University announces ‘fairer’ library study space booking system

The booking system used for library study spaces will be changed to make it fairer and more flexible and the number of study spaces on campus will be increased, the Interim University Librarian has announced.

From March 8, the number of study spaces available in the Laidlaw and Edward Boyle libraries will be increased and the Health Sciences Library will be reopened.

Students will be able to book a seat on the day if there is one available, with study spaces that go unused being offered to others to book after 30 minutes.

The new system will also give students more flexibility in the length of their study session with the option to book a slot for 30 minutes up to 7 hours. In addition, it will also now be possible to book a study space 7 days in advance.

Jane Saunders, the Interim University Librarian, said in a statement: “The new system offers a more flexible and fairer approach to booking, with seven days of availability and real-time booking information. This puts more control in the hands of students and improves our ability to offer space to those who need it.”

The announcement comes after students have expressed frustration online about the lack of study spaces available.

On Facebook, students desperate for a slot have taken to Leeds Students’ Group to ask for unused tickets, with some even offering to pay.

(Via Leeds Students’ Group on Facebook)

And a petition calling on a change to the booking system, started last month by fourth-year Maths student Simon Marshall, was signed by over 500 people. 

Marshall told The Gryphon that he started the petition because “it felt like the university might have no idea how frustrating the system had become.” 

After sending the petition to members of the University senior management, Marshall was contacted by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Peter Jimack who sent a response by email. 

Marshall told The Gryphon that whilst “it remains to be seen in practise how it will work” he was encouraged by the announcement. 

“When spaces are limited we as students are held to account to turn up and use the space we booked, allowing others to take the space if we do not use it. The amount of empty spaces that were evidently booked is one of the most frustrating aspects of the current system.” 

“It is also obviously a good thing that the capacity is being extended and the Health Sciences library is being reopened, and I hope that this will soon be continued by opening the Brotherton library”

“I’m glad the university listened and I am hopeful that this is a step in the right direction.”

The library continues to be for essential use only and all COVID-19 safety measures – including the requirement to wear a facemask at all times when in library buildings – remain in place. More information about the new system and instructions on how to book a study space is available on the library website.


Image credit: University of Leeds