- All Medical & Dental Students at Barts and The London SMD
- United Kingdom
Thank you everyone for signing up to our petition.
In the 3 days it was open, we got over a 1000 signatures.
As you are all likely aware, the last week has seen much action in combatting the proposal from Library services to amend the opening hours of Barts Library, which would have rendered it virtually useless to most users. The angst and uproar spread around the social media quicker than herpes during Freshers’ Fortnight, and a staggering number of emails and signatures were obtained from the student body and alumni.
Yesterday, these were collated and forwarded to the Queen Mary Senior Executive (QMSE), the membership of which includes the Principal and all the Vice-Principals. We have yet to hear back a formal response from this, but informing the powers-that-be of the indignation that the student body felt towards the change will prove pivotal in the long run in ensuring proper consultation and a thorough consideration of the learning services provided by the university.
Further to this, there have been numerous meetings within the medical school trying to elucidate and address the problem directly. I believe I am allowed to say that staff at all levels within the school were in support of the student opinion and many had spoken out against the changes.
Thankfully, I am very pleased to say that library services will be unchanged for the rest of this academic year.
Prof. Warrens and the rest of the Dean’s Team have managed this by diverting a small amount of funds (~15%) from the money normally used to refresh the stock of textbooks. It is worth noting that we have to appreciate that money is finite and every department is being asked to make drastic cuts. Despite the £9,000 fees, due to the government funding changes, the university still have deficit of over £2000 per student. However, taking money from this resource will have a much smaller impact than the changes to the library opening hours. Furthermore, the students’ union have recently run a campaign to increase this textbook budget, so if this is acted upon then in real terms there will be negligible change to the money spent on books.
What is really heart-warming about all of this, however, is that due to the short notice, Library services are unable to arrange the staffing needed for January. Therefore, academic and professional staff, have volunteered to work in the library of an evening throughout January to ensure that it stays open for student use.
It is often said that BL is a special community, and I think the fact that your professors, lecturers and administrators are willing to give up their time to keep your library open is such a wonderful gesture of solidarity that we can all go into the Christmas break feeling good about the place.
So in summary, for this year at least, the medical school have ensured that library services at West Smithfield will remain as they are, including Saturday opening. It is worth remembering the study room under the library will remain open 24/7. Further to this, the concerns expressed to QMSE will ensure proper consultation and investment in the resources that students want. The most influential people at the university are now undeniably aware of the passion that the students have for their library service.
This action wouldn't have been possible without my co-chair of the senior SSLC, Kerrie Wilson, BLSA Student President, Andy Smith and Clinical Rep, Alex Fowler.
Thanks again & Viva la Barts!
We, the senior SSLC, are gravely concerned about the imminent changes to the library service at West Smithfield (Barts library).
On 18th December at our Senior SSLC Meeting, Library Representatives laid out the catastrophic alterations to service at West Smithfield that will come into effect from January 2nd. This provided an effective notice period of 3 working days since term ends on 21st December.
We are shocked that no students have been involved in the decision making process and that no transparent consultation was undertaken to hear concerns, discuss alternatives and devise a coherent proposal that reflects the unique needs of medical/dental students, even in the age of austerity where university budgets are stretched.
We believe the new opening hours effectively close the library to many medical/dental students. Those on clinical placement are expected to attend these rotations during normal working hours, Monday to Friday. In addition, pre-clinical medical/dental students often have a heavy lecture burden, restricting self-study to evenings and weekends. We are especially concerned that students, residing in Dawson Hall will be particularly affected. In addition, many final year medical students choose to live in Dawson Hall, at least in part due to the proximity of the library - these students have final exams in a matter of weeks and will be disproportionately affected by the changes.
It is also unclear why lending facilities will be lost as this service predominantly operates through the automated self-service system.
A lack of clarity exists regarding the redistribution of textbooks but we would not support textbooks being redeployed to the library at mile end – a facility used only rarely by medical/dental students.
We believe this short sighted plan may have far reaching implications – not least in the annual National Student Survey (NSS). By effectively ensuring no medical students can use the library, user numbers will drop and the long term viability of this beautiful part of our medical & dental school heritage may be called into question.
We do not wish to see this happen.
The restriction of library service, should have no place in an institution that prides itself on the recent elevation to Russell Group membership, especially when considered hand in hand with the low per-student book spend at our institution. We bring this petition and ask our fellow medical/dental students to sign, calling urgently for these plans to be halted to allow a period of consultation with students and a full and open consideration of alternatives.
We pledge to do all in our power, using this petition as support, to take this issue to the university and lobby for a better option.
Thank you for your support,
Kerrie Wilson and Aaron Braddy
Senior SSLC Student Co-Chairs
We, the undersigned, call on Queen Mary University of London to halt their above outlined changes to the provision of library services at the West Smithfield Library until there is a proper consultation with students and a more agreeable outcome for us!
The STOP THE CLOSURE OF BART'S LIBRARY! petition to All Medical & Dental Students at Barts and The London SMD was written by Aaron Braddy and is in the category Education at GoPetition.