We recognise that there are many internal and external drivers, some of which will have a wide impact on the way that the library and our related services support and develop our students' learning journey, and in how we support university staff. A key feature of this will be the development of online- and digital-first services that enable students and staff to access a wider and deeper range of support services, and learning and research content, 24/7, both on and off campus.
Inspiring Learning: enhancing the student experience
- Improving library support services: anysite loan & return; new group study rooms, additional interview rooms; PC access & loan devices; printing stations; online payment and top-up; bookable pc and study space; charging stations/lockers.
- Online library induction and teaching
- Reading list system re-procurement
- Review library learning and research content workflows and financial processes, working closely with Colleges and Finance
- Learning spaces – a cross university approach
- Embedding and integrating online support services, e.g. Libchat/Libguides. Explore use by other related services
- Peer support services - further development and supporting online communities
The deployment of blended and flipped models of learning will transform library support, and other support services, in the short to medium term. We expect to be delivering more online-only training and support services over the coming year and we will use the time running up to the centenary to pilot and develop models of delivery, platforms for delivery, and staff support to enable effective teaching and learning at a distance. While these models are aimed at, primarily, our traditional students, they will alsosupport distance and part time learning both locally and internationally.
The academic library traditionally was the hub for ‘serious’ academic study, for graduate work and staff research activity. It held the scarce resources necessary for this work – journals, books, and databases in the form of bibliographies and concordances. Library staff supported academic endeavour, and for the undergraduate student brave enough, if allowed, to venture within its hallowed halls, it held untold delights in terms of unlockable, accessible knowledge.
Today’s libraries in many institutions have swung a long way from this model with social learning spaces, group study rooms, individual learning booths and more. However it is also true that the Library on its own cannot accommodate all student needs; nor is it desirable for it to do so. Learning spaces have and will continue to grow across campus, close by and within College spaces; it is convenience that will drive these spaces - alongside limited capacity in library-supported areas.
Today we might well be asking whether, as Shelby Foote claimed, the library is the university, or in the digital age is the University, in its entirety, a library?
To address the growth in student numbers, and to provide the range of spaces needed, we expect by 2020 to be using other significant spaces across campus as a focus for learning. A proposed Fulton Learning Zone might be one such provision that deliver a range of spaces and supported by a range of services; these might usefully be academic, employability, administrative or pastoral support services.
We may not have seen the expected, technological, online revolution in learning yet come to fruition, indeed it is hard to imagine what that will look like when it does, but there is no denying that pervasive, online culture is influencing student, staff and learning behaviour.