Imperial College London

Central Library - You Said, We Did


Central Library entrance and Information Hub

While our libraries have been closed we’ve taken the opportunity to plan improvements to the Central Library User Experience (UX).

Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences earlier in the year, helping to improve Library Services for all.

We tried three approaches to UX this year. Touchstone Tours involved pairing up one user and one staff member to move around the library space together, with the user sharing their responses and experiences. Observations involved staff members spending time in the study spaces on different floors and taking notes on how the space was used. Finally, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with Love Letters, encouraging users to write us either a Love Letter or a Breakup Letter, telling us what they did or did not like about the library.

We learned a lot from your feedback. 8% of respondents commented that they found the library space a motivating and productive environment.  Among the positive comments, 17% appreciated the books and e-resources we provide and 12% spoke about good interactions with our staff. 

Negative responses focused on the limitations of the physical space (over 50% of respondents), as well as the cleanliness, number and repair of the toilets. Temperature was also a concern, and in 11% of the negative responses, users said they still found the library either too hot or too cold. 

Here are our responses to your feedback.

We need more computers

We have purchased 24 new PCs and will install them on level 3 to provide additional capacity. Remote access will be available during the Autumn term. We are also mindful of social distancing needs, and will bear these in mind when arranging the study space.

We need better signage to Room 204

We will install clearer signage on our return, making it easier to find this space.

We need more bins, and they need to be emptied more frequently

We are talking to Estates about increasing the number of bins in the library, and the frequency with which they are emptied. 

Power sockets need to be regularly tested and repaired when broken

When we return to campus, we will conduct regular tests and timely repairs, to ensure library users can access our power supply without problems.

Can we have notepads by the library search terminals?

We will ensure there are notepads by the search terminals, allowing you to jot down search results to help find resources.

We need more whiteboards, and some are broken

We are purchasing additional whiteboards, and will check and dispose of damaged ones.

Can we have Study Break Cards all year round?

We are aware that space is an issue, and when we return, social distancing will be another consideration in this area. We are looking into using Study Break cards throughout the year, among other solutions, to ensure space is used and shared fairly in the library.


Kirsten Irving

Kirsten Irving
Library Services