrangements and staff invention, especially during exam preparation periods. Though we do not have the staff resources to regularly patrol floors, staff on the information desk are happy to intervene where there is a particular issue.

The library's refurbished lifts were a cause of particular concern as their new audible announcements were found to be so loud to be distracting to readers and library staff alike. The volumes of these announcements have now been reduced to the lowest permissible volume level.

Loans and stock

Due to their nature, complaints about the library's loan service were dealt with on an individual basis. As in past years, feedback regarding the lack of core books for specific modules was received and investigated. It is often difficult to stock sufficient copies to satisfy the needs of all Readers but digitising key chapters and articles as well as investing in new e-book collections has helped to address the high demand for many of our texts.

In February 2010 we were very excited to be able to make available a new service with full-text access to over 100,000 eBooks, through the supplier EBook library (EBL), with new titles being added at a rate of 1-2,000 per month. The books, which cover a wide range of disciplines, can be accessed 24/7, read online or downloaded to a PC or hand held device, on or off campus, and as EBL allows multiple accesses to an eBook, there will be no turnaways.

Student Text Collection

There has been a mixed response to the introduction of the advanced booking system for the Student Text Collection. Though there was positive feedback that student text could now be booked ahead, the system meant that books could only be loaned in line with fixed booking slots. In late summer 2010 we hope to introduce a more flexible booking system where Readers can commence a booking slot at a time that suits, initial testing is proving promising.

Inter library loans

The removal of a dedicated inter library loan service point was a concern to some readers, especially when they found themselves queuing to purchase a form and then queuing again to submit it. Inter library loan forms are now freely available in the library and payment is only necessary on submission of the form, so readers do not have to queue twice.

The library has also moved to a new integrated inter library loan system which allows readers to request and monitor inter library loans via their library account.

Walton Library

Particular issues which emerged from an analysis of the comments received are listed below.

  • The library continues to be too cold in certain parts. Despite assurances that this would be resolved by the end of the MEDSPAN works, this is not the case. Complaints are forwarded to Estates, but little progress is being made. This continues to frustrate both library staff and users.
  • There were some complaints at the opening of the new social study area as students were concerned that there were fewer study spaces, they were reassured that this was not the case, and that actually, more study spaces were now available.
  • Nine comments regarding opening hours referred to requests for the first Sunday during the Christmas vacation. Once we became aware that the students had an exam, the library was opened on that day to provide study space and access to resources.