SU Libraries 2017-2021 The University as Library

Library Staff Consultation

Key Areas for Consultation

  • Online and Digital First: delivering digital and online services and support to students and staff as a priority through our digital estate
  • Space: re-imagining learning & study spaces in libraries and cross-campus
  • Singleton Park Library: refurbishment; recladding; student experience
  • Academic Support; flipped/blended modes of delivery for induction and teaching
  • Research Support: revising the scope and scale of Research Support: from ECR to international projects, from citations to REF
  • Library Content: enhancing college and student engagement; collection strategy; shelving; stock relegation & reduction; shelf ready & workflows
  • Research Collections: enhancing awareness and use; learning & employability; research & community engagement;

Every strategy looks forward and aims to learn from the past. In universities we traditionally stand on the shoulders of giants, we seek evidence to indicate direction and trends in practice, and in the end we also must have faith in our collective professional ability. Everyday we learn from our students, university staff, colleagues local and globally, and from publications in our and many related fields. Our aim as always is to improve on our range of services and to meet the needs of tomorrow's learners, researchers, and the diverse and varied visitors and users that come to campus to explore.

As we approach, in 2020, the Centenary of the University, and the Library, this is an opportunity to reflect on the growth and development of the Library and its related services, and to explore where that may lead both over the next few years and for a much longer period. After all, we expect the university and its library, our archives and museums, our learners and researchers, all to still be here in 2120; taking a somewhat longer view might be justifiable.

Swansea University Libraries 2017-2021

We will enhance the Student Experience through providing spaces, resources and services that meet the need of our learners, researchers and visitors;

We will enhance our academic and research support services, ensuring that we are providing online, innovative, effective and relevant services to our users;

We will advance our academic liaison, research and subject support to help colleges, students and researchers achieve their ambitions;

We will use the breadth and depth of our research and special collections to inspire students' academic and professional development, enable research, and support university-wide community and heritage activities;

We will develop a cross-university learning-spaces model that will provide an effective range of social, group, and independent learning spaces that enable students to learn effectively and enhance the student experience;

We will develop the role of the SU libraries as the academic support centre of the University.

We will use the strength of our Research Collections for the benefit of the region; building on the library collections, the South Wales Miners' Library, the Richard Burton Archives and the Egypt Centre to support local and regional employability, entrepreneurial, and community activities.

Swansea University Libraries: building blocks 2017-2020

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.

Opening the Bay Library in September 2015: the first growth in the University Library since the 1970's.

Enabling Research

The university is facing unprecedented growth in its research activity, and much is yet further to be done. The next REF will be critical for the university and we will ensure that our support continues to keep pace with university requirements. This is likely to require rethinking what we do, alongside how we do it, and will span library teams, IT Services, and other university-wide services in addition to colleges.

Our commitment to supporting the development of new and established researchers remains, and support across a range of areas from publishing and citations, to RIS and Cronfa, will remain core elements of our activity.

Our Research Collections - including the South Wales Miners' Library, Richard Burton Archive, Egypt Centre, and Rare Books and Special Collections - will will work ever more closely together to embrace the opportunities presented by online and digital provision. This will ensure that the value of the collections is deployed effectively to support student learning, research excellence, employability, recruitment, and the University's wide range of public engagement activities.

Across Research Collections and for the university we ill put our Digital Humanities work at a new level, embracing our membership of DARIAH and working with partners across the UK, in Texas, and beyond. Across our Culture and Arts portfolio, we aim to work more closely with Colleges to support and where possible encourage new areas of interdisciplinary and collaborative research work.

Open Science, Open Access and Open Data will be a key factor at the heart of Research Support activities, alongside our advocacy and engagement work from Early Career Researchers to our world leaders. Over the period data and storage infrastructures, workflows and practices will become embedded in the daily lives of researchers, with our support. Data.swansea will complement our Research Information System and open access repository Cronfa, to provide comprehensive, open, public visibility and access to the University's range of research outputs.

  • Making the most of our Unique and Distinctive Collections
  • Online and digital opportunities and services
  • Open Science, Open Access and Open Data - research support services
  • Reference Management Software re-procurement & review
  • Researcher digital literacy support and training
  • Improvements in discovery of, and access to, research resources
  • Subject support for researchers and research groups
  • Digital Humanities projects and support
  • Research support priorities, teams and structures
  • Research Excellence Framework and compliance
Baroness Kay Andrews (centre-right) visiting the Richard Burton Archives with (l-r) Sian Williams, Dr Hywel Francis and University Archivist Elisabeth Bennett

Other themes

  • Efficiency and effectivness - a review of workflows and procedures
  • Recruitment and marketing support:
  • -- Open and visit days programme of activities.
  • -- Beacons/augmented reality
  • -- Visible improvements on the Mall
  • Public engagement & events (in partnership with CoAH/RIAH, LSW, CILIP, &c.)
Key Indicators 17-20
  • NSS Satisfaction: 92% by 2020
  • Information spend per student: to be within the average range of our peer-aspirational group. This measure has some challenges when comparing with institutions where student numbers are not growing or dropping.
The University as Library

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