I know the first thing that 99% of people did when they saw the headline of this article was roll their eyes, because it screams of another Epinal writer getting up on their high horse and picking apart another area of Loughborough University like we are the throne of morality. We’ve torn Imago apart and scrutinised the Union rebrand so it was only a matter of time before we set our sights upon the university’s £4 million pound investment in the Pilkington Library.
Let me start off by saying that the library was in dire need of having some money invested in it. Although far from falling apart, it was beginning to look as tired as the students who camp out there during exam season who swap sleep for Red Bull. Those snazzy purple seats may have only cost a tiny fraction of the £4 million pound budget but they do help in making it look like a much more inviting place to study.
And any student at Loughborough will know that the increase in study spaces from 1070 to 1370 has been long overdue, because during exam season the library becomes busier than Heathrow and you seriously had to consider either sitting on someone’s lap or occupying a cubicle in the toilets in a bid to do your work.
This also applies to the fact there has been additional computers added to the library. I don’t think this will combat the problem of people using library computers whilst also plonking their laptop on the desk and using that as well, but we live in hope.
So yes, areas of the library have been greatly improved, but as I found out the other day, the £4 million investment has thus far yet to reach the core of the library: the books. Any student on a course that involves a lot of reading will know what I mean when I say that it really is survival of the quickest when it comes to getting books from the library.
For us English and Drama students, the day our formative essay questions are posted on Learn we swap our daily exercise of doing prancing around in leotards and leg warmers in Martin Hall to athletics and wrestling as we all hot foot it to the library to fight over the few books that are both relevant to our course and not older than our mothers.
Naively, I assumed that part of the library’s £4 million pound investment would involve buying a few extra copies of the core books, but I was sadly mistaken as I sadly browsed through Catalogue Plus to discover that 99% of the useful books had been checked out already with a month still to go before our deadlines.
Of course, it is unrealistic to expect the library to have enough copies of every single book for every single student but equally, only having one or two copies of each seems a tad short sighted. We can buy the books ourselves, but it is unrealistic to expect students to fork out for every single book we intend on using in an essay.
Even requesting the book is a long arduous process because the student fortunate enough to have the one book that everyone on the module is vying for simply says “Sod it! I’ll take the fine” and returns the book later than its due date.
So whilst I am happy that the library got a bit of facelift, I am also frustrated that the investment has still yet to touch the books. The improvements that have been made so far have been welcomed, but there is still investment needed in the resources.