In February 2014 we emailed a survey to 1,673 students who were registered with Disability Services in order to evaluate the service that the Library provides to them. Overall the survey shows that the Library is providing a good service to its disabled users. The service is generally very accessible and staff are helpful and responsive to the needs of students. There are, however, areas for improvements and the 212 respondents provided some constructive criticism in their feedback. Through this feedback, key areas for concern were identified and the following improvements put in place:
- Increased awareness of the services that the Library provides to students with disabilities. In conjunction with Disability Services we now send an email to all registered students detailing their entitlements and all the various services on offer to them. This email will be sent out at the start of each semester and a paper guide will soon be published which will also carry these details.
- Improve access to books on the higher shelves. To address the issue of high shelving for people with mobility issues, at least one set of hand rail type steps has been purchased per floor. These are located between the computers and the book stacks in the area overlooking the atrium, so that they are easily located when required.
- Raised staff awareness of the issues facing students with disabilities. Library front line staff receive regular training from Disability Services on specific disabilities and assistive solutions. This will continue on an annual basis to ensure that staff are given the tools to help students with disabilities.
- Improve Library staff customer service skills. All front line staff received comprehensive customer service skills training in autumn 2014 to embed an ethos of excellent customer service across the service. Continued staff training and education should improve the experience of students with disabilities when using the Library Service at Queen’s.
A further area which was raised in the survey was the difficulty in finding a quiet place to study especially during peak times. The Library is currently investigating the possibility of having a small number of bookable desks in the ground floor Silent Study room. Students eligible to book these desks should then be able to guarantee a quiet location and thus reduce anxiety levels in a relatively anonymous way. Watch this space!