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Library Advisory Group

Your way to shape library services

What is the Library Advisory Group (LAG)?

The Library Advisory Group is your way of helping to shape the future direction of Library Services. It is a participatory forum to explore what the Library’s users want and how the Library can best provide it. All members of the University are welcome to attend. Last year we weren't able to meet in person but we continued to use your experiences of the Library to guide our service delivery and priorities. This year we're looking forward to (hopefully) getting back to normal with some more in-person activities.

Where does LAG meet?

LAG meetings usually take place in the Albert Sloman Library, where there will typically be a variety of activities to get involved with, designed to capture your thoughts, feelings and experiences of using the Library.

What are LAG meetings like?

Although there’s sometimes an element of formal business at the beginning, with a report by the Director of Library & Cultural Services on latest developments, LAG meetings are generally informal and participation is welcomed. We often 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.).

What happens to ideas generated at LAG?

The outcomes of LAG meetings 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.

What are some of the actions from the most recent LAG activities?

We wanted to update you on progress we’ve made towards some of the actions identified after our most recent Library Advisory Group week in November. As a result of your feedback we said we would:

  • Develop workshops as part of its open programme to support users in engaging more successfully with online books, both in terms of technical guidance and in the skills/practices that can be developed. 
  • Add information to noticeboards in the Library Reading Room at Colchester to explain where other quieter spaces can be found. 
    • UPDATE: We have added information on different study zones to our digital and physical signage: you can choose from individual silent study, individual quiet study, group quiet study and our breakout zones.
  • Continue to work with suppliers towards the improvement of online platforms, and wherever possible continue with the practice of acquiring online books which do not have built-in digital rights management software, as this typically results in a poor user experience.
    • UPDATE: We have raised the issue of digital rights management software with Kortext, one of our key suppliers of online books, and they are investigating. We are also raising this in all of our regular meetings with publishers to prompt them to consider the user experience of what they provide.
  • Continue to consider the future role of our print and online collections as part of the revision of our Content Development and Management Policy.
    • UPDATE: We have now drafted a new Content Development and Management Policy for 2022-2025, which incorporates feedback received from LAG and other sources. The draft has been shared with departments and schools in January and will be tabled at Faculty Education Committees and Education Committee later this term for approval and adoption. 
  • In recognition of the importance attached to the experience of interacting with print books and the potential benefits to wellbeing, we will explore ways in which this could be promoted, for example by a wellbeing/leisure reading collection of books or a designated reading for pleasure area in the Library. 
    • UPDATE: We will continue to provide print books as part of our programme of thematic reading lists and displays – look out for these in our libraries, and get in touch if you’d like to put together a display and request particular books to form part of it. 

How do I get involved?

Look out for opportunities to get involved via our social media channels. We’re looking for 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."