Collingwood College’s Lormor Library is set to be renovated to give students a “peaceful and tranquil space” to work.
As part of the renovation, books are currently being removed from the Lormor Library, and it is believed that around 90% of the library stock will be sold to make space for desks and other study facilities.
Professor Joe Elliott, the Principal of Collingwood College, told Palatinate that removing the excess stock from the library would help give students a comfortable place to work.
“The rationale behind this decision is that students need a useful place to study. Many of our students don’t want to work in their rooms, and during exam season just about every desk in the whole of Durham seems to be taken.
“Therefore, by making these changes we’re making sure that students at Collingwood will always have a space that they can use for their studies”.
Before the removal of stock began, it was estimated that between 15 and 20 students could work there at a time due to the “cramped” nature of the Lormor Library.
Professor Elliott also claimed that, due to the availability of electronic copies of books and libraries, students have been borrowing fewer books from the library, which initially prompted the decision.
“We have had one of the biggest libraries at the University, yet for the last few years it hasn’t been used anywhere near as much as it once was.
“Students these days can get hold of e-books very easily through the library catalogue. We’re so close to the Bill Bryson Library as well, and paper copies of all the books that they need for their courses are available there”.
Professor Elliot was also keen to stress that students would still be able to borrow books from the library, and that “essential” books would remain in place.
However, the renovation has caused frustration amongst some Collingwood students.
One student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Palatinate they feared that the decision to remove the stock from the library would affect their studies.
“I for one am quite frustrated, especially as a third year who has had to go through the year without the extensive resources that I enjoyed over the past few years. I’m sure that they would have been useful for my research.
“We did know that the library was going to be turned into an extensive study space, and so for this reason, space needed to be made. However, whilst I completely agree that greater study space was needed in the library, I can’t understand why we had to sell stock to create this space.
“The students were not consulted as to whether we wanted to sell our stock, we were merely informed”.
Another anonymous source suggested that, although students are generally “apathetic” towards the Lormor Library, some consultation between staff and students should have taken place.
“It appears that there was little or no involvement of students in the decision. This is especially worrying given that many of the books had been brought through student money, via JCR fees.
“If it turns out that students just don’t care then that’s fine, but that is that no-one bothered to find out”.
In response, Professor Elliott informed Palatinate that, although not all students had been consulted about the decision, many had spoken out in favour of the renovation of the library when asked.
Photograph: Rob Law