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A visit to @UWSAyr / SAC Riverside Campus

9 Jul

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Having, as described in my previous post, recently presided over the closure of a library, it was nice to get the chance to visit one which has recently opened. Last summer, the University of the West of Scotland and the Scottish Agricultural College co-located their Ayr campuses on a riverside site. The library is run jointly by the two institutions and my friend, Elaine Muir, Head of Library Services for SAC, invited me down for lunch and a tour.

The campus is easy to get to, a short walk along the river from the railway station. This approach, shown above, is at the back and very pleasant. The front has a large car park, but even this is quite attractive because it is broken up with grassy, meadow-like areas. The entrance to the library is on a bridge over the atrium:

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Underneath is the canteen, so it’s very handy for food!

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Everything is very clean and bright looking with orange being the colourful theme for the library:

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There were several spacious discussion / seminar rooms with projection facilities for students to use:

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We also toured the rest of the building and it was all of similar standard. If I have any criticism it would be that, despite the colourful furniture, the walls in all areas are clinical white which feels a bit cold and means it’s very hard to orient yourself in the teaching corridors because they all look the same. I also think there could be more signposting on arrival – I didn’t notice any direction boards telling you what was where. My final thought is that, although it was hard to get a true sense of the place because it was vacation and there were very few students around, the library seemed to me be a good advertisement for shared services. Maybe this is somewhere to consider for a future #GLTU visit? Or alternatively, a talk from UWS / SAC representatives on running a joint library?

PS August 2012, for an article on planning a joint service by Neal Buchanan of UWS and Elaine Muir of SAC, see SCONUL Focus Issue 55

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RIP @JordanhillLib – the end of a library told through social media

6 Jul

A library full of books (photo by Lynne Marshall)

A few weeks later

The University of Strathclyde is centralising onto one campus this summer. As part of the procedure, Jordanhill Library closed on 1st June and was emptied within a few short weeks. This was an emotional wrench for me, having worked there over two decades, so I decided to create my own little archive. I tweeted the whole procedure as @JordanhillLib so that staff and students were kept up-to-date with progress, but tweets disappear off the horizon quickly and, now that the account has morphed into @StrathLibHaSS (HaSS = Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences), they’d be more or less irretrievable anyway. I’ve blogged about Jordanhill in other places, my travel blog and children’s literature blog, but it was two new (to me) tools that really came into their own.

Pinterest I signed up to this a while ago, but hadn’t really done anything with it until it occurred to me it would be a wonderful tool to document the closure of the library and collect memories. My Farewell Jordanhill board is a mixture of current photographs and archive material.

Storify Again, I had been aware of this tool but not used it much. However, I made two Jordanhill Storifies (Storifys?) – one about the Library’s last day, when we served cake to all our visitors, and one about the campus closing ceremony a couple of weeks later. Storify goes some way to solve the problem, mentioned above, of preserving tweets.

It’s wonderful these days how, with very little technical expertise, you can create good-looking web pages using these tools. Obviously, there is no guarantee that they will last for ever though so I have my photographs all backed up – I’m not daft. And I’ll always have the memories!

Innerpeffray Library

25 Mar

My visit to Innerpeffray, Scotland’s first free lending library, was made in a personal capacity, and I wrote it up on my own travel blog. I count it as a tweet up though, because I’ve been chatting since with Lara, the Library Manager, @Innerpeffray! The Library is the most fascinating place and everyone interested in libraries should visit it.

PS 27/4/12 Came across a great blogpost about Innerpeffray form the Georgian Gentleman. It also speculates about what was the first public lending library in England.

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