An indicative ballot has begun over planned cuts to academic staff at the University of Birmingham.Written by Sabrina Dougall on 26th June 2015
Library hours face student criticism
Students were forced to sit on the floor in the Learning Centre after the Main Library finished its trial twenty four hour period as the exam period began
Students were forced to sit on the floor in the Learning Centre after the Main Library finished its trial twenty four hour period as the exam period began.
Two week trial
The Main Library doors were open to revising students around the clock for a two week trial period earlier this term after feedback received from students in past years. Amanda Moorghen, a second year philosophy student said, ‘It was nice and quiet. Shame they stopped it when exams started.’
However, since the Main Library’s 24/7 trial only stretched into the first week of the exam period, for the remainder of this time, most students were left with only the Learning Centre where they could stay to revise after 12am on weekdays and until 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Because of the increased demand for the Learning Centre during the Main Library’s closed times, there have been several complaints about a lack of work spaces available and the rooms being crammed above capacity, with students opting to sit on the floor and on window sills.
Rooms closed off
The problem was exacerbated because some of the rooms were closed off to be set up for exam use and staff training. One student posted on a Better Guild Forum discussion, ‘I ended up sitting on the floor with an exam the next day, which is quite frankly absurd at an institution such as ours. It was not a working environment in any way.’
Guild President Mark Harrop said, ’I did receive complaints regarding the Learning Centre and rooms being booked out and not used. There is currently on-going work to look into this issue, because ‘training days’ for staff in these rooms during student exam time is unacceptable. I am currently speaking to the University regarding this and hope to have something sorted ASAP. It will also be something for the President-Elect to keep an eye on which we will cover during handover.’
One student who didn’t want to be named said, ‘I liked the idea of not having to worry about what time the Library closed on each day so that my work flow isn’t interrupted and I can revise at my own times. I hate losing a train of thought because the library is about to close and I have to move myself!’
Mark Harrop continued that the University was looking into reviving the extended opening next year, ‘The feedback I have received about the extended Library opening hours have been massively positive. This gives us a strong case to have the library open for the entire exam period next year - as this was only a trial. I am currently discussing this with the library, who have shown support for it, as well as academic services which ultimately decides.’
There are other twenty four hour study spaces across campus including in the newly refurbished Medical School and the Frankland building. However these spaces are only open to the relevant Medical and Psychology students.