SHELF HELP – SELF HELP. Edinburgh Napier University’s Libraries deliver

Visiting Edinburgh Napier University is a stimulating experience. The three campuses offer a variety of courses, with individual character, great history, exciting futures and an impressive range of services and support available, and actively promoted, across the campuses.

EXCITING CAMPUSES, EXCITING FUTURE

Edinburgh Napier University campuses have very distinctive characters, yet all are within easy reach of the centre of Edinburgh and manage to mix history and heritage with the latest in architectural and facility design.

 At Sighthill the campus serves more than 5,000 students and staff of the School of Applied Sciences and the School of Health & Social Care. Facilities include life-like hospital wards, a clinical skills suite, sports science labs and state-of-the-art sports centre.

This modern structure is light and airy with an impressive five-storey Learning Resource Centre that includes the library, IT facilities, a café and stunning views over Edinburgh.

Merchiston campus is home to the creative, computing and engineering students and sits within the exciting Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh. About a mile from the city centre Bruntsfield has a great history and is now celebrated for having the best independent shops and restaurants.

The campus echoes the style of the area with modern facilities built around the 16th century home of the University’s namesake John Napier. The inspiring, innovative and collaborative atmosphere is enhanced by cutting-edge cyber security labs to TV and film studios, business incubator, cafes and a 500-seat computing centre, with both Mac and PC hardware.

Craiglockhart is a campus that also blends old and new. Here it is a dramatic physical contrast that immediately sets the style, as the silver-skinned egg shape of the Lindsay Stewart lecture theatre sits between the original, historically unique 1880 building and the state-of-the-art business school facilities.

Beautifully located the campus provides 600 seats in their two lecture theatres, multimedia and language labs, business incubator and consultancy, cafes and library with access to 100 computers. Adding to the character there is a celebration of the original building’s history, as a ground-breaking centre of neurasthenia (shellshock), and the meeting place of war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

All the campuses have one thing in common…great libraries. Not just in relevant content but in the ease of access and the quality of service.

LIBRARY LEARNING

In the libraries we loved the Shelf Help promotion of the online service dealing with topics such as living with anxiety and depression, to coping with exam stress, to romance and sexuality. Here books and films are recommended by students, health professionals and librarians for use on their own or, as the site suggests, with support from trained health professionals, such as a counsellor, therapist, or GP, a trusted friend, relative, or colleague. This is just one of the thousands of online guides and databases provided by the library and iServices. Covering training, subject material, news, search and contacts this service also has guides to help students make the most of the physical libraries, which in turn are also designed, and fitted out to make the student’s life easy.

IMPORTANT ACCESS

In all the libraries, check-in, check out and stock management are obviously key issues and ensuring students have convenient access to not only hard media but the many IT services, collaborative booths, laptops, work pods, individual and group study areas make self-service opportunities and security an important part of the system.

For many years the Library and Information Services had been using Electro Magnetic (EM) book management systems. Any move to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and/or a new supplier was obviously going to be a major decision-making process.

MOVING TO RFID

However, as existing hard and software became increasingly difficult to service and was designated “end of life” through the existing supplier the need to upgrade became essential.

Following a tender process 2CQR were chosen to deliver, install and maintain new equipment and RFID software across all three campuses.

The project team comprising of members of library management, customer care, technical and database management services were led by Sheila Barcroft. She was keen to future-proof their investment.

“ We chose 2CQR after a very competitive tender process because we needed to ensure not only the best financial deal and reliable installation but longevity of equipment, intuitive software and proven reliability and service.”

The university wanted to implement the same systems across the three campuses, with four self-service kiosks at Sighthill, two each at Merchiston and Craiglockhart and security patron counters with monitoring software. Management and stock control was supplied through central software and hand held scanning.

“As long time holders of Customer Service Excellence accreditation the university prides itself on working with the best and 2CQR’s presentation and the independent reports we had made them look like a perfect partner”

CHRISTMAS PRESENT

As with any major installation minimum downtime is essential for users and the Christmas break gave the University the ideal opportunity for the move to RFID. Three campuses, eight Totem self-service units, security gates for three libraries, new RFID and management software along with over 150,000 assets to tag were all completed on time, not without some hiccups however without any disruption or problems.

Six months on and how have staff and students taken to the new regime?

Daniel Earls, Information and Operations Assistant was impressed “Students have taken to the new self-service operation without any problems…the functionality and instructions make for fast and easy operation. We even have an app. that enables students who have forgotten, or not received, their student card to scan themselves in on the Totems”.

Daniel continued “For staff, only basic training was needed to manage the new software. We have found major benefits of the system including the ability for staff to identify stock loss through the central management software and the immediate identification of books being removed prior to check out…and book sorting is far easier and faster than with the old EM system”

GROWING REPUTATION

Edinburgh Napier University has a great reputation, ranked in the top 5% of universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings), number 1 in the UK for adding value to students (Guardian University Guide 2017) and double award winners of the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which recognises institutions for their internationally acclaimed research. And the vision is to keep growing – “to be an enterprising and innovative community, renowned internationally, with an unrivalled student learning experience”. For a supplier to be chosen to be part of their aspirations provides a wonderful opportunity. For 2CQR who have their own history of achievement in the library market it is a pleasure to partner the University now, and to be by their side as they move forward.