Library Advisory Group

What you need to know:

What: Calling all researchers!
When: Wednesday 24th May 2017, 3-5pm
Where: Special Collections, Albert Sloman Library (first floor)
Who: Anyone involved in research or support of research, plus anyone who would like to attend
How: Interactive workshops/open forum for discussion
Why: To inform Library developments and to ensure that everything we do is as user-centred as possible

SIMpler, fairer, quicker: update

At the beginning of the academic year, we introduced changes to our key services with the aim of making them simpler and fairer for everyone. We’ve been collecting your feedback to find out whether we got it right, and in response to comments, we’re making a further adjustment to the recalls system.  

From the 1st February, we’ll be extending the recall period from 3 to 7 days for everyone, which will hopefully give you the time you need with the resources, but still enable us to get books to other people who need them.  

This is a result of feedback that we received from students in person, via email, the whiteboard and at the Library Advisory Group meeting on 18th Jan, as well as comments that came from the Students’ Union.

We’ll continue to monitor recalls, and to use them as a way of identifying in-demand texts so that we can get extra copies, ebook versions, or digitise chapters where we can. We also want to carry on getting feedback from you on whether the system is working, so do speak to one of our friendly Helpdesk and Roving team, email us at libline or come along to the next Library Advisory Group on 8th March to let us know what you think.  

Josh Gulrajani, VP Education at the Students’ Union, adds: “This is a brilliant amendment that has come directly from students and it is great to see the Library changing their process in such a short timeframe. The Students’ Union will continue to work with Library Services and with students directly, to ensure that students’ academic interests are represented, and that the services provided on campus are shaped around students.”  

Lexa Olivera-Smith, academic staff representative to LAG from the Department of Language & Linguistics came to our Simpler, Fairer, Quicker meeting and commented that "I was impressed by how receptive to feedback the library staff were and how genuinely interested you all are in improving the overall library experience for everyone"

With your help, we in Library Services can continue to improve our services and to make them as student-focused as possible.

Further information:

What is the Library Advisory Group (LAG)?

LAG is the successor to Library Committee, which has been disbanded. Library Committee used to discuss library-related issues and make reports to Senate. The idea behind LAG is to have a much wider membership, and encourage the University community to get involved in shaping Library policies and service developments. LAG reports to Education Committee, but may also make reports to Research Committee where appropriate. It is not a formal committee of the University, and so will not have agendas/minutes in the same way. LAG does not replace any other arrangements that departments may have for liaising with the Library.

How often does the Library Advisory Group meet?

There will be 4 LAG meetings each year. 3 of the meetings will focus on a particular topic/issue and aim to elicit opinions and generate ideas from the attendees. There will also be an “open forum” meeting each year, at which any issues of importance to the membership can be raised and addressed by the senior Library management team.

What are the topics for this year (2016/17)?

The first LAG meeting on 16th November focused on “Time and Space”. Through a series of interactive workshop-style activities, the Group shared views on ideal Library opening times and study spaces. This information will contribute to a review of Library opening hours in Colchester and towards the planning of the refurbishment of the Library Reading Room next summer.

The second LAG meeting on 18th January focused on a review of "Simpler, Fairer, Quicker", the changes to our key services that we introduced at the beginning of the year. As a result we have made a further adjustment to the recalls service by extending the return period from 3 to 7 days.

The next meeting on 8th March was an open forum, where all members of the University were invited to come and make any comments they would like about Library Services. There was also a report from the Director of Library Services, and a chance to preview and shape proposals for future changes and additions to what the Library offers.

The dates/topics for the other LAG meetings this year will be:

Wednesday 24 May 2017, 3-5pm: Calling all researchers!

How will topics be chosen in future years? Can I suggest a topic for a future LAG meeting?

Topics for future years may be suggested by the members of the group, or determined by the Library in response to other feedback from users, or planned service changes. Future meetings may be held in Southend and/or Loughton if topics specific to those locations are identified as benefiting from Advisory Group input.

I am based at Southend/Loughton. How can I get involved with the Library Advisory Group?

As the initial topics for the meetings are somewhat Colchester-centric, and as Library Services is largely managed from Colchester, all 4 meetings will be held here this year. In future, however, we will be looking to identify topics of specific relevance to Southend and Loughton, and to hold meetings there where appropriate. We will encourage participation via social media in order to facilitate input from staff & students at all 3 campuses.

What is the membership of the Group? How can I become a member? Can I just turn up on the day if I want to?

Although it is not a formal committee, LAG does have terms of reference, and designated members. Heads of Department have been asked to identify a member of academic staff as a representative, and the Library is working with the Students’ Union to find student representatives. As the membership of the Group will be fairly large, it is not anticipated that every official member will attend every meeting. Being the departmental rep could be as much about telling others when the meetings are happening, and encouraging them to attend as going along in person. Every meeting will be open for any interested members of the University to attend.

What will the Library Advisory Group meetings be like?

Although there will be a short element of formal business at the start of each meeting, the main part of the meetings will be made up of interactive workshop-style activities. For example, at “Time and Space” in November, there was an opportunity to build your ideal study space in LEGO, to rate photos of different kinds of study spaces and to share your user stories of when you use the Library, and when you would like to use the Library. Oh and there is always tea and cake.

Get in touch with us to find out more by emailing or tweet @UniEssexLibrary using #UniEssexLAG


The University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park
+44 (0) 1206 873192