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Growing together

With the support of 2CQR, Bedfordshire's libraries have been developing EM to RFID for the past 20 years

Posted by Rianna Newman | July 19, 2017 | Facilities

It was therefore a natural progression to use their expertise in security and self-service when the University of Bedfordshire's new £46m Luton campus library was proposed.

Transforming the town centre campus, the stunning new seven-storey library has delivered on all the expectations of students and staff. 

Meeting Expectations

Leo O’Neill, Head of Library Development, was keen to explain how the desires of students had been important: “We asked what they (the students) needed to enable them to focus on real learning. We didn’t want to impose a regime and systems they were uncomfortable with.”

Lee O'Neill, Head of Library Development

One of the key expectations was 24/7 library opening every day. This has been achieved by working with their chosen partner 2CQR to provide the stock security and self-service solution.

In detail there are two, five-bin returns sorters, one on the ground floor, by the main entrance and another on the first floor by the bridge that links the main campus to the library. The 2CQR Returns Sorter is quick and easy to use, allowing students to deposit books without staff intervention and it automatically sorts into library specific categories ready for staff to return to the displays.

Media security is also provided on the ground and first floors with 2CQR’s PG Antennae. These transparent antennae are a modern answer to anti-theft and a big favourite with architects for their unobtrusive appearance as well as with librarians for their reliability.

Self-service is managed by five 2CQR Totem kiosks which work seamlessly with the LMS, enabling the issue, return and renewal of books, as well as account information for the 154,000 books and media.

And does this self-service solution work? “The students love it!” says Leo. “We fit in with their academic and external work commitments. 24/7 every day of the year means they don’t have to worry about when they can use the library.”

Library staff the new building during weekdays from 8.30 till 22.00 and slightly less at weekends with security staff patrolling outside these hours.

Designed for Study

An important part of the library design is the mix of study spaces: Quiet Study, Group Study rooms, Quiet ICT rooms, Study Pods, Study Booths and Presentation Rooms. On levels 4, 5 and 6 there are the very popular Silent Study rooms where noise levels are monitored by electronic devices and regular staff patrols. All the floors are laid out in a similar way and are skillfully signed to enhance the user experience. Architecturally the emphasis is on clean, simple lines with function the key focus. The furniture and décor is similarly designed to look modern but not too edgy so as not to date quickly. Comfort, quality and practicality really make this library a great place to study and, with views across Luton and the surrounding countryside from all four sides, there is also a satisfying sense of place. 

Delivering together

Returning to the self-service issues Leo added: “Across the University we have a great knowledge of self-service, from the early years of EM, when the technology was introduced to us through 2CQR, to the latest in RFID solutions. We believe you need a partner who can offer more than just products but an understanding of your needs and an ability to work with you and other partners. And on this demanding project 2CQR have delivered again.”

See the Luton Campus video and more academic library solutions at:

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