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Massive library expansion planned

Written by: on February 11, 2012

The Students’ Union (SU) has successfully pushed for improvements to be made to the University library.

Sean Ruston, SU Education Officer, has been meeting regularly with university staff for the past 18 months and has been “pushing for a wider expansion of … and a wider capital investment in the library,” he said.

Following the refurbishment of the fifth floor last year, the third and fourth floors will also receive a makeover. The second floor will be reconfigured and the library is consulting on whether it should be changed to a strictly quiet zone or simply have reduced noise levels.

Ruston said that he favoured the latter, but was “happy to take any suggestions from students who think that they should switch to a strictly quiet zone for the second floor”.

The library will also be open 24 hours a day between 16 April and 22 June to give students more time to study during the third term.

The staff training room will be freed up and the new space allocated to students instead.

The biggest project announced so far is a £1.5 million investment in improving the library entrance. Ruston said that congestion in this area during busy periods is “a serious problem in terms of health and safety”.

The University is also planning to expand the Library Cafe into the courtyard area opposite the Social Sciences building, a plan critcised by Ruston, wants to see “an expansion of the floors above to provide more study space”.

It is hoped that these improvements will tackle long-standing complaints about overcrowding.

Joel Lam, a third-year Law student, said: “I often take a long time to find a seat. It has gotten much more crowded compared to my first year, though nothing has been done to address the increase in traffic.”

“The worst aspect,” said Steven Bishop, a second-year Comparative American Studies (CAS) student, “is the shortage of copies of books. Come essay time, if you’re not a couple of weeks ahead of the rest of the pack, it’s most likely that the key texts you need are gone, leaving you at the mercy of specialised articles.”

Not all students agree that spending money on the library is a wise investment.

Sam Underwood, a second-year CAS student, said that “the library is pretty good. I’d rather put money into improving the gym, which is shocking.”

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