How to waste 35million
There have been mixed opinions on the new 35million pound library, but the question I’d like answered, is what did 35million actually buy?
When talking about the library most students will point out the distance of the library as being the main issue. Before, the library was on campus, but now it is a good thirteen minute walk away (and yes I was sad enough to time it!) and that was walking quickly, let alone carrying books, bags, in the rain, sleet and snow – treacherous times for us ladies in our heels!!
However, I don’t think this is the main issue. It’s all very well for the uni to bleat on endlessly about their fantastic, new, multi million pound, state of the art library, but lets look beyond the glassy exterior into what we actually get for such a extortionate price. (except blindness when the sun shines on it!).
Ok, so let’s take this from the beginning. You walk up to the giant eye sore and are immediately eye-balled by a leering security guard (he certainly didn’t cost 35million). Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but isn’t that why you have security gates by the main door – don’t they detect if you’ve stolen something…? Or is the security guard there to man handle you if you’ve accidentally walked out with a book?
Once past the bobby wannabe you’r faced with spaghetti – junction style stairway system, and do you think I could see a directory of which floor I needed….of course not! Instead there’s a rather Allan Titchmarsh style sun dial on the floor (very useful I must say). Right so 35 million and you get to guess which floor you need – genius!
Once you’re through the glass doors on the ground floor, and then located all the books you need, you make your way over to the bored looking woman, who then tells you all the books on the ground floor are 24 hour loan only AND you’re not allowed to renew them. Thanks love, could have done with that information BEFORE I spent half hour searching out the books!
Does anyone carry much, if any cash around with them these days? Well I don’t, because what’s a debit card for after all? Anyway, I have a little confession, I had a fine on my card of 9 pounds and twenty pence (I know beat about the head and lynch me) so what do you think the method of payments were? Cash or cheque. Yep that’s it. Card machine? No of course not, who uses those things these days anyway? 35million smackers and no sign of a card machine – brilliant! Maybe they have a cash machine built in somewhere like the SU bar does – after all they do insist on cash or cheque (and who has cheques these days anyway) oh but no that would make far too much sense. Instead you have to trek into town, which means navigating the underpass system or past the fire station for the nearest cash point. OK so you might argue that you shouldn’t have the fine in the first place, but we are only human, god forbid we should make an innocent mistake, and then be punished for it. Anyway isn’t a card machine a basic human right these days? They say the cheque is on its way out…well not at this library, 35 million pounds and they can still manage to stay in the dark ages! I did ask a member of staff who does not wish to be named (do they ever) if there are any plans to get card machines, to which the reply was “I think so, sometime after Christmas.” Not a very reliable answer I must say, “think so” and “sometime” – so you don’t actually know, and sometime after Christmas could be anytime – I won’t hold my breath.
After my little trek to get money out I returned to a queue which initially didn’t look too bad as there were only four people in it. But it took me TEN MINUTES to get to the front. With 35million as the budget, a monkey could have done it quicker! Once at the front of the desk, I get a very insincere “sorry about the wait” (yeah I bet you are!) I paid my fine and took the opportunity to ask if there was any other desks in the building, where you could pay fines, ask questions etc. Of course I had already spent half an hour trudging round each floor in search of one, so I knew what the answer would be. She replied “no there isn’t unfortunately, sorry.” Sorry? Sorry? Perhaps I should forward you the bill for my worn out shoe leather!
Whilst on my trek upstairs, I noticed each door has a button you press to open the door. Well this particular door I tried to open, wouldn’t, what would a disabled person do I ask? And what if I had my hands full? The doors only open if you pull them or press the button – design fault or just plain stupidity? Not only this, the door was decorated with duck tape! Duck tape! 35 million pound duck tape! Brilliant!
What does the new library remind you of? Well I’d say big brother. Can’t see it? Let me explain…
I counted numerous CCTV cameras dotted all around, in various different positions covering all sorts of places. Er…it’s a library! Is it really necessary to rig the place up like Big Brother?? To finish off the BB look, they’ve decorated the rooms with hideous, garish, big brother style furniture scattered all over the place. I over heard one student describe it all as “snazzy.” Ok love since when did we use the word snazzy in the twenty first century. Plus I don’t call colour clashed, rock hard chairs snazzy!!
Remind me why a library needs two cafés? Probably to get some of that wasted 35million back!
On the ground and first floor the ‘staff area’ takes up almost half the entire right hand side of the library, plus there’s a third ‘staff area’ on the second floor. How many staff have they employed to sit their back sides in these ‘staff areas?’ well, I asked at reception how many staff are employed at the library, and she gave me a disapproving look (something I should get used to I suppose) at the words ‘journalism students’ and answered in a very un-interested and monotone voice saying “I don’t know, the systems haven’t updated.” Yes that’s right if all else fails blame it on the systems. I even saw a member of staff instant messaging on facebook! Instead of wasting time perhaps more staff should be allocated at help desks all over the library, rather than taking up half the library staring at a computer screen!
As for the i-zone help desk…is it necessary to wrap the desk in a sheet of disco lights? Is that what cost 35million? And dare I even mention that they have chosen to build this ‘state of the art’ library miles from everyone with no car park! I’m not bothered why there’s no car park, all I know is that most students have to go out of their way to go the library and this doesn’t even warrant a car park!
Last but not least, I noticed several large screen TV’s dotted all over the library, no signs and blank screens. I asked the bored receptionist what they were for and she informed me that if you touch the screen, they bring up an interactive view of the campus. Shouldn’t they be on campus then?
Clearly multi million pounds doesn’t mean quality or usability.
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