Student led change 2017

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Not so long ago we didn't even have loanable laptops. We saw how much you love using them and so have made hundreds more available every year since! Just one of the successes of student led change. We are always looking for ways to improve the Library and invariably find our clients the greatest source of inspiration and innovation. If you have an idea for something you would like to see, jot it down and pop it in the red post box in Area 0A or let us know through our Online Suggestion Box.

Your Library was designed around the way you showed us you want to work, with open plan spaces and flexible, movable furniture, fast wireless computer network, a café at its heart, and everything you need for a flexible day’s study within easy reach. With everything in one place, you only need leave for a change or a break. 

Opening up the possibilities

“Great library,loads of space. ”

You loved the ground floor refurbishment but told us that, “Even though it is very big and open 24 hours, there can be limited space in the library.” We are working hard to introduce mobile shelving this year that will free more study space than ever before so you can study well even when the Library is at its busiest.

With more computers, loanable laptops and study spaces than ever before, a reimagined Third Space in the Students’ Union, you can work flexibly alone or with others however and wherever suits you best. 

Giving you more of what you want

We observed that you clearly needed more spaces dedicated to group study, and so we moved out of our offices, opened up the Meetings Room for you to use, and installed the popular drop-in meeting pods and study booths on the ground floor, vastly increasing the amount of study space that lends itself to individual silent study. 

“Excellent facilities, the library and all buildings have state-of-the-art technology and enough space for me to always have a place to work.”

Open even longer

 You told us you particularly liked the Library opening 24/7 during revision periods.  We now open 24/7 all year except for the Christmas vacation, supported by longer café opening hours than ever before and new, reliable and more diversely stocked vending machines this year to support you whenever you wish to study.  To support our postgraduate students and anyone who needs to sit exams over the summer, we now open until midnight throughout the summer vacation.  For the dedicated postgraduate, we also offer the Postgraduate Study Suite – a place away from the buzz of the main library to work together or carry out your research in splendid isolation.

Improved catering facilities

You told us that you needed refreshments at all times of the day and night during 24/7 study and asked for more reliable vending machines: 

“In the early hours of the morning, when the cafe and Co-Op are shut, it would be nice to have access to a bag of crisps. I have no doubt that it would generate a lot of revenue!”

We worked with the Food On Campus team to offer you longer café opening times and new reliable vending machines offering a more diverse selection of foods, hot and cold drinks available 24/7, even when the local shops are closed. We also installed more drinking water fountains across the Library, including on the second floor, so you never have to travel far to keep working efficiently.

Food and drink are also at last allowed on every floor with more cleaning laid on to help keep your study environment clean and pleasant at all times.

Better toilet facilities

You told us that you wanted, “A toilet on each floor in the Library, if it is something that can be done. It would really save student's time having to go all the way to the ground floor to use the general toilets whilst studying.” We now have luxuriously spacious new toilet blocks on every floor and refurbished all the existing ground floor toilets.

 A more congenial study environment

We believe that quality and not just quantity of study space is important, and we have sought to better display both your stunning artwork and other projects in the Library, exhibiting two fascinating CCI displays this year and numerous examples of other student work. 

“Just to say how much I enjoy and appreciate the artwork on the second floor. I absolutely love taking a few minutes away from my studies to look and think about the portrayals and skills involved in producing them. It really aids my work anyway!” 

 Personalised just for you

Everyone likes to work differently and we have sought to balance demands for different types of learning environment so that there is something that is suitable for everyone, from different spaces maintained at different temperatures to different and clearly labelled study zones, so there is somewhere for everyone.

With increasing student numbers, silent study space can be at a premium at times, such that a place many feel is “meant to be a quiet place to study yet can be [noisier] in the library than outside.” While you can text security discreetly to deal with troublemakers, you can now collect free ear plugs and enjoy your own near silent space wherever you choose to study.

Places to rest

You told us you needed to rest and so we completely redesigned Third Space in the neighbouring Student Union building to offer a diverse mixture of environments for group study and relaxation, including deck chairs that are perfect for power naps, being just comfortable enough for a short sleep but not so much as to promote oversleeping!

The Book Nook was introduced as an oasis of calm and relaxation in the middle of a hub of learning, where you can be exposed to new authors and spheres of thought you might otherwise have never discovered. 

