Student led change 2020

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Encouraging feedback we receive each year in the National Student Survey reassures us that we are getting most of the important things right and delivering the things that you most need and love.  Every year you tell us our eresources are really helpful and that you enjoy our friendly and supportive service, and we have striven to go beyond and offer more bookable drop-in help sessions and even more ejournals and ebooks than ever before but we are painfully conscious that there are still areas we have to continue to work on and improve.

"24 hours library very helpful for the hardworking student" ... "exceptional online resources" ... "Lots of academic resources available and staff are always happy to help."  

Study space, laptops and silence

With an ever-growing student population, there never seems to be enough space for everyone. 

"Library is too small, very busy during exam time" ... "too loud at the moment."

We are doing all we can to manage our limited space to increase the number of study spaces by around a hundred every year, including different types of study area to cater to different needs, carefully balancing group, flexible and individual silent study.  We have supported flexible study with 410 full-size, high power laptops that you can plug in anywhere around the Library.

Following student feedback, we moved the Individual Silent Study Zone to areas that stay naturally quieter and introduced clear banners that advertise the space better than ever.  We converted our poorly soundproofed second floor meeting room into a peaceful art store to save you from the sound of drifting voices. While we try to ensure silent spaces stay silent, for those who are sensitive to noise, our free earplugs help blot out the world completely so you can work anywhere without disruption. 


You told us how much you valued the wide variety of resources we make available to help you learn and support your assignments with the best available information.  We have managed to increase our collections again this year and now offer over 55,000 more ebooks and 1,500 more ejournals than last year - more than ever before - giving you direct access to the very best information academic evidence and thought. 

The EBSCO Discovery Service and 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.  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. 

Website redesign

We redesigned our website again this year to make finding what you need simpler and more intuitive.  A single tap 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. 


Your wellbeing is important, which is why we have been working with departments across the University and with the Students’ Union to help identify and eliminate sources of avoidable stress wherever we could find them and offer more ways to help you recover perspective and recapture calm.  We open 24/7 during term-time, supported by year-round 24/7 online chat to allow you to work as and when suits you best. 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. 

Still, maintaining your calm can be a challenge for everyone at times and so we reached out to Sports & Recreation to offer drop-in brief relaxation sessions each Thursday afternoon in the Library where you can learn how to chill and relax. 

Referencing support

You liked our referencing pop-ups but told us that you needed more support to get to grips with this precise yet unfamiliar art. 

"Referencing is hard to get a grip on; need more support here."

 We have needed to introduced bookable drop-in help sessions as well.  We rewrote the referencing booklets to make them both more comprehensive and easier to read, so you can all now carry a referencing authority in your pocket.    

Student art

We are proud to buy and decorate the Library with our students’ competition-winning art to stimulate and inspire future generations.  We are just as proud to exhibit 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.   

Over to you — become the next wave of student led change!

The Library has been steered and shaped by generations of student-led change.  We love to listen now as much as ever to all your comments, suggestions, ideas and criticisms and draw inspiration from your insights and creativity.  While the feedback we received in the NSS from those students who are leaving us is important, we take just as much inspiration from suggestions from students in all years at desks, through the online suggestion box on the Library website or posted into the suggestions postbox.  You can submit suggestions anonymously and we will post our replies and what we can do in response online for all to see.  

Tell us what you would like to see and become the next wave of student led change you would like to see.