Making It Happen: library and study space developments this summer

Over the quieter summer months, we’ve been busy developing our services and making improvements, many based on your feedback. Some changes you’ll notice as you physically use our spaces, others are behind the scenes. We’d like to thank all students and staff who have taken the time to give us their thoughts, and hope we can continue to work together over the coming academic year to make the library work for you. If you have a suggestion or comments about our service, do let us know via our feedback form.

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Improvements to physical spaces

  • Furniture and carpets: You told us some furniture was starting to look a little tired, so we have bought new chairs and screens to make your studying as comfortable as possible.  We have also replaced dated and worn carpets at the Barnes and Barber Libraries.
  • Group work: You’ve requested that the library make more space where you can either work as a group, or take online lectures/make Zoom calls. The Wolfson Room (on your right as you enter main library, via the library lounge) is now space dedicated for this kind of working. New study furniture has also been introduced.
  • More study space: 150 extra study spaces are now in place across our various across various libraries. We continue to develop the JG Smith building as a study space, now the Green Heart Marquee has closed. 
  • Assistive technology booths: Power-assisted doors to make access easier, and our new online booking system is up and running. 

Services at the Main Library

  • New book scanners: We’ve invested in new scanners to improve the speed and quality of our scanning service, alongside ones for you to use in the Main Library. We can offer higher quality scans, more quickly.
  • Blankets at Main Library: before COVID you told us that you loved being able to borrow a blanket to use in the Library.  We've brought the blankets back so you can make yourself comfortable whilst studying in the Library this winter. Find them on each level of the Main Library by the lifts - just drop it in the box by the gates as you leave. 

Improvements to your books and resources

  • Access to ebooks: You let us know that the Kortext pilot, allowing you access to hundreds of online textbooks, was a big help to your studies, and you wanted to have continued access. This term we are launching a new Key Text service which will provide unlimited online access, where available, to high-use titles identified as key reading by your module leads. This is in addition to the thousands of ebooks already available.
  • Free, fast interlibrary loans: we’ve joined a network of libraries which provide access to resources from around the world, often within a few hours. And it’s free for UoB students to use.
  • EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) resources: Investing in EDI resources is really important to us, and this year we have purchased several EDI resources to help diversify our collections. New resources  include LGBT Thought and Culture and British Online Archives: British Women Trade Unionists on Strike at Bryant & May. Students can request books to diversify our collections via MoreBooks@Bham. Many of our EDI resources are on our EDI resource list, so why not head on over and take a look?

Making life easier for you

  • Community Hub Space: You asked if we could provide a place to share information about events in the local community (as well as those organised within the University) and to find and share information on the support on offer by both the University and other students. The community hub has now been created on the Ground floor of the Main Library by the copy machines.
  • Food and drink: You asked us to provide access to a microwave and hot water at Main Library, and we now have this in place in the Library Lounge. All we ask is that you give the microwave a wipe after you use it. New vending machines are also being placed in the JG Smith building (study space).

Future places

  • Recycling centre: as part of our commitment to sustainability we plan to introduce enhanced recycling provision to the libraries.
  • Accessibility: over the coming months we will be upgrading the doors in Main Library to make it easier for all to access the toilets. We will also be working with Disability Support to improve awareness of our Assistive Technology Booths and software.


Professional Services