Improving Library Services for your studies

Here at Library and Cultural Services, we’re always considering how we can gather feedback and improve our services.

Here are some recent changes we’ve made to support your learning:  

6-Hour Laptop Loans:

Orange laptop loan cabinet. The cabinet contains many letterbox size drawers, each with a door. One of the doors is open, revealing a laptop and charger inside.

Beginning in October 2022, we began a trial of 6-hour laptop loans at Colchester after receiving student feedback. We wanted to find out the average time students borrowed laptops for, and if extending this loan time would be beneficial.

Previously, only 3-hour laptop loans were possible. As part of the trial, students were given the option to pick between 3 and 6 hours to find out which loan length was preferred.

Out of a total of 1589 laptops loaned, here are the results:

Piechart of laptop loans between October - December 2022. 
The piechart is split into two segments, 3-hour loans has 516 loans and 6-hour loans has 1073 loans.

Students, on average, loaned laptops for a time of 4 hours 48 minutes. Feedback included:

‘I am very happy that right now you have provided the 6-hours loan. It is much more convenient for me.’

‘6-hours loans are really great and helpful. I hope the trial will be continued after December.’

As a result, 6-hour laptop loans are here to stay! We’re still exploring how best to loan the laptop chargers, for which we’ll continue to collect feedback for until June 2023.

At each campus, the laptop loans are as follows:

  • Colchester – Pick between 3-hour and 6-hour loans.
  • Southend – Pick between 3-hour and 6-hour loans.
  • Loughton – Laptops remain as all-day loans.

Improving study spaces:

We’ve also been working on making our study spaces more suitable for your needs.

As a step towards making the Albert Sloman Library more wheelchair accessible, we’ve added wheelchair access to the Postgraduate Room. This means any student, regardless of your level of study, can access the PG Room if you are registered with SWIS as a wheelchair user.

The Postgraduate Room has an electronically automated door that allows for easier access than other areas of our library. There are now two wheelchair priority desks in the Postgraduate Room, located in the first row of desks as you enter the room. 

Two desks, side by side in the Postgraduate Room at the Albert Sloman Library. Each desk has a computer screen, keyboard, mouse and desk chair. On the backs of the desks are blue, 'priority seating' signs.

We’ve also added a computer to each of our group study rooms floors 2-5 in the North wing, to aid group studying projects.

New resources:

  • We have launched our new wellbeing ebook and audiobook collection via the platform Overdrive! Read more about the new collection in our dedicated blog post. Previous feedback of library services has often involved adding more resources suitable for leisure reading, to provide a break from studying and course materials. Our new wellbeing collection is a response to this feedback!  

  • We also changed our Library Search in Summer 2022, after listening to staff and student feedback about our previous Library Search. We wanted our catalogue of resources to be easier to navigate and searchable, to reduce the amount of time needed to find content. This means you have more time to focus on your readings and essays, instead of trying to find the right books or articles.

  • Alongside our new Library Search, auto-renewals were also introduced, reducing the time and effort spent remembering to renew your books.
    Read more about auto-renewals in our previous blog post.

    Here’s a glimpse into some of the resources we’ve added this year:
New resources between Feb. 2022 - Feb 2023 infographic. As well as purchasing resources for specific reading lists, we have also purchased resources from 17 sources, across 25 subjects containing a variety of mediums. This has totalled to 19,809 new resources - excluding new resources on reading lists!

More of our annual statistics are available on our website.

Other resources we’ve added have included:

  • Kanopy – An on-demand streaming video platform, including films, documentaries, classic cinema and foreign films.

  • Academic Video Online – makes video material available with curricular relevance: documentaries, interviews, performances, news programs and newsreels, and more.

Let us know what you think!

We’d still like your feedback in future!

Our Library Advisory Group is a participatory forum where we explore what our Library users want and how the Library can best provide it. We aim to receive feedback through a variety of activities across multiple aspects of our service.

In-person sessions are resuming again in 2023, and all students and staff are welcome to join us and help shape the future of Library Services.

More information about upcoming sessions will be posted on our website.

Can’t make in-person sessions? Follow us on socials for the chance to have your say!


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