In response to student feedback, the library now provides a “noise line” service, where students can text a number if they are being disturbed by anti-social library users. Students provide their location and the aim is then that staff will come and resolve the issue. The library plans to make the measure permanent if it continues to be successful.
More than this, however, the library could make permanent the removal of belongings that have been left unattended by students for more than 30 minutes, so to free-up workspaces for those wishing to use them.
UEA library has reported a 10% increase in usage this year, and during the assessment period the 30 minute rule will be temporarily implemented.
It is believed that in doing so, people will not be able to reserve spaces for friends or drop off their belongings before returning hours later. The rules will also apply to computer areas. Any unattended belongings will be placed in a box near the workspace for the student to collect.
The library believes that these solutions will prevent people from having to study in the stairwells and on the library floors, as they have been recently. However, the procedures have received a mixed reaction.
The library told Concrete that the measures were introduced after they received “many comments concerned about the selfish behaviour of some Library users.“ Indeed, it seems that the noise line in particular has been well received, with many students confirming that they have been disturbed by loud individuals in the past and would use the text service.
Conversely, the 30 minute rule has not been welcomed with universal approval. While many students believe it is a good idea to prevent students leaving their belongings unattended for extended periods of time, many believe that the policy will be difficult to implement.
Several students voiced fears over the consistency, believing it would only be an “unlucky few” getting caught due to the difficulty of patrolling the entire library.
Some students have aired concerns over having their personal belongings touched and moved, while others believe it is unfair to be restricted to a 30 minute lunch break after hours of studying.
It has been suggested that the library should focus on providing more study spaces, as it is due to the lack of available seats that students leave their belongings behind, believing that they will not get a seat later on.