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June Hedges

UCL Library Services Annual Report 2011/12

The Student Experience

June Hedges

Colleagues across UCL Library Services have worked hard over the past 12 months to help keep the actions included in the Student Experience Key Performance Area on track. We have many successes to celebrate, but I want to use our annual report this year to celebrate 2 key achievements.

The first success relates to our Services goal, specifically the action “to make appropriate improvements to opening hours to reflect the needs of all UCL users for access throughout the year”.

For many years Library Services has heard from our students that longer opening hours would signify a major improvement to the student experience. We have been able to make inroads over the past years with longer opening hours (including some 24 hour opening) during the revision period, but thanks to new funding from UCL we are thrilled that as of the start of session 2012/13 we are able to open the Main and Science library 24/6 (we do still have to close for a short time on Sunday).

Edwin Clifford-Coupe, UCLU’s Education and Campaigns Officer comments that:

“ UCLU welcomes the extension of the library opening hours to 24 hours. It has been a priority for the students’ union for some years, and we are very pleased to see it implemented. It is only fitting in a university of UCL’s calibre that the libraries stay open throughout the night as a study space for students. As we know, space, especially for quiet study, is a precious commodity on campus. Moreover, with UCL welcoming more students from ever more backgrounds, including increasing numbers of international students, it is important that there is study space available to fit the wide variety of personal and cultural study habits of students. The opening of the Main and Science Libraries for 24 hours, including on Saturdays, is an excellent contribution to this need, particularly for part-time students (mostly postgraduates), who must fit their study around commitments outside of university. The extension of library opening for a further six days over the Christmas period is also important for students working on assignments due at the start of second term or large pieces of work. We hope that UCL continues to dedicate resources to maintain the library provision and to extend its other spaces. ” Edwin Clifford-Coupe, UCLU's Education and Campaigns Officer

And we will indeed continue to work to improve Services and also spaces for our library users as outlined in the Library Strategy.

Our second achievement is a significant milestone in the implementation of ReadingLists@UCL, which is designed to support learning and teaching by enhancing access to recommended course readings: during the summer months we reached 1000 lists in the system. While we still have a long way to go before we have an online presence for all reading lists, achieving this level of take-up after only one academic session shows that those involved in teaching see the value of the service for their students. In last year’s newsletter we heard from one of our subject librarians about her hopes for the new system. This year we hear from one of the academics that has begun to use an online reading list, complete with digitised readings to support the students taking his module:

Dr Warren Carter “ Initially the second year students were skeptical about being directed towards ‘Reading Lists’ on the library homepage for the reading material as they had been used to, as first years, using moodle to access course content. But these initial anxieties were soon assuaged as they realized that the library resource could provide everything that they needed to read framed within a cataloguing system that provided them with a greater sense of how the texts were situated within the broader context of the wider literature on the subject held in the library. And whilst the staff in the History of Art Department were unanimously hostile to the idea of migrating from ‘moodle’ to ‘Reading Lists’, there is little labour involved in the transition as all the tutor has to do is provide the library with the PDF files that were uploaded onto moodle and it is effectively done. As such I can personally thoroughly recommend ‘Reading lists’ as a digital resource to support the delivery of teaching within UCL. ” Dr Warren Carter, UCL History of Art

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