Delivering More Study Space On Campus

This year has seen the return of Founders’ Reading Room, now illustrating the stunning history of Founder's Building whilst also being up to scratch - when compared to your study needs - following a long time of being out of action.

It has been wonderful to see the refurbished space being constantly used as a quiet place for study and I think that its return has been an incredible step forward, and I am glad to have helped ensure its return.

When this announcement was made, I made it clear that this certainly wasn’t going to fix all of the problems that students have in terms of study spaces. Indeed, with new changes on the horizon, improving the provision of study spaces will continuously be an issue that we at the Students’ Union will fight for.

In recognising the pressured time of term three and how this impacts on the expectations on the capacity of study spaces, I have been working with the College to think of ways we can expand the provision of spaces in the library.

The Emily Wilding Davison building is a spectacular sight and provides some stunning views. But it is essential that we find a balance between having an aesthetically pleasing building, and having a building that is practical in operation and enables you to have suitable places to study.

Positive Changes in the Library

Therefore, in time for the beginning of the summer term, the following changes will have been made:

  • Replacement of the 56 PC spaces on Floor 1 of the Davison Building that currently have limited availability. These spaces have limited availability to students as they are often used for other purposes, and when they are available, it is hard to know when! Therefore, they will be replaced with additional fully accessible 24/7 study spaces.
  • Reorganising other study spaces on the same floor in order to provide additional spaces and ensuring that the space is used to maximise study space – it is a library after all!
  • Reintroduction of PGT access to part of the PGR space from April 1st until the end of the examination period.

In my manifesto, I outlined how the debate around study spaces needs to be broadened beyond simply discussing the Davison Building, and I have always believed that this requires utilising spaces such as the Computer Centre.

These linked developments, including the study spaces provided in the restored Founder's Reading Room and the repurposing elsewhere of the PC lab style workstations, will provide well over 150 additional spaces. Hopefully, this means that when everyone is studying for exams, the Davison Building will be able to provide a greater number of study spaces, whilst the Computer Centre in due course will be able to provide the PC service that may be needed for some students.

As I say, the pressure to improve study spaces on campus is one that is ongoing. One of the main issues appears to be the issue of availability and not knowing where on campus is busy or not. The library have attempted to mitigate against this issue with live tweets on their Twitter, however this isn’t always practical for some students – and possible solutions are initiatives such as a library ‘car parking’ availability sign. There is currently a service that partially provides this, with the ‘PC Finder’ that shows the availability of PC study spaces across campus!

If people have comments on the study spaces around campus then I would love to hear from you – what things are working well, what you want more of and also where improvements need to be made!

I look forward to seeing more space in the Davison Building utilised for the primary purpose that it should serve: providing adequate spaces for students to study.

Jack O'Neill // Vice President Education