By Ryan Gould
The University launched its Revision Rooms initiative last week, with the aim of providing knowledge of extra study space available to students around the University in the run up to exams.
The primary aim of Revision Rooms is to amalgamate information about study spaces around the University and map them out online.
The University hopes to inform students of study spaces outside the main Bill Bryson Library, and has made extra space available in the Students’ Union and, for the first time, academic departments.
Free rooms within academic departments have been identified and booked out by Estates and Facilities, University Timetabling, and Event Durham. These spaces will be available for students to use from 4th – 29th May.
Following feedback from the last academic year, the University understood that students found it increasingly difficult to find adequate room for study during the Easter term.
The Bill Bryson Library, which operates its Library 24/7 service during Epiphany and Easter term, has approximately 1,550 study spaces. Between 26th April and 6th June 2014, the University found that an average of 2,312 people visited the Library each day, with the number of visitors peaking at 3,575 on 28th April.
Providing that occupancy data follows a similar pattern in 2015, the findings show a significantly fewer than average number of study spaces available for students.
In the Library 24/7 survey 2014, the Library asked students: “We know the Bill Bryson Library is very busy during the Easter term. How easy was it to find the type of study space you were looking for during the day?” The question received over 500 responses, with 79.6% of students saying that they found finding study space “difficult” or “very difficult.”
The Library stated that this feedback was despite 250 extra seats being made temporarily available in an empty space on Level 3 in 2014, which had been cleared of books for refurbishment works.
Claire Smith, Customer Services Manager at Durham University Library, said:
“Although we’re pleased that the Bill Bryson Library is so popular with students, we take student feedback very seriously. Without the space to temporarily add additional seating this year, we brought together colleagues from around the University to discuss whether other areas of the campus could be used by students for revision.
“We have worked closely with colleagues in Estates and Facilities, University Timetabling, Event Durham, Computing and Information Services, the Colleges, Queen’s Campus, and Durham Students’ Union.
“We are particularly pleased with the response from Estates and Facilities, Timetabling and Event Durham, who have made a number of rooms available in academic departments for the first time.
“The Revision Rooms available from 4th – 29th May will be subject to standard monitoring and checking procedures by Estates and Facilities’ Security, Cleaning and Caretaking staff.”
The University further stated that the inclusion of academic departments within the initiative is operating on a “trial basis,” commenting that they hope “students will be considerate to other students and staff members when using these spaces.”
“If the Revision Rooms initiative proves valuable this revision period, we hope that this is something the University will continue and extend in future years.”
Students can find the location of university buildings involved in the initiative by going to www.durham.ac.uk/revision, alongside the number of free PCs in CIS computer rooms.
Photograph: Venus Loi