Friday 21 December 2012
Earlier this week, Library Services announced some changes to the service provided at West Smithfield. The changes have been updated following feedback from students and staff at the School of Medicine. Please read on for up-to-date changes, the reason why this is happening, and for ways to get involved in further discussions. The Library website will be updated today with the opening times and services from January 2013. www.library.qmul.ac.uk/opening_hours/West_Smithfield.
I apologise for the short notice about these changes, and the upset this has caused. We have been doing our best to find alternatives which fit within the financial constraints we have this year and I appreciate the suggestions from students and staff.
A key concern has been about access to quiet study space during the exam period so I am pleased to report that Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry are supporting the continuation of evening and weekend opening at West Smithfield. Staff have offered their time on a voluntary basis to help cover evening opening hours in January and senior managers are reallocating a small percentage (about 15 per cent) of the funding they provide each year for purchasing new books in order to pay for evening and Saturday staff cover for the rest of the academic year.
At present, lending services will still be unavailable from 2 January. We are unable to recruit replacements for trained Library staff who left at the end of last week. The staff who are volunteering will be able to ensure a safe environment, and signpost to other services. The overriding feedback has been to prioritise evening and weekend opening hours, but we will continue to invite comments and feedback on this in the new year.
We do have to make short-term changes quickly and have chosen those that affect the least amount of people. Please be assured that the feedback from students has been listened to. I encourage you to get involved in further discussions in the ways outlined below.
Director of Student Services.
Changes to West Smithfield Library from 2 January 2013
From 2 January 2013 we will be introducing the following changes to the library service provided at West Smithfield.
- The main reading room and gallery will be staffed and open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm in January 2013. The study places, IT facilities and print services in the main reading room will be available during these times.
- From February to 21 July 2013, Saturday opening of the main reading room and gallery will resume. The main reading room and gallery will be staffed and open Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm.
- The basement area will continue to provide group study and IT facilities on a 24/7 basis. Entry to this area will be via an ID card access system. We will ensure secure access to this area at all times.
- The printed book and journal collections will be available for consultation within the library on a reference only basis. Book lending services will not be available.
- Further consultation with staff and students will review opening times and services beyond 21 July 2013.
Access to other Library Services
The Library Services team is committed to continuing to support your learning resource needs and provide high quality services. You can access our book lending service and our late evening and weekend opening hours at Mile End and Whitechapel Libraries. Many of our services and resources can now be accessed by telephone or online.
1. You can speak to a member of staff at the Whitechapel Library Help Point on: 020 7882 7122.
2. You can access a wide range of online resources and help through the library web pages www.library.qmul.ac.uk.
3. You can ask us a question by submitting a request on web help desk helpdesk.its.qmul.ac.uk.
The reasons why
The changes are a result of a reduced number of staff being available to cover library opening hours. We remain committed to providing late evening and weekend Library opening hours, so with a reduced number of staff, we are ensuring full services remain at Whitechapel and Mile End. The West Smithfield library is used by a relatively small number of visitors each day in comparison to the other libraries.
The changes chosen effect the least amount of students and the services effected are available at other campuses.
As with many higher education institutions across the UK, QM is making adjustments this year to compensate for the sudden reduction in Government funding. We are in a good financial position long-term and we have replacement income due to come in, but we are left with a short-term gap in funding. To fill this gap, we have had to save money before August 2013 (the end of our financial year). Leaving vacant positions unfilled gives us immediate savings and means we can avoid redundancies.
QM is continuing long term investment in the student experience and online resources for both teaching and research. Many improvements were launched in 2012, such as better e-learning resources, printing, email and calendaring, improved campus facilities, employability enhancements and significant investment in the Students’ Union.
The changes were presented to members of the Staff and Student Liaison Committee members on Tuesday 18 December, and notices were also circulated at West Smithfield Library. Final year students met with Professor Warrens, Dean for Education, and Pat Simons, Assistant Director: Resources and Collections from Library Services on Thursday 20 December, where they gave feedback on the changes.
A key concern has been about access to quiet study space during the exam period. This has been discussed further and we are pleased to report that Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry are supporting the continuation of evening and weekend opening at West Smithfield from January through to 21 July 2013. Staff have offered their time on a voluntary basis to help cover evening opening hours to 8pm during January. Senior managers have also decided to reallocate a small percentage (15 per cent) of the funding they provide each year for purchasing new books in order to pay for evening and Saturday staff cover for the rest of the academic year.
We remain committed to listening to your concerns and doing the best we can to support your learning needs. The current changes have been put in place as a temporary measure for the rest of this academic year. We welcome your feedback at the next two Library User Forum meetings on what provision is required at West Smithfield in the longer term.
- Wednesday 23 January 2013, Mile End Library at 2pm.
- Wednesday 27 March 2013, Whitechapel Library at 2pm.
In the meantime, if you have any comments or feedback regarding these service changes, please direct them to Emma Bull, Director of Library Services, on email at email@example.com. Professor Anthony Warrens, Dean for Education for Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry has also invited your feedback on firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as Andy Smith, BLSA President: email@example.com.
The changes and further consultation will also be discussed at the Staff and Student Liaison Committees, so students are also invited to talk with their student representatives. More information about this is on the Students’ Union website: www.qmsu.org/blsa/studentvoice/sslc.