Student led change 2019

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A library service designed around you

The feedback from students graduating last year was very positive, suggesting that after years of student led change building on your suggestions and working to solve challenges we observed causing you difficulties, we have finally begun to meet many of your study needs. We are keenly aware however that there is still much for us to do to satisfy the diverse needs of all our clients.

“The university library provides a fantastic service to all students. The texts available both in print and online editions are extensive. Referencing workshops have proven to be very helpful to me, and the staff are fantastic and always ready to help.”

You told us that one of the things that concerned you most last year was the competition for study spaces and computers at peak times of year.  We have worked hard to create comfortable study spaces within the limitations of our existing building footprint. We have increased the number of study spaces every year and now offer more desktop computers and loanable laptops than ever before. Last year alone we created 30 new study spaces to support a variety of study styles and installed lockers for another 100 loanable laptops, providing a total of 410 fast, modern, full-sized laptop computers for you to use in the Library.

“I really liked the library and the services available. It is comfortable and easy to use. The only thing is that it gets too crowded during peak times.”

You told us that not all our Individual Silent Study zones were sufficiently quiet for you to concentrate and study in comfort. We concentrated the Individual Silent Study zone into those areas of the library that were naturally quieter and increased the seating capacity of these smaller areas by replacing shelving with study spaces so that there is more space to study in silence now than ever before. We retrained our staff, made our zoning signage simpler and clearer, increased the frequency of staff patrols in these areas, reviewed our procedures and installed furniture with movable desk dividers to reduce the temptation to talk in these areas. We even introduced offer free earplugs for anyone those times when you want to blot out the world completely and work anywhere without risk of interruption. 

Your wellbeing at the heart of everything we do

We have renewed our efforts to support student wellbeing, identified and eliminated sources of avoidable stress, and enhanced our services so that we offer you the support you need, in the form you prefer, whenever you need it.

“The library has been a vital part of getting through my degree and the staff are extremely helpful. The open hours being 24 hours has been one of the most noticeable and useful changes while I have been at Portsmouth University.”

We are now permanently open 24/7 during term-time and until midnight over the summer vacations, closing only for summer bank holidays and for a few days over Christmas and New Year. With all our resources available anywhere in the world over the internet, you not only always have a place to study day and night but also a digital library you can carry in your pocket.

We redesigned our website to make it easier for you to find the things you most often need and made it much easier to use on your phone. The library catalogue now offers a 3D floor plan showing where to find each book you look up at the touch of a button, making it quicker and easier for you to find the books you need.

You have enough to think about without worrying about whether your library books need to be renewed. That is why we introduced automated renewals, so that we only charge if another client is waiting for overdue books. We took away the cap on the number of interlibrary loans as well, so you now have access to however much material from other libraries to support your research as you need.

Working with the Students’ Union, Student Wellbeing, and other local services, we have renewed our commitment to support your wellbeing at university. In collaboration with Sports & Recreation, we have introduced brief weekly relaxation sessions in the Library. When you told us that you found these sessions useful, we extended the programme to run throughout the year. You asked us to offer the sessions in the same time and venue each week so they were easy to find, and so this year we held them all at the same time and in the same room. Relaxation is a valuable life skill you can quickly learn, so if you have not yet been, please join us on a Thursday afternoon and find out how you can relax in moments. 

Better resourced than ever before

You told us that our range of information resources was something that you valued highly.

“The university library provides a fantastic service to all students. The texts available both in print and online editions are extensive.”

We subscribe to more than twice as many ejournals this year as last, we have bought over 90,000 more books and ebooks to ensure that where possible we provide enough copies of all the books you need to study at your convenience.

Following the popularity of our existing referencing guidance, we updated, expanded and rewrote our online referencing guidance and our printed referencing booklets this year to make both more comprehensive them easier to follow. You told us you found it hard to understand why you needed to reference what you read and how referencing worked in principle, so we added sections to all our guides to explain how and why referencing works. We now run the ever popular referencing pop-ups in the Atrium in the approach to every deadline to offer that little extra in depth help as you come closer to submitting your work. 

Food for mind and body

You work better when you are hydrated, and so we installed more drinking water fountains closer to where you work. Just because you want to work early or late, there is no reason you should suffer. That’s why the library café now opens for longer than ever before, while reliable vending machines offer a diverse selection of healthy snacks, tasty treats, and hot and cold drinks around the clock for your convenience.

Accompanying an expanded array of refreshments, we installed toilets on every floor of the library and a drinking water fountain on the top floor so that you can always work comfortably with minimal disruption. Reflecting our values of inclusivity and equality, these luxuriously spacious and gender neutral toilets include wheelchair accessible cubicles to make life easier for everyone. 

Proud to display your passion and creativity

For the first time last year, we purchased competition winning art produced by our students and exhibited it around the Library for viewing by staff, students and interested members of the public. Our first floor display space and the glass cabinets in the Atrium offer further opportunities for students to display their passions and their talents, exhibiting their creativity for all to see. 

We have encouraged more and more of you to exhibit your displays, often for the first time. It never fails to delight us to see the burgeoning confidence of those seeing their work come to life and being promoted and appreciated by their peers. You told us how you enjoy the library both as a study space, a social hub and an attractive place to work, and that you found changing display spaces and exhibitions a beneficial diversion that helped you break up your study and explore new perspectives that challenge, entertain, and broaden your horizons.  

Continuing the grand tradition of student led change

Student feedback and suggestions have shaped the library we have now and we love to listen to all you have to say. It’s not just the NSS survey filled out by those about to graduate that we listen to! If there is anything that would make your study easier or more enjoyable, something you would like to see introduced, changed or taken away, or just something you think we should be aware of, please let us know. Drop us an email, phone us, chat to us online, speak to a librarian in person, or comment anonymously using our online suggestion form or by posting a suggestion card into our retro red suggestions post box on the ground floor.