Returning students will notice that over the winter vacation the new University Library access control system was put into operation. Almost all University Libraries have access control in place. The main reason Stirling hasn’t done so till now is that unlike many other University libraries we do not have a neighbouring University whose students might swamp our facilities. But the lack of a control system means we lack the richness of management information about our users which will allow to better manage the library facility to suit those requirements.
Knowing the length of time students spend studying in the Library and how many are in the building at particular times of the day will help us to adjust service levels, policies and opening hours to suit. No restrictions will be places on visitors to the Library – they will be allowed free entry as before – but we will be able to measure their use of the facility which again will assist in our planning.
There is also a security aspect to the system in that we will know who is in the building in cases of theft, damage or threat to personal safety. Compliance is also an important factor – we need to be able to show that the categories of people protected by the Equality Act are not under-represented as Library users.
The gates themselves have been selected to have minimal impact on users. There are three lanes give two entry and two exit routes, with the wider middle lane being fully DDA compliant and allowing both entry and exit. The proximity card readers (no need to swipe or have a barcode read) should make entry straightforward, and the retracting glass wings are a lot more user-friendly than the traditional 3-armed turnstile.
They can be manually controlled from the Library reception desk, and Library staff will be on hand to assist if any difficulties are experienced.