Summary of actions taken - 2011-2012

Robinson Library

General observations

During 2011-12, we received 137 comment forms from the Tell us what you think service. Fifteen forms contained compliments about services and individual members of staff; 109 registered complaints about various aspects of the library.

It was apparent that complaints about opening hours, which figured largely a couple of years ago, have almost completely disappeared. This follows the introduction of 24/7 opening during term-time, which was prompted by comments and suggestions from students and is now a fully-embedded part of the library service.

Complaints about the number of PCs have also decreased considerably, following the addition of 150 extra PCs on Levels 3 and 4 of the building during 2011. In summer 2012, another 75 PCs were installed in the refurbished study areas. There are now over 450 PCs for student use throughout the Robinson Library.

Study environment

2011-12 was a particularly uncomfortable year for both staff and students, as temperatures in the building prompted the highest number of complaints about any specific issue. This has been a long-standing problem, but in summer 2012 the heating and ventilation plant in the older part of the building was completely replaced as part of the major refurbishment and a cost of approximately £400,000. We are now confident that this will be much less of an issue in future.

Noise in the library

We have been very concerned about the levels of noise on the main study floors, which has again prompted a number of complaints. In 2012 we introduced a text alert service, whereby students could contact library staff by text if they were being disturbed by the inconsiderate behaviour of others, so that the problem could be tackled immediately where it was occurring.

Our main effort, though, has been put into redesigning the whole of the study environment on Levels 3 and 4 of the library with individual partitioned study desks, to make it much better suited to quiet working. This development was prompted directly by research carried out by students on our behalf which helped to define students' expectations of the library and guide us to the most appropriate type of study furniture for their needs.

Books and ebooks

A number of comments were received about the provision of books and ebooks in the library. We have encouraged students to use The Books on Time service, which was introduced in 2011, to tell us directly which books are not in stock or unavailable. All income received from overdue charges is ring-fenced specifically for book purchases, and student requests receive priority treatment. During the course of the year over 700 books were purchased directly from student recommendations and requests.

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.
  • All stock suggestions have been purchased.