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Pilkington Library: Why Hasn’t The Investment Touched The Core?

October 26, 2013 · Zoe Mumba

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.

Zoe Mumba

Zoe Mumba

Executive Features Editor
Zoe is former Executive Features Editor of The Epinal.
Zoe Mumba
Posted by on October 26, 2013. Filed under Comment.
  • Guest

    LOL its usually you being the epinal writer riding around on a high horse.

    • Zoe

      Maybe I should change it to “I know the first thing people did when they saw the author of this was roll their eyes, because it screams of me getting up on on my moral high horse yet again like I am the throne of morality”? :p

  • MrGuestyGuest

    I love how after the first paragraph there was no ‘but’ or ‘however’…only ‘I know this screams of another Epinal writer getting up on their high horse’ and then just moving on…
    On the finding books front, just search the name of the book you want and then .pdf into Google. Problem solved.

    • Zoe

      Fair point, but I still don’t think it would hurt for the library to stock a few extra copies of key books, especially when you are spending thousands on tuition fees.

      • Libraaaary

        I think the vast majority of people use the library for their group study rooms, their computers, and the study spaces. When the library gets packed it’s hardly the rows of books that get packed is it.

        The biggest elephant in the room for the University is that if they stopped spending £Millions/year on buying books, hiring staff to buy those books, hiring staff to put books back, employing people to man ‘information stations’ about books and instead spent a fraction of that money getting E-versions of the same thing…nearly nobody would care.

        • Zoe

          I do see your point, and I am somewhat biased because I am an English student, so my interest in physical books is higher than students doing other courses due to the nature of my degree.

          Perhaps a good idea would be to invest more money in books for courses that do require a lot of reading. After all, it is unlikely that this article is going to generate as much interest in students who study subjects such as maths or computer science compared to students studying English, history, politics etc.

          • Libraaary

            Why do you need physical books over say E-Books? And does this need justify the ridiculous amount of money that is spent every year buying/maintaining/moving around these books? When things such as mental health provisions are being cut due to frozen Uni budgets.

            Something has to go. #getridofthebooks

          • truthhurts

            because a physical book is easier to read when you’re not sitting in front of your computer. And the post-its or notes you slip between the pages are alot easier to keep track of than highlighting sections in a pdf reader. More importantly, when you’re finally writing your essay it’s alot more useful to have books cluttering your desk than cluttering your desktop getting in the way of your writing.

          • Libraaary

            The (half) generation below us does not think like you. In secondary school and college people literally do their work on their own laptops. Some schools now even provide all students with tablets.

            They find sitting in bed with their ipad the same or better than sitting with a book. And their are hundreds of apps which perform the ‘post it’ task far better than post its.

            Your way of working is not the way that younger people work.

            And seeing as it takes about 15 years for the university to change anything…might as well start that process now.

          • Sylvia Plath

            “Your way of working is not the way that younger people work”. Maybe for your course, e-books are useful and suited to the work you do but please don’t speak for everyone. I would expect the Library to stock several copies of key texts I need for my course because I’m effectively paying for this education.

            The Library invest enough in online databases and resources (where Engineering and the science courses probably benefit more in comparison to humanities subjects) and for those of us that use physical books a lot, it would be a great loss. Having said that, I’m quite confident that it would never come to that, even in 15 years time.There’s always going to be a need for physical books.

  • High Horse


  • guest

    I like the new library, long overdue. My only query was who in the university decided on the random off-brand colour scheme, would it really been that hard to get it inline with the rest of camps. The university has a clear brand identity, the new Union looks great, the sports kits and facilities are all on-brand ….even the Epinal are using the Lboro colours!

  • Huzaifa Essajee

    There is a discrepancy in your article: “And any student at Loughborough will know that the increase in study spaces from 300 to 1370 has been long overdue” – “Library study spaces increased by 300 to 1370″

    Therefore it was increased from 1070 to 1370.

    • Zoe

      Whoops! Sorry about that!

  • Emily Brontë

    An English degree is easy enough as it is. Take out the book hunt and you may as well go to a crèche

  • Charlotte Bronte

    WHoo in the English departmet ‘hot foot’s it to get books on the day the formativs cum out LOL ‘#keen