Library redevelopment will secure 300 more study spaces for students

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Photo: Sammi McKee
Photo: Sammi McKee
Photo: Sammi McKee

Plans are underway to redevelop the library, increasing study spaces by around 300.

The Saint can also reveal that by the end of this summer, every desk in the library will have a power socket.

According to director of representation, Ondrej Hajda, – who was instrumental in pushing these plans forward – students can expect to see a redeveloped library by September 2017.

The University has commissioned an architect to draw up plans for the redevelopment, which will have to be presented to and approved by the University Court before work can begin. A definitive budget or estimated completion date can therefore not be given until this time.

The redevelopment is a direct result of the library survey which was carried out by Mr Hajda and aims to make a more efficient use of the library’s space. It is also a result of the ‘You said, we did’ student feedback system used by the library.

As well as looking at how to increase desk space, the architect has been asked to provide for an increased number of books, as well as improving the café and including more toilets.

Mr Hajda promises that the library will stay open throughout the redevelopment, unlike in 2009, when the library was closed for redevelopment in the summer, causing huge problems for postgraduate students. Though plans are not definitive, Mr Hajda said that the most likely scenario would be a floor by floor redevelopment akin to that which the Union is currently undergoing.

Plans to move the library’s storage – currently held partly in the basement floor of the library and in storage at the North Haugh – to a new premises at Guardbridge will help to free up space for more usable bookshelves.

Mr Hajda said: “I am very happy that the University management and the library listened to student feedback and are planning to enhance the quality and quantity of study space in St Andrews. “I really hope that students will be consulted throughout this process to ensure that the redevelopment of the library fits student needs.”

According to figures released last year, there are 900 people in the library at peak times and 6,000 to 7,000 entries per day.

‘Seat hogging’ has been recognised as further contributing to the lack of space in the library. The student library report published last year revealed that a majority of students (57 per cent) are in favour of the library taking action on seat hogging.

The issue of study space has been a recurring theme for director of representation candidates in the ongoing Students’ Association elections, with all candidates – Jack Carr, Josh Gumbley, Fallon Sheffield and Joe Tantillo – promising to address the issue.

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