We know that the Forum Library can get very busy during peak times of day, especially as deadlines or exams approach. You’ve told us that it causes problems when other Library users take up more than one space or “save seats” by leaving their belongings and then going away.
In response, we worked closely with the Student’s Guild Representatives and with individual students to come up with guidelines for using study seats in our Library spaces.
What to do:
When taking a break of up to 45 minutes: please always leave a card, fill in the time you left and be sure to return on time.
If you will be gone longer than 45 minutes: please clear your desk so that others can use the space.
Remember the Library is a public space! Never leave valuables unattended; always take them with you.
If you find a desk that has been left unattended for over 45 minutes then you have permission to move any belongings to the side and use the space.
Each card can be reused multiple times.
This is a student-led scheme. Let’s work together to uphold these guidelines and make the most of shared library spaces.
We hope you’ve had an enjoyable Christmas! Now New Year is looming and unfortunately so too are the January exams. Here in the Library we recognise that the run up to exams is time when Library study spaces are in particularly high demand. This is why during revision periods we increase the number of study seats available in the Forum Library by making the seminar rooms on Level 0 and level +1 part of the Library.
A View of Forum Level +1. The Forum Seminar Rooms will be dedicated for silent study from 2nd January. Enter them through the Library.
What this means for you:
More quiet study spaces in the Forum Library with capacity increasing to over 1000!
From noon on Thursday 2nd January access routes to the Forum Seminar rooms will change. You’ll need to enter and exit these rooms through the Forum Library using the doors by the computer clusters which will then be open. There will be no access to these rooms from the Forum end by the Alumni Auditorium.
The seminar rooms will remain a part of the Library until 12 noon on Sunday 12th January.
Don’t forget there are plenty of other revision spaces available for you during this busy period. Why not take a look at the full list here?
Study smart by respecting fellow revisers
During times of high pressure study it’s more important than ever that you respect fellow Library users and help reduce stress for those working around you by following Library behaviour guidelines. If you are in a silent space please respect the rules and if you need to talk move to a designated group work room or to one of our breakout spaces.
Also, if you are taking break of up to 60 minutes don’t forget to fill in one of our “Taking a Break” cards, available from holders around the Forum Library. If you will be gone longer than 1 hour please clear the desk to allow others to use the space. Library staff will be roving throughout our spaces and are here to help, so if you are being disturbed by noise, need help finding a seat, or if there’s anything else we can do to help just ask!
Our “Taking a Break” Scheme has been running in the Forum Library for several weeks now. Hopefully you’re all getting used to seeing cards like this around the Forum Library:
You can find these cards in yellow-backed holders all around the Library. They’re also available at the desk by the Library reception, so why not grab one as you enter so you’ll have it ready when you need a break?
What to do:
When taking a break of up to one hour: please always leave a card, fill in the time you left and be sure to return within 60 minutes. Don’t forget to take any valuable items with you or put them in a Forum Locker.
If you will be gone longer than an hour: please clear your desk so that others can use the space.
How did we develop the scheme?
Before we introduced the scheme , we did a lot of research about what other HE organisation were doing about the problems of people saving seats while they are away. In libraries of a similar size to ours, it can be almost impossible to successfully enforce any “no saving seats at all” rules. We needed to think around the problem in another way.
We met with the Student Guild and they were clear that we needed a student led scheme that increased awareness and allowed some flexibility. They also feel very strongly that the library should increase the number of study seats available over time. We were pleased to announce additional seats at the start of this academic year – and don’t forget that during the revision period the number of available seats in the Forum Library will increase again as the Seminar wings on Level 0 and Level +1 switch to become library spaces.
We also met with individual students who had complained about the problem of saving seats and together (with all this input) we came up with the “Take a Break” idea, as promoted.
Feedback so far:
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to get in touch with Library staff and share your thoughts on this scheme. Your feedback is appreciated and we’ve been pleased by your support. Here’s a selection of youe comments so far, as well as responses to some of your questions and concerns.
“I think this ‘Take a Break’ Scheme is a fantastic idea!”
“Hopefully these new guidelines will be a good step”
Having worked with the university on the “Taking a Break” initiative, I am pleased to see it introduced! – (comment from Alex Louch (Guild VP Academic Affairs) – quoted in Exepose
“Good idea, but only if everyone uses it“
Our response: Our front line team are working very hard to implement this new system and we think it may take at least a full academic year (or more) for the scheme to prove its worth. The Student Guild are also behind the scheme. It is a big change and needs sufficient time to become part of the culture.
“an hour is too long “
Our response: Both the Library and the Guild are keen to achieve the right sense of balance and to encourage healthy study habits. It is good practice to take breaks when working to get fresh air and to eat. Students need (at most) an hour to get lunch, especially if they have to buy food, queue or use the toilet. Also, students can leave for shorter periods; one hour is the maximum permitted time away. Library staff will do more work to promote this message.
“it isn’t fair for people to leave a desk at all; if students need a break then they should give other people the chance to use the desk.”
Our response: we appreciate this concern, especially at times of highest demand but there are a number of reasons why we feel it would be unhelpful not to allow breaks:
Our consultations revealed many reasons why students need to spend extended periods of time in the Library:
Some courses require students to spend a large proportion of their time in individual study (as opposed to in contact hours with academic staff). Many of you have told us that you prefer to spend this in the library as here you feel most motivated to get on with the work.
Some students live off campus (or travel in on public transport) and it would not be practical for them to come in for short periods. They may need to work for long periods, fewer days per week.
Many students explained that they need “library days” where they can work consistently on certain projects over extended periods.
All of these are reasons why we feel it’s important to support extended study periods in our spaces. But we’re keen to do so in a healthy way, which includes allowing our users to take short breaks.
We hope Library users will continue working with us to make this scheme a success.
If would like to share your thoughts on the “Taking a Break scheme” then please fill in one of the comments cards you’ll find around the Library or .