Summary of actions taken - 2009-2010

Robinson Library

Opening Hours

Concerns continue to be raised regarding the adequacy of the library's opening hours particularly during exam times and the summer vacation when postgraduates are mainly using the library. We have continued to increase opening hours when it was practical and affordable to do so. For the first time during exam times the Robinson Library was open until midnight seven days a week. This partly came about through students highlighting the need to revise prior to Saturday examinations.

Throughout the summer we were open until 9pm Monday to Thursday and until 5pm on Saturdays, meaning that first time readers could use our facilities beyond 7pm Monday to Thursday and beyond 2pm on Saturdays. We are aware that a number of readers would like to see 24/7 opening, especially during assessment and exam times, and many postgraduates would welcome Sunday openings during the summer, but we do have to balance the costs of this against other demands on our budget. Opening hours is an issue that will continue to be reviewed.

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 hard copies for large cohorts but, by investing more in e-book collections, we are hoping we can increase the availability of essential texts.

Temperature in the library

The library continued to have ongoing issues with regard to moderating the temperature and air circulation in different parts of the building during 2009/10. This often resulted in parts of the building becoming uncomfortably cold whilst others are too warm. Over the past year we have continued to work with colleagues in Estates Support Services to rectify problems as they have arisen though, given the building's aging infrastructure, it has not always been as fast as we would have liked.

During the summer vacation of 2010 the fire damper system was replaced and automated at substantial cost of over £200K in order to ensure we have better hot/cool air flow around the building. The impact of this work to date has been favorable though we continue to monitor the temperature around the building to try to ensure suitable temperatures for study are maintained.

Availability of study space

Visits to the Robinson Library increased by over 8% during 2009/10. This led to issues around the availability of study spaces during peak times. We are working hard to maximise the study spaces available. Between April 2010 and July 2010 we relocated a number of library staff with offices on levels 3 and 4, to underutilised space on Level 1, and converted the vacated staff office space to a variety of study spaces. This included creating for the first time a Postgraduate Study Room.

Noise in the library

The level of noise in computer clusters was reported by many Readers as an issue. In part to address this and increase access to IT, the library installed over eighty individual pcs on levels 3 and 4 so Readers had the opportunity to work away from the computer clusters on quieter floors in Spring 2010.

During the exam time the library ran a campaign which involved library staff regularly patrolling Level 3 and 4 to maintain a suitable level of noise. This was well received and, though it would be impossible to resource this type of monitoring all year around, the library is looking at the feasibility of doing this again during exam times.

IT

Over the course of 2009/10 we worked hard to increase the number of standard University computers available in the library. For the first time we have made standard university cluster computers available on Levels 3 and 4. These have proved very popular. We were also able to refurbish some more of our computer clusters.

Availability of power points

Increasing the number of available power points for laptop users has not been easy given the age of the building. In Spring 2010 we deployed a significant number of power extensions to increase the number of sockets by 40 overall. Whenever the opportunity arises, such as when are refurbishing a study area or cluster, we do take the opportunity to increase the number of power points.

Library's Toilets

Helpful feedback from female readers led to hooks and a small table being put in the newly refurbished ladies toilets on Level 2. Roller towels and toilet rolls running out during a busy period were partly addressed by increasing the checks on the toilets and by adding second toilet roll holders in cubicles in our toilets.

Availability of drinking water

In response to readers asking for better access to drinking water, a water cooler supply was installed on Level 2. Drinking water continues to be available in public toilets on Levels 3 and 4.

Walton Library

Particular issues which emerged from an analysis of the comments received are:

  • All suggestions for addition to the long loan and Student Text Collection were purchased.
  • There were a number of comments relating to the need for a water fountain in the library. This has now been installed in the café.
  • There were nine complaints about continuous fire alarm testing over a weekend during the examination period. The library had not been alerted to this prior to the event. All complainants were contacted by the library with apologies. Subsequent apologies were received by the students from the Estates Service who had not notified the library in advance.
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