Summary of actions taken - 2010-2011

Robinson Library

Our aim is continuous improvement

In the course of 2010-11, 156 individual comments and suggestions were received via the library's “Tell us what you think” service, and it was gratifying to see that over 10% of those were compliments about the service provided, often by individual members of staff going the extra mile to help.

It was also noticeable that we received fewer complaints than in previous years about library opening hours, following the successful introduction of 24 hour opening in the Robinson Library during the summer exam period in 2011. In fact, expressions of thanks outnumbered the complaints this year! As a result of the popularity of this service, 24/7 opening has been put in place for all term-time weeks in 2011 and will continue in future.

The library building

The greatest number of complaints during the year related to various aspects of the library building and environment - with temperature problems at the top of the list. We have been working closely with colleagues in the University's Estates Support Service over a long period to try to alleviate these difficulties, and we have now secured funding for a major overhaul of the heating and ventilation system in summer 2012. We look forward to fresher air and more comfortable temperatures in all parts of the building when the works are completed.

The study environment

Incidents of noise in the library caused a number of complaints, particularly on the upper floors which are supposed to be preserved for quiet study. While the library staff are not able to patrol the building continuously, they spend a lot more time on the study floors during the exam periods in support of the library's 'Clean and quiet' campaigns which have been well-received. We expect to see greater improvements in the study environment after the large-scale refurbishment of the upper floors in summer 2012, when the large open tables, which seem to encourage conversation, are replaced by individual study desks.

Computers/IT

Demand for PCs in the library increases year on year, and there have been an increasing number of complaints and suggestions about IT facilities. As a direct result of these comments, we put an additional 100 PCs into the building in 2010, followed by another 50 over the Christmas vacation in 2011. When the library is refurbished in summer 2012, a further 75 PCs will be added, and power outlets will be put onto most desks on the upper floors for people who prefer to use their own laptops and mobile devices.

Books

There are always a number of complaints about the lack of availability of books - either not enough copies of standard texts, or requests for items we do not hold. As this appeared to be more of an issue in 2010-11 than in previous years, we introduced a new 'Books on Time' service which encourages people to tell us directly which books they need so that they can be ordered urgently. All the money received in overdue charges for books returned late (i.e. not on time) is allocated specifically to order the books that are requested via this service.

Walton Library

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

  • Complaints about the heating are a continual issue. There are severe issues throughout the medical school building regarding temperature regulation and these go beyond just the Walton Library and include all those who work and study in the Catherine Cookson Building. We continue to liaise with Estates regarding the problem.
  • The computer clusters are often booked out for teaching and this creates difficulties for those who need to access a PC. WE have liaised with the central timetabling team and they are ensuring that only sessions booked by the Faculty of Medical Sciences are scheduled for the clusters in the library. This has improved the situation somewhat.
  • NHS staff have been unhappy that we have restricted their borrowing so they may not borrow STC items, however this has been necessary as we feel it is important for students to have priority on those texts. We have ensured that copies of all are available in the general loan stock.
  • All stock suggestions have been purchased.