Clean, simple and clear

We saw how distracting renewing books could be and how much distress fines could cause, while our staff told us they wanted to spend their time helping you rather than taking your money, so we abolished fines for any book that has not been specifically requested by someone else and made all our books renew automatically. We are closer to realising our dream of zero fines than ever before and with the new option to pay online or through any Library self-service kiosk using My Account any fines you do accrue have never been so easy to pay. 

“The library borrowing system works well and is convenient; I particularly like the automatic renewal of books!”

With clear directions

When you want answers, you don’t want the next question to be how do I find them! We have made it easier than ever before to find books and facilities by introducing 3D maps, improving signage around the building and introducing a brand new system for finding your books on your computer or mobile phone by subject or classmark

Here to help you

If you have not done so already, or you are have joined us recently, check out our new Introducing… series for simple, visual bite-sized introductions to the essentials of Library life with videos to show you how to get started and get on, wherever you are in your studies. 

“I've had a good experience at Portsmouth Uni. They're helpful. The library is up-to-date and has big space. I get good advice any time I need it. They're helpful in all different ways.” 

Getting you the help you need

Every year we are told that you find our staff really helpful but we were concerned that not everyone might know what we offer. Alongside pointing out our most choice offerings on social media channels [link to:], we have brought together our support services into one place in person and online, so now you can just click on the question mark button on our website to chat to a librarian, email us or even book an appointment with a subject specialist for more in-depth help with your research.

We offer telephone support 24/7 and round the clock online chat support is also coming later this year, so even when deadlines bite you are never alone or unsupported. Your Library is always here to help you. 

“What I enjoyed the most is the social life the university provides and how the library staff are always available to help students.”

Supplying your needs

From book bags to full length pencils and mini-pens, hundreds of downloadable guides, booklets and impartial expert advice at every step of the way, we are here to offer all the professional advice and expertise we can to empower you to succeed. We have even re-introduced drop-in referencing clinics, covering everything from map reading to our highly popular referencing clinic in the Atrium. Believe it or not we offer all this help and more to students every day at the Support Services Desk. 

“The library and learning resources are exceptional. The teaching staff … are of a very high standard and are extremely passionate and knowledgeable in their subject area.” 

Fast and free

In the past you told us that, “Sometimes there are areas where the Internet is very slow.” Working with Information Services, our wireless network speed and capacity has been increased many times even since the last academic year to allow you always to connect smoothly and surf quickly. Power and data sockets beneath the desks across the ground floor also offer a superfast cabled connection however long you want to work.

With more resources than ever before

Following a sustained effort working closely with your lecturers, the vast majority of units now have online reading lists that link directly to the things you lecturer most wants you to read, so you can spend your time reading rather than trying to find what you need to read. 

“Excellent library resources for home study. Great study environment.”

Empowering you to help yourselves

Saving you money is important to us, which is why we expanded the book swapping Book Nook and continue to offer book swap/sale noticeboards in the Library and on our website, helping you make the most of what you and your fellow students already own. Last year we allowed you to choose the e-books you wanted us to buy simply by choosing and reading them from a vast online library and we paid for what you use rather than buying all our ebooks speculatively in advance. 

“The Discovery Service is a unique treasure, much better than Google Scholar.”

We realise that study is not limited to formal library work but can instead expand to fill the cracks in your day and that you therefore want to be able to read and study wherever you can, so we have done all we can to make our information resources available everywhere we can over the internet, including making many of our most popular ebooks downloadable so you can read them even without an internet connection.

We are also close to being able now to offer you everything on your reading lists in formats that you can access while for those few specialised things you might need for your research that we are unable to find, you can request journal articles and book chapters delivered to your email inbox within days of completing a simple online form. 

“Library resources are amazing.”

Available here and away

You are working harder than ever before and we are working hard to make sure you have everything you need, including 24/7 Library opening and round the clock telephone and (soon) online chat support and simpler ways to get full access to all our resources, such as VPN. 

“Sometimes seminars aren't useful and I feel … I could be doing useful work in the library instead.”

Still with eyes fixed on the horizon

Even now we are not standing still but instead continually acting on student feedback, big and small, from offering a paper clip recycling box beside the reservation collection point to inclusive gender neutral toilets.  We welcome you to join the long tradition of students who have helped shaped our Library by completing the National Student Survey if you are a final year student or posting your suggestions on our Online Suggestion Box  and telling us how we can make the student experience even better.