What do university students demand from their library facilities?
Alongside a university’s learning resources and overall teaching standards, the quality of library facilities is a key factor for many students when determining their place of study for Higher Education.
“The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.” The words of Carl T. Rowan, an American journalist and author turned diplomat and government official, highlight how libraries and education have been intertwined throughout history.
The Importance of University Libraries
According to The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), students in the UK place the quality of library resources above teaching contact time as an area of importance when it comes to choosing their university.
Libraries also play a crucial role for international students, according to the SCONUL publication, Library services for international students, the quality of library facilities and services can be one of the deciding factors in international students’ choice of university and contributes to whether their experience of studying abroad is positive or negative.
UK University vs US College Library Facilities
The UK and US have long dominated the global market when it comes to Higher Education. In fact, a Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) survey of more than 40,000 students affirmed the UK as “the best in the world for teaching and supporting their international students”. At D-Tech, we’ve looked at some of the most prestigious universities the States and the United Kingdom have to offer.
The largest university library system in the UK belongs to Oxford University, with over 100 libraries being part of the on-campus Bodleian library network. The network of libraries focuses on providing special collections for students, including rare books and manuscripts. With the library being the most used facility for 66% of UK students, Oxford University is the front-runner for the most impressive collection in the country. Research carried out by Student Hut found that providing an extensive range of literature for students is a high priority for university libraries in the UK. In fact, the top five libraries are required, by law, to own at least one copy of every book published in the UK – a book lover’s dream.
Beyond the traditional books, the Bodleian libraries provide students access to Wi-Fi, computers, and print, copy and scan services, alongside a host of digital resources. D-Tech is proud to have contributed to the Bodleian library network, with installations in many colleges throughout the university, including Queen’s, Jesus, Trinity and St Peter’s to name only a few.
Find out more about some of our work in Cambridge university colleges on our case studies page, including an RFID installation at St Anne’s College – Plus, the team as Wadham College have even created their own video celebrating our findIT RFID inventory wand.
Across the pond, the campus library at Yale provides more than just traditional library material for assignments and end-of-year finals. Boasting an impressive network of fourteen libraries, Yale’s academic libraries are dedicated to showcasing students’ academic research through curated exhibitions. Aside from hosting student-led exhibitions, Yale University holds over 12 million volumes from around the world and according to American University Washington, it currently holds a student satisfaction rating of 90.5%.
The technology resources for students at Yale range from general computer workstations to access to state-of-the-art media equipment. Current Yale students, staff, and faculty can reserve cameras and camera lenses, video cameras, digital recorders and microphones. Students and patrons can also access a fully functioning e-library, that holds over 100,000 eBooks and eJournals – this was originally initiated over the pandemic but the service has since been maintained following huge demand for online sources.
How can universities use technology to enhance the student experience in 2023?
2023 is an exciting time to be operating in libraries and educational facilities, with a host of innovative technology solutions presenting the opportunity to both enhance existing services and expand greatly on existing services.
The growth in capability of smart lockers creates new opportunities for universities and their students. Already in place across many universities, where laptops, tablets and other devices can be borrowed by students for periods of study, before being securely stored and charged in self-service lockers – the advancements in smart locker systems will enable universities to grow their libraries further as study hubs. Beyond accessing technology and other educational equipment, capabilities could include allowing students to hand in assignments securely or collect resources around the clock.
Enhancing self-service capabilities is also a great prospect for educational facilities looking to improve their library service provision. Universities can offer their students the chance to manage their whole library experience, including checking library items in and out, using only an app on their own smartphone or device. In addition, incorporating self-service into the library environment allows students to maximise those all-important interactions with their university librarians.
Educational institutions around the globe are investing in digital technology every day to deliver the best patron and student experience. To discuss how you can transform your library and deliver a seamless student experience, call us today on 01394 420077 or click here to get in touch.