Feedback on the refurbishment of Level D Hugh Owen Library 2017

Level D of the Hugh Owen Library was refurbished in the second half of 2017 and re-opened at the start of term – on 3 January 2018. We asked for your feedback on the refurbished space via a noticeboard to ensure that we continue developing spaces and facilities that meet your needs. We have also collected your comments via paper suggestion forms and on Twitter/Facebook. Out of a total number of 253 responses (236 left on the noticeboard), 183 referred to the Level D refurbishment.

We received many positive comments:

  • ‘I love the welcome feeling and new accessibility of plug sockets’
  • ‘I really love this place!’

Most common words you used to describe Level D were: modern, spacious and comfortable:

  • ‘Lovely clean modern + spacious look!’
  • ‘Some much more space, making it easier to think, Thanks!’
  • ‘It’s spacious and a calming environment. It’s a really nice open space to study with limited stress’
  • I really liked the new design. I feel more comfortable!’
  • Comfort warm yet open and spacious’

You like the book self-return machine located just outside the group study room 2 and the non-gendered toilets:

  • ‘Love the new book return self-service machine and the décor :) and everything!’
  • 'I like the fact that there's much more room to work. I'm very pleased about the non-gendered toilets!'

We are very pleased that the new design of Level D was so enthusiastically received by majority of students.

Apart from positive comments above, you have also asked some useful questions and suggested developments:

Your comments

Our response

15 of you asked to open the Level E entrance again.

‘Wish we could have access to the library from Level E that used to be the main entrance during the D's refurbishment. Very convenient that way. Better access to other areas of the uni, while the current main entrance requires a lot more to go around the whole building.’


The entrance on Level E was only a temporary solution whilst the work was going on with the refurbishment of Level D. For security reasons regarding the maintenance of our stock, any entrance/exit has to be permanently staffed, along with having appropriate systems in place to trigger on the unauthorised removal of stock. Whilst we appreciate the feedback regarding the convenience of having an additional entrance on Level E, we simply do not have the resources to maintain this in addition to our main entrance on Level D.


7 of you commented on Level D being too cold.

‘It's cool but really COLD‘


Heating in our libraries is controlled by the University's Estates department and we, in Information Services, do monitor temperatures several times during the day in all library locations to ensure that temperatures do not get too warm nor too cold for the majority of our library users. We experienced few problems with the heat regulation since the re-opening of Level D as a result of dealing with a new air system. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Once aware of any issues with heating in the library, we report them directly to Estates who investigates the problem.


7 of you asked whether we can let dogs into the library.  

‘It's good, but we would definitely benefit from a resident library dog!’


As much as we would love to have animals in the library, unfortunately the library is for humans and service animals only. J There is a possibility that letting our users bring their pets into the library would distract students from doing their academic work.


6 of you suggested that having a microwave or kettle in the library would be useful.

‘Love the new vending machine space! Would love to have a kettle/microwave for after hours to make food.’


We currently provide a space on Level D of the Hugh Owen Library where users can buy and eat snacks and drinks from vending machines. We recognise our students’ need for a central place on campus to prepare meals or hot drinks especially during an all-night study sessions. To make the Hugh Owen Library a comfortable and appropriate place to study for all of our users, we do not allow hot food to be eaten in the library. However, we have raised with colleagues in the University the need for a central space, such as a student common room, that would be easily and safely accessible while working in the library for long hours during the day or night. We will continue to work with our Estates colleagues to locate and develop such service.


4 of you said that the entrance doors open too slowly.

‘The entrance doors open very slowly, it would be more effective if they worked at the same time and opened faster.’


We are currently reviewing the porch doors opening and closing sequences with the door manufacturer to see if we can make improvements.

3 of you preferred when vending machines were located on Level E.

'I really like the changes, much more room. However: I don't think it's practical to have all the vending machines downstairs and not to have one on Level E.'


The vending machines have been moved to a location with a suitable floor covering to enable us to keep the area clean. It is accessible to all users and the new location enables us to minimise noise and disruption from social gatherings which tend to happen near the vending machines.

2 of you asked if Level D is a quiet study area.

‘Love the new space. Wonderful place for study, but wondering if it’s a silent study zone.’


Level D is a quiet group study area which means that quiet conversation is permitted. In our libraries, we try to provide a balance between collaborative and silent study spaces.  

Read about Study Zones in the Hugh Owen and Thomas Parry Libraries.


One of you suggested a book display on Level D.

‘A really lovely space. It would be great to see a book display here-perhaps a display of new titles.’

Following your feedback we decided to move the Book Swap shelf from Level F to Level D (near the vending area). Library users can bring books they have already read and swap them for those left by other library users. Information Services’ staff have recently donated many amazing books to the Book Swap. Happy swapping!


We are grateful for the wonderful feedback received. You can see all the colourful sticky notes from our noticeboard on Information Services' Pinterest.

All library users are encouraged to continue providing feedback on library and IT facilities via: