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Library refurbishment to be completed by end of the year

The library refurbishment will be completed by the end of this academic year according to library staff in a meeting held last week.

The gathering was organised by Lita Wallis, the University of Sussex Students’ Union Education Officer, where student representatives from different schools presented their queries to library staff including Kitty Inglis, the librarian.

Jane Harvell, Head of Academic Services, Emma Walton, Learning and Teaching Support Manager and Gráinne MacDermott, Lending Services Manager were also at the meeting on Thursday 20 January. Library staff also told student reps that class marks A to N are in their “final new positions”. The Main and Short loan collection have been merged to allow students to see what is available and texts that might be similar and thus helpful to their study.

At the meeting, Kitty Inglis sought to reassure student reps and students across the university that the refurbishment is “important”. One student representative began the discussion with a query relating to the university’s library and heating, an issue which many students seemed to be concerned about.

Inglis explained that the library is bleeding the radiators everyday but the library does have an antiquated heating system”. In 2006, a district heating system was installed and the library is seeking to improve the flow of hot air.

Inglis said: “We will continue to work with the Estates [and Facilities Division].” The Librarian added that there will be no more new sofas but there will be “more study spaces than before, and different types of space… and study environments”.

Different spaces include reflective, creative and interactive. Reflective spaces will be for students who want to study in silence whilst creative spaces will be small group spaces for quiet work such as the space available currently at the front of the first floor.

Interactive spaces will be informal chatty space such as the current space on the group floor close by the Core Collection. Signs will be brought in to show students which areas are what and there will be greater efforts to stop students eating, drinking and using their mobile phones in the library.

The usage of mobile phones is the most complained about issue to library staff. Another query related to the lack of computers in the library. Inglis stated that by the end of the refurbishment, there will be more computers. The library had 140 computers but will have just fewer than 200 by the end of the refurbishment.

Current work on the ground floor at the back will soon house computers and benches for users to plug in their laptops. There will be 32 ITS desktop computers and 20 data and power outlets. At present, there are over 450 power outlets in the library which will increase and over 150 data outlets for users to connect to the internet with a wire.

Wireless coverage has also been upgraded and improvements are presently taking place. The library wants to engage more with student reps, the Library Consultative Group, undergraduates and postgraduates. The Library Consultative Group meets once a term to discuss the library’s services.

Student reps also expressed concern at missing books and wanting more books for courses the library does not have. Emma Walton said that if students want the library to get a book ordered, they can do so via the catalogue. The library is hoping to make it easier for requests to be made. The Students’ Union commented: “It is important that the university bases its decisions on student needs, and face to face meetings such as this are a positive step towards improving communication between the University and the student body.

“Today was a good example of what the Student Rep Scheme exists for. Some very important issues were raised, and the library seemed keen to take action. “The union, in conjunction with the Student Reps, look forward to making sure these actions are taken, so that students can benefit from these changes as soon as possible. Lita added: “I hope that other university departments will follow the Library’s lead, by tapping into student opinion, and responding to what students need.”

Students can contact the library via their page on Facebook, sussexlibrary on Twitter, their website, www.sussex.ac.uk/library/, or via e-mail at library@sussex.ac.uk.

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