Library graffiti feedback board: our responses to your comments

Thank you for using our new graffiti board for your feedback. We’ve already received lots of comments on a wide variety of issues and we’ve responded to these in turn, by theme below:

  • Toilets
  • Space
  • Furniture
  • Food and drink
  • Infrastructure
  • Smoking
  • Requesting books
  • Fine and loan reminder emails
  • Miscellaneous!

 Toilets

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas concerning the current provision of toilets within the Library. We are really pleased that the toilets on Levels 2 and 3 have been completely redesigned and refurbished to a much higher standard over the last summer. The toilet blocks are part of the original building and while we couldn’t make the available space any bigger, we were really pleased that the new design added more cubicles. The plumbing infrastructure has also been improved throughout the building which should mean fewer blockages and leaks.

Two recently refurbished gender neutral toilets are available on Level 3 of the Library next to Room 3.16. The toilets on Levels 4 and 5 will be refurbished next summer and will also be designed as gender neutral toilet provision, with floor to ceiling cubicle walls and doors to ensure privacy. This will provide a choice of single or neutral gender for Library users.

We know that the hand driers are not as effective as Dyson hand driers – but nor are they anywhere near as noisy! When we replaced them we were very aware of the noise and disturbance that very powerful driers create within a study environment. We were also aware from other University Libraries that toilet hand drier replacements had led to their students complaining of being disturbed by the noise they generated. It’s a tricky balance – the quieter machines are not so powerful – but we will carry forward any lessons learnt into the replacement of the hand driers on Levels 4 and 5 next summer.

The water fountains installed as part of the toilet refurbishment programme were not what we intended and they will be upgraded so that water bottles can be filled properly. The replacements are already on order.

Space

We have had a lot of comments highlighting lack of space in the Library and difficulties finding somewhere to sit. We know. We are working with the Students’ Union to increase the capacity and the quality of our existing space, supported by a rolling programme of investment from the University. Our ‘While You Were Away’, campaign highlights some of the improvements we have been able to make in the last year, including new seats, study spaces, sockets and carpets. We hope you like the new diner-style soft furniture that will be installed in the Library over Christmas at the back of Level 2.

Last year you told us you would like more space like the Library’s Level 2 Learning Commons but “with coffee”. This year the University has opened new Learning Commons: spaces around campus for informal ‘bring your own device’ study space where you can also eat and drink if you like, You can find out more about these Learning Commons online. 6WS and 6E2.8 are already available for use.

You suggested removing office space to create more study space. We had the same idea and have converted some staff offices into reading and group workrooms. We’ve been careful to do this with offices where the staff aren’t there to work with the students, though, as we know what good use you make of our subject teams. On Level 3 we now have a new Engineering & Design themed group workroom (L3.16) on the East of the floor and just last week we opened up another staff office on Level 3 near the North staircase as a temporary reading room. We will be re-developing this more substantially next year and would welcome your ideas on what you’d like us to do with it.

We know the Library is very busy at peak times during the Academic Year. Please ask a Librarian if you are having trouble finding somewhere to study. You may find the following information about space in the Library and on campus helpful: https://unibathlibrary.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/get-a-room-group-and-quiet-study-in-and-beyond-the-library/

We read your requests for beds or dedicated napping/sleeping areas in the Library with interest and we have seen examples of this elsewhere. Our priority though has to be to support those using our facilities to study, be that individually or in groups.

Once comment asked us to ‘Stop using L1 as a training room’. This room is designed to be used for training and for study, so when we’re not using it to teach Library users how to use Library resources you’re very welcome to use it to study in. There is a timetable on the door that shows when the room is booked for training and when it is free.

Furniture

‘We need sofas and massage chairs’ – while we can’t provide the latter, we do have sofas and comfy seating in the more informal areas in the Library and are soon to have some comfy diner-style seating on Level 2.

Food and drink

There have been lots of requests for food and drink in the Library, particularly pizza and coffee. Our policy is for bottled water only. We have experimented with limited food and drink in the Library in the past and were overwhelmed with the volume of waste (2000 student visitors in the day at peak times were found to produce over 100 black bin bags of waste) and we ended up with stains and damage to the carpets, IT equipment that proved costly to replace and sticky tables covered in rubbish. This rapidly degraded the environment that we work so hard to keep suitable for study. We also had a lot of complaints from students about the noise of people eating and the cleanliness of the space. In the Library we have a snack area in the entrance to your right as you enter the building, before passing through the gates. You are welcome to eat and drink in this area. There are many outlets for food and drink and ‘heat and eat’ stations close to the Library on the Parade. You can also eat in the new Learning Commons if you would like to.

We have plans in place to improve our water fountains and we have refurbished our snack area in the past year, with new snack options available from upgraded vending machines and more seats added in to the space.

Infrastructure

‘Plugs in Group areas on the 4th Floor’. Now that our electrical capacity has been improved, we can begin to add more power sockets. Watch this space! We would like to hear your views on how to improve the group study rooms on Level 4 over the coming year.  Is there anything else you would like to see in the group study areas?

Smoking

The Library is bound by the smoke free on Campus policy and as such cannot provide any smoking provision within or close to the Library building. This includes our balcony. However, ‘smoking is allowed on parts of the campus that are more than 4 metres away from buildings, in a designated area behind the Parade Bar and a small area on the terrace behind 1 East outside the SU nightclub after 6pm.’

Requesting books

We received several requests for more books on specific topics e.g. politics, art, physics, etc. Our Subject Librarians will happily consider ordering specific items that you recommend for stock. Please contact your Subject Librarian or use our Ask a Librarian web form to submit a request. If there is an item we do not have in stock that is only of interest to you and your individual research, please use our Inter-Library Loans service and we will endeavour to get a copy delivered from another institution for you to borrow.

Fines and loan reminder emails

You asked for warning emails and reminders a day before you will receive a fine. There is a system for this in place already:

When a book you have borrowed is reserved you will receive an email with a new due date. This gives you 7 Semester days within which to return the book before you can be fined for returning it late. You will also receive an automated email the day before it is due. Make sure to regularly check your University email account to ensure you see these messages in good time.

For more information on fines and our overdue reminders, please see: http://www.bath.ac.uk/library/services/issue/fines.html

Don’t forget that we only charge fines on books that are needed by someone else.

Miscellaneous! 

You asked for:

  • ‘A kebab shop’ – we cannot provide hot food in the Library. However, Uni Radio Bath (URB) do recommend Al Falafel’s in the city centre for Kebabs. Let us know if it lives up to the hype!
  • Mary Beard and CILIP poster‘Silent disco’ – a fun idea and something we have explored before. Our research tell us that they are never silent though (everyone still wants to be heard over the music in their headphones, or to sing along – often badly!). Perhaps you went to the silent disco at one of the popular city centre venues last Friday night?
  • ‘Can we have puppies here / I’m allergic to puppies’ – other institutions have paid for puppy petting sessions for exam stress relief. Clearly this is controversial! We do provide tips on our notice boards during exams and can recommend books on effective studying, meditation and how to avoid stress from our stock e.g. Coping with stress, shelved on L5 at 159.942 MEI or perhaps: Student procrastination: seize the day and get more work done at 378.170281 TEF
  • ‘Marx debunked libraries years ago’ – and we’re still here! Perhaps you’ve spotted our posters on L2 featuring Mary Beard and Stephen Fry explaining why libraries are still important. Alternatively, you could search our Library catalogue for works on/by Marx if you would like to know more. Finally, I would refer you to A Design For Life by Manic Street Preachers: ‘Libraries Gave Us Power…’
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