Central Library Space Survey February 2014


The Library has been given an opportunity to rationalise and enhance the Central Library as part of College’s strategic review of space and student services. To inform our planning, the Library ran a short survey from 10 – 21 February 2014 to capture student attitudes to the work and study space in the Central Library.

Thanks to everyone who completed our recent survey. You’ll find the keys results below.

Overall responses

We received 1216 completed survey forms, comprising :

  • Undergraduates 944
  • Taught postgraduates 165
  • Research postgraduates 78
  • Other 29

The survey reached the College’s faculties and schools as follows :

Faculties and Schools reached
Faculty / SchoolResponses
 Business School  103
 Engineering  589
 Medicine  164
 Natural Sciences  348
 Other  12
Faculties and Schools reached


The following questions were asked, each relating to some element of the study / support space in the Central Library.

1) When you come to the library how do you tend to work?

  • Independently - alone 53%
  • Independently - sitting with friends 18%
  • In a group 5%
  • A mixture of these 25%

Graph ahowing how you tend to work?

2) What sort of study environment do you prefer to work in?

  • Quiet - with some background noise 37%
  • Silent - with no distractions 36%
  • Group room or enclosure - working with friends 8%
  • Group study - open plan 2%
  • Library Café - informal lounge space 1%
  • A mixture of these 15%

Graph showing what study environment you prefer?

3) The most regular comments are on the following themes – which would be your top 3 priorities?

The top 3 priorities are:

  1. More individual study spaces
  2. Better quality individual study spaces
  3. More student PCs and printers

4) When choosing a study space, what are the most important factors in making your choice?

The most important factors are the study environment, comfort and size of workplace. Access to books, a window seat and a shared desk are considered of little importance.

Graph showing which factors influence your choice of study space?

5) Thinking about how you work and learn - is there anything you would like to use in the library that we don’t currently provide (e.g. whiteboards, laptop / ipad loans, 3D printing, interactive video wall)?

In total 210 students suggested that the library install whiteboards. Many mentioned that they would also expect the Library to provide pens and rubbers.

Laptop loans and /or iPad loans are also a popular suggestion – specifically as a solution to resolving perceived PC shortages.

6) If you need help using any of our library services, how would you prefer to contact us?

  • Speak to a member of staff at the Information Hub 42%
  • Speak to a subject librarian 14%
  • Email us 8%
  • Use “ASK the Library” online 4%
  • Find the answer via our web pages 12%
  • Contact us through our social media accounts e.g. facebook, Twitter 1%
  • Text an Attendant 2%
  • I don’t tend to need help 8%

7) If you could make one improvement to the Central Library space, what would it be?

The clear leader is temperature control with 232 suggestions.

This is almost double the next suggestion of more computers with 145.

Space is another important issue with 107 suggestions that the library needs more space / workspaces and a further 157 suggesting an increase in different types of space e.g. silent, quiet, group.

"Make the temperature on levels 4 and 5 more bearable! …..I am forced instead to use one of our departmental computer rooms which are quite noisy and don’t ‘feel like spaces for serious work."
"I think the main setback is the lack of computers and individual study spaces. During peak times (ie revision periods) finding a free computer is like finding gold. It's better to work in the library because you have access to books you may require plus it promotes a learning environment. Thus I think more individual study spaces with computers would really help."

What happens next ?

1) We're working with colleagues in College to prepare a cohesive vision for the Central Library. The recent withdrawal of the Science Museum Library has given us an opportunity to look at the building as a whole and how best to present our services for you.

2) A team of hard services engineers have started conducting a detailed feasibility study to work out how to deliver temperature control and air conditioning to all floors.

3) We’re reviewing the PC provision across the building, and looking at how best to increase provision. Step one is an assessment of the existing IT infrastructure and indentifying if there is existing capacity for more student PCs.

There is a lot of work to do, and the survey results will inform what we do next.