Image: Warwick Media Library
Image: Warwick Media Library

Tips for the library and general etiquette

Welcome Week is over, lectures and seminars have started, which can only mean one thing: actual degree work must be done. For many, this fun-shattering realisation results first in a trip to the library. Located on main campus, the library serves over 23,000 students, with it being near impossible to avoid a visit at some point. Whether it be to use the printing services, take out a book, or simply use it as a study space, it is to a large extent campus’ black hole. With that in mind, there are a few basic rules that every student should follow to ensure it remains a happy – or rather, bearable – place to be.

Don’t underestimate its popularity

Yes, the library has five floors, and yes, there are seats and tables on every one of them, but don’t underestimate just how many students use the library on a daily basis. It can get busy very quickly during term time. On a few occasions I’ve had to leave after not finding a free space – and this wasn’t even in Term 3, where a 9am start is absolutely necessary to stand any hope of getting a seat all day.

Any student will tell you that what Warwick needs more than anything is more study spaces, particularly ones with plug sockets. If you want to get tactical in the mean time, consider arriving just before the hour when many students are leaving for lectures and seminars if you know you want to use the library at a busy time of day. Don’t forget, thanks to a recent student campaign, it is also open 24/7, so if daytime studying isn’t your thing, why not pop in at 3am?

As a new addition this academic year, the library will offer free boiling water and a microwave for those times when you find yourself temporarily living there 

Make the most of everything it has an offer

The library is much more than just books and seats, so make the most of it. On top of the 1 million volumes it holds, the library allows access to 55,000 electronic journals, 605,000 electronic books, and 455 databases.

As a new addition this academic year, the library will offer free boiling water and a microwave for those times when you  find yourself temporarily living there. Plus, with the Library Café and Library Coffee Bar only a few steps away, there’s no need to leave the building if you don’t want to. If the stress of your workload (or trying to use the moving bookshelves) becomes too much, fear not, there’s help with that too. The library offers a variety of workshops and programmes to support student welfare, from PG Tips for postgraduates to Study Happy (sometimes there are even dogs involved). If you want to find out exactly what’s going on, check out the library’s website, where the most up to date information can be found.

Be considerate

23,000 people is a lot, and everyone deserves to be able to use the library without hassle. Don’t have conversations on the quiet floors (three and above), don’t desk hog or save desks for your hungover friends, and definitely don’t ignore the rule about hot food. Not everyone wants to smell your reheated takeaway. Joking aside, it’s hugely important to be considerate of your peers. In particular, this extends to those with disabilities. The library is by no means off limits to those with physical disabilities: adjustable desks and accessible rooms are just two examples of how the library adapts its services for easier use. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to help improve somebody’s library experience. Have you noticed the kick stools in the aisles between all the bookshelves? For those using wheelchairs, it can be infuriating when they’re left in the way, as it can stop them independently seeking the books they need. By simply moving the kick stools to the end of the aisles, you could be making someone’s day that little bit easier.

The great thing about the library is that it’s a versatile space suited to everyone’s wants and needs

Disabled Students’ Officer, Melissa Martin said: “Moving the library kick stools out of the aisles is vital for access for mobility aids such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters – this allows disabled students to access library facilities independently and such considerations are central to making campus a more inclusive space.”

The great thing about the library is that it’s a versatile space suited to everyone’s wants and needs. If you want to talk or take a phone call, you can (within reason) on Floor 2 and below, and everywhere is accessible to everyone if we all stop to consider how our actions could help our peers.

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