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All Bristol University libraries plan to reopen on 19 April

Today the university has made changes to the library seat booking system by introducing fixed booking slots following feedback on the current system.

By Joe Green, News Reporter

Bristol University Library Services have said they plan to open all libraries to students, subject to government guidelines, on 19 April.

In an email to students this morning, Subject Librarian Damien McManus also updated the fact there are now five university libraries, including the ASSL, Chemistry Library, Medical Library, Veterinary Sciences Library and Beacon House Study Centre.

The opening times are as follows:

Arts and Social Sciences Library (ASSL): open 7 days a week, 9am-5.30pm
Chemistry Library: open weekdays, 9am-5pm
Medical Library: open weekdays, 9am-5pm
Veterinary Sciences Library: open weekdays, 10am-5pm
Beacon House Study Centre: open weekdays 8.45am-8.30pm and weekends 9am - 5pm

The Arts and Social Sciences Library is one of the few libraries to have been open to students throughout the national lockdown | Epigram / Siavash Minoukadeh

The news follows weeks in which the majority of Bristol University libraries have been closed due to lockdown restrictions, despite many other universities opening theirs.

Today, the university has also made changes to the library seat booking system, introducing fixed booking slots following feedback on the current system

From this morning, students have been able to book up to seven slots per week, with most slots being two hours long.

The changes came in response to concerns over the number of 15-30 minute gaps being generated between slots using flexible start and finish times.

The updated library booking system | Courtesy of University of Bristol Library Services

Students are being encouraged to plan a couple of days in advance due to expectations that slots will fill up quickly, meaning ‘same day’ bookings will likely be unavailable.

Availability is expected to be better at the beginning and end of the day, while bookings can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.

Bookings beyond Sunday 28 March were suspended over the weekend to allow the changes to the live system to be configured.

Due to COVID-19, library spaces are still only available to those students who have an urgent need to access IT and digital services and/or those unable to study at home and who need specific facilities.

Bookings can be made via the study space access form, linked HERE.

University libraries currently open in Bristol | Courtesy of University of Bristol Library Services

Speaking to Epigram, Jez Conolly, Head of Student Engagement at the University of Bristol library services said: ‘We have monitored usage and uptake of the booking system as part of our regular appraisal of the measures that we put in place to help students continue to make use of our service.

‘That analysis, combined with student feedback around gaps of lost time between study seat bookings, led us to review the booking slots within the system.

‘We hope that the changes we have made will enable library users to plan and manage their study time better, by removing occurrences of gaps between bookings but retaining equitable use of study space.

‘We will continue to monitor the system to be sure we are getting it right.’

The Library Services have also announced available support for students over the Easter holidays, including an online study lounge to help students plan and work together, and the opportunity for bookable online tutorials.

Featured: Epigram / Molly Pipe

What do you think of the updated library booking system? For more information on Bristol University library services over the Easter break, click here.