Student led change
Building on strength
The positive feedback we received in the National Student Survey each year up until the current pandemic struck suggested that we were addressing all the issues that mattered most to our students. When lockdown began, we worked tirelessly to reimagine our systems and services so that you were not disadvantaged. Every year, our students have told us that our resources were one of the things they liked most about their courses. We were therefore very keen to work with our suppliers to provide more eresources than ever before delivered straight to your desktop from the first lockdown to ensure you had access to as many books as possible online without having to visit the library, in what has since shaped our digital-first approach to buying new books and resources, which should help us free up even more study space in the longer-term.
Space for all
Competition for study space in the library is a familiar theme in student feedback, and we have increased the amount of study space by around a hundred every year, supported by 410 loanable full-size laptops that can be connected wirelessly to the network anywhere in the library building. We were glad that we did so when the lockdown struck because it allowed us to maximise the amount of study space that we were able to offer while maintaining safe social distancing. We deeply appreciate the need to get out of halls and student bedrooms to learn and maintain your wellbeing, especially with gyms and other recreational facilities being closed for months at a time. Even during lockdown, we have managed to maintain a small Individual Silent Study Zone in one of the areas that remain naturally quieter, because we know this is important to many of you. In other areas, we allowed people to participate in online tutorials to ease the pressure of moving between in-person and online teaching in fast succession.
Supporting you wherever you study
We have more staff than ever before staffing our online chat service and have improved our website, including working with your Faculty Librarians to redesign your Subject pages from scratch to make them more intuitive and better adapted for each subject. Together with our EBSCO Discovery Service, these Subject pages bring these together for easier access and give you powerful search tools to help you find what you want more quickly and reliably and our friendly and expert staff are also on hand every day to help show you how to get started or improve your search strategy to find more of what you need more easily.
New and intuitive
We redesigned our website to make finding what you need simpler and more intuitive. A single tap now takes you from the Library catalogue to a 3D floor plan showing on which shelf particular books can be found to save your time. Loans of books and articles from other libraries, including the British Library, are now unlimited as well, so you have access to not only what we have but everything we can borrow. We also bought in a new referencing platform, Cite Them Right, in an attempt to make referencing easier, although the most popular solution remains to chat to a member of our friendly team.
Continuity and change
We have also worked hard to keep you abreast of all the changes in the department and to check that students living in halls were coping and offer tips and tricks to help support student wellbeing. We ended fines for overdue books while acting more swiftly to ensure books you reserve are brought back for you to use more quickly. We redesigned our individual silent zones to help ensure you were not disturbed while trying to work without distractions. Until the lockdown stopped us, we were also working with Sports & Recreation to offer drop-in brief relaxation sessions in the library each week where you could chill and relax. You can still chill with the same mindfulness sessions at home.
We remain as proud as ever to buy and decorate the Library with our students’ competition-winning art to stimulate and inspire future generations as well as shorter-lived displays of interests, hobbies and projects from students, often displaying their work for the very first time. There is nothing like the feeling when we see the burgeoning confidence of students seeing their work exhibited publicly for the first time.
Tell us what you think
We appreciate that all of you graduating now are living through one of the most difficult times in our history, and that with the best will in the world, you have all had to adapt at short notice to new ways of working and learn to cope with prolonged periods of isolation in order to make ti through your courses. If you can spare the time, though, your comments on how we can improve the library for future students would be invaluable to us. We love to listen to what all our clients think, particularly at times of such rapid and disruptive change. The comments, change suggestions, ideas and criticisms of previous student cohorts have helped shape the library you know now through student-led change and we continue to draw inspiration from their insights and creativity. Your feedback will shape the experience of future generations, as will the suggestions we receive from all students through our online suggestion box. Tell us what how we can help you better and become the next wave of student-led change you would like to see.