Sheila Silver Library Refurbishment: choices and compromises – responding to your feedback

While we’re really excited about the newly refurbished first floor of the Sheila Silver Library, we know it’s not perfect.  We’ve received a lot of comments on the whiteboards we put out for your feedback asking us why we made the changes we did—many students really liked having the bookstock on the ground floor and the big open study space on the first floor!  So we thought we’d share some background about why we made the changes we did, and what you can look forward to in the future.

To summarise what’s happened: before this phase of the refurbishment, books 001-599 were temporarily located on the ground floor.  During 2015-16, the entire first floor book room was full of study tables and PCs. Now that we’ve refurbished, the first floor is similar to the second and third floors and the book room contains a mixture of bookshelves and group study furniture and PCs. Rooms 104 and 105 are also available for group study.

Why did you move the books back onto the first floor?

Rooms G28 and G29 (which temporarily contained bookstock) had to be turned back into teaching labs for 2016-17. These are some of the only labs on campus large enough to hold the larger student groups of 40 or more. So we had to move the books out of those rooms and replace them with as many PC desks as possible—these rooms are an essential part of University teaching space.

By the way, don’t forget that any time a lab isn’t timetabled for a class, you can walk in and use a PC!  That’s 44 PCs in G28 and 43 PCs in G29, plus a few extra desks in each room if you want to use a laptop.  This is in addition to the other teaching labs on the first, second, and third floors.

But you could have left the books in the area near the entrance and still had some extra study space on first.

Yes, but we are expecting the ground floor to be refurbished in the near future, and that would require the books to move.  Book moves are very costly (that’s your money we’re spending!) and, more importantly, they’re very disruptive for you—every time we move books from one floor to another, those books are unavailable to you for at least some of the time.

Both the temporary location of the books on the ground floor and their recent move to the first floor are part of a larger plan to keep the bookstock available to you (and reduce costs) as much as possible over the course of the larger project in which we refurbish the entire Library one floor at a time.

You could still fit more study tables on the ground floor near the entrance.

You’re right! This phase of the project didn’t include funds to purchase new furniture for the ground floor, so we’ve reused our old furniture that would connect to the floor sockets (so you have more convenient plug points on top of the tables).  We are currently working on getting some more tables to fill in the gaps in this area.

The books take up too much space.

We have to balance between providing study space and providing the resources you need for your coursework—we know both of these things are important to students from the feedback we receive. We do our best to keep the balance right:

  • we buy eBooks and ejournals whenever we can—no shelf space needed!
  • we assess the collection regularly and remove items that are out of date
  • we have a section of compact shelving on the third floor which takes up less space than ordinary bookshelves. However, compact shelving is very expensