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 welcomed APA 7th edition referencing with a return to our bespoke, continually updated in-house referencing advice service, Referencing@Portsmouth, supported with expert advice and guidance through our face-to-face and online chat enquiry services.
Convenience on demand
We replaced late return fines with automated renewals and introduced the popular click and collect service, which allows you to reserve books and have them picked from the shelves and made available for you to collect from the entrance area. Introduced originally as a safety measure to improve social distancing as lockdown eased, click and collect provides a convenient, time-saving way to get your hands on reading list books. While you might want to browse our shelves for more in-depth research so you can serendipitously discover books you might not have thought to seek out, for everything else, click and collect is here to stay!
We also introduced postal loans for everyone staying in the UK to ensure equity of access to our printed book stock for everyone. We strive to provide ebooks for all our distance learning courses and prioritise ebook purchases for essential reading for every course so that you can read or listen to your core materials at home or on the go without delay but for those books only available in print, this service development truly levels the playing field for all those who cannot visit the library regularly or easily.
Supporting your wellbeing
We made a particular effort to support your wellbeing during lockdown, sharing the latest thinking and tips on managing your mental health, workload, and staying connected while socially distanced. We continue to work closely with the Wellbeing Service to promote student mental health, have appointed Mental Health First Aiders and relaxation sessions in the library. Until the relaxation sessions are allowed to resume, you can don your headphones and chill wherever you are with the same mindfulness sessions, courtesy of the lovely Steph's (from Sports & Recreation) Grounded in Stillness blog and podcast.
Art and recreation
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 curating a regularly changing displays representing students' interests, hobbies and projects. 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 have lived through one of the most difficult times in living memory, adapting to study remotely and in comparative isolation, with assessments and teaching methods changing around you and with a library service that was forced to change to remote operation almost overnight. With the best will in the world, this cannot have been easy for any of you, and we are tremendously proud of all you have achieved and accomplished. If you can spare the time, your comments on how we can further enhance the library service and facilities to improve your study experience and that of the students who come after you is invaluable to us. We love to listen to you, particularly at times of rapid and disruptive change. The library service you see now developed as a result of comments, suggestions, ideas and criticisms from previous students and we continue to draw inspiration from students' insights and creativity. Tell us how we can help you better through our online suggestion box or comment on what you like and how we could improve in the National Student Survey and become the next wave of student-led change you would like to see.