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Library Advisory Group

Your way to shape library services

How you can participate in our next Library Advisory Group

Our next Library Advisory Group will be taking place Monday 20 November - Friday 24 November 2023.

We have a range of themes and activities across the week to gather your feedback, both in person and online. 

We will be asking for your thoughts on allowing children in the library at Colchester, signage and wayfinding, purposeful study spaces including a relaxed/wellbeing space, and how the library can support our diverse community to succeed and flourish, helping you feel welcome and that you belong at Essex.
For those who are unable to attend our in-person activities, be sure to follow us on Instagram as we'll be posting Stories throughout the week to gain your feedback.

Here is how you can join in:

Albert Sloman Library, Colchester 

Monday 20 November - we will be putting out hide and seek posters. If students are able to find one, they can scan a QR code and let us know where they are and how they found it. This is to help us understand how you navigate your way around the library and how we might be able to improve the experience. 

Tuesday 21 November - our library team will be at the Constable building to capture the thoughts from our international students, as well as greeting people in the library space. Tell us how we can welcome and support you to feel like you belong.

Wednesday 22 November - we will have our weekly Library Café drop-in with a special AI-twist. We will teach you how to use an AI image generator to not just tell us but show us what you want from your study spaces – whether that’s the general atmosphere, décor style, or even specific furniture. We will then showcase your creations on a board in the Library and allow you and other visitors to the Library to vote for their favourites!

Thursday 23 November - our graffiti board will be available to capture your thoughts and suggestions about children in the library and supporting our users who are studying with parental responsibilities. We also welcome all our library users to fill out our feedback form, to have your opinions heard.

Friday 24 November - we will host a temporary “book nook” 12-2pm on the first-floor landing of the Library with bean bags, book swap, and de-stressing activities like colouring sheets. Come along to tell us what you would want from a wellbeing space in the Library and participate in the conversation on how we can create a more permanent relaxation or wellbeing space.

The Learning Hub, Southend 

Where do you study in The Forum and what do you want and need from a study space? Is there a space in The Forum that meets these needs? We would also like to know whether you can successfully navigate the library to find both print and ebooks. We will be giving out surveys and asking for your thoughts throughout the week so please come and have a chat with us or grab a survey from the Info Point!

Library and IT Centre, Loughton

Focus groups will be arranged for specific modules. Dates to be confirmed.


What is the Library Advisory Group (LAG)?

The Library Advisory Group is your way of helping to shape the future direction of Library Services across all three campuses (Colchester, Loughton and Southend). It is a participatory forum to explore what our Library users want and how the Library can best provide it. All members of the University are welcome and encouraged to participate. Feedback received is used to guide our service delivery and priorities.

When and where does LAG meet?

LAG activities, whether that be an in person meeting or drop in activities across a particular week, usually takes place twice a year, once in the Autumn term and once in the Spring term.

We aim to run in person LAG activities in each of our three libraries, but we also encourage online participation for those users who are unable to come to campus, as we are just as interested in feedback on our virtual services as our physical spaces. 

When a LAG event is happening, we will contact our LAG mailing list to invite participation, as well as sharing more widely on our social media channels, our library website and posters within our library spaces. 

What are LAG activities like?

There are a number of ways we run LAG activities. 

We may choose to hold a one off meeting/event, usually in the Albert Sloman Library, where we invite LAG members to participate in informal discussion and encourage feedback on particular themes or questions we may have. There is also an opportunity to share with us any thoughts or feedback on any of our services. Our Director of Library & Cultural Services may also provide an update on latest developments. We will often as part of this event have workshop activities, such as building your ideal study space in LEGO, drawing a mind map of your research life, or commenting on some case study videos. We usually provide refreshments and an opportunity to talk to Library staff and other attendees: You bring the ideas, we bring the cake (drinks/snacks/etc.).

Alternatively we may over the course of a week, run drop in activities at each of our libraries with something different each day, for example answering a question on our graffiti board, writing us a love/break up letter, speaking with one of our friendly staff about your visit or looking at case study photos and voting on your favourite furniture or study environment. 

We aim to replicate these activities in an online version so that everyone has a chance to participate and respond, from wherever you are. This might be in the form of an Instagram story or online survey, which can be found on our website. 

What happens to ideas generated at LAG?

The outcomes of LAG activities are considered by the Library’s management team, and fed into future service developments. Some examples of the impact of LAG are:

  • The design of the Library Reading Room refurbishment (using evidence from the LEGO models LAGgers built) and the refurbishment of floor 2 in the south wing.
  • Work in partnership with academic staff to ensure that all essential readings are available online
  • Changes to the Library website to make it more accessible and more intuitive, based on your feedback

More formally, LAG reports to Education Committee and Student Experience Committee, so that there is a wider University context for what we do.

How do I get involved?

You can contact us to request to be added to our LAG mailing list and we will invite you to participate in any planned LAG activities. Just let us know your name and email address and that you would like to be added to LAG and we can do the rest!

Also look out for opportunities to get involved via our social media channels, website and in person events. 

We encourage members of academic staff to help represent the interests of their departments, so if you’d like to act in that capacity please let us know. One academic rep has 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."