Answered By: Ewan McCubbin
Last Updated: Oct 20, 2017     Views: 41

Thanks for filling in a Library feedback card at the weekend.

I quite agree with your comment, particularly in relation to this week when the Library has been incredibly busy. We don’t currently have enough study space in the Main Library to cope with the demands placed on it and we would love to have more.  You may be aware that the University spent £7m refurbishing the building 6 years ago and by doing so, increased study seats by around 400.  We achieved this by relocating staff and collections to other areas or sites.

Since then, the building has become busier and busier and despite our opening hours being increased significantly in recent years, the pressure is still on the building throughout semester and in fact the pressure is evident far earlier in semester than in previous years. 

The University does intend to redevelop Level 1 (the sub-basement) within the next few years once we have relocated the collections and staff currently accommodated there to the new Eden Campus at Guardbridge.  The Eden Campus facilities are not yet complete and until they are, we can’t start any further work in this building.  The planned development of Level 1 around 2019/2020 will introduce an additional 350 study seats but I appreciate that is some time away.  There are no plans at this time to physically increase the size of the Main Library building.

Until then, we will continue to do what we can and I have actually been in discussions this week with colleagues elsewhere in the University to help promote the availability of other study facilities already open to students.  For example, the Gateway lower ground area has 60 study seats and is open 9am-9.45pm seven days a week for all students but I suspect many students are unfamiliar with its existence.

We are actually running a trial of extended hours at St Mary’s College Library (again, open to all students)  this semester (information at https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/libraryblog/2017/10/extended-opening-for-st-marys-and-king-james-library/) which means we are opening until 7.45pm Monday to Friday rather than closing at 5pm.  We are also looking to open at weekends during the Christmas exam diet.

We are hoping to increase access to the JF Allen Library on the North Haugh and have also recently allowed PG Taught students into the Martyrs Kirk Library on a full time basis since September.  It only has 40 seats but this allowance should divert some traffic from the Main Library. 

I hope this helps explain what we have done, are trying to do and hope to in the future to improve this important aspect of the student experience.  I’d be happy to speak to you in person if you would like to come in for a chat, particularly if you have any suggestions as to what practical steps we can take which may alleviate pressure on the Main Library.

Best wishes

Ewan McCubbin

Assistant Director (Public Services & Communications)

October 2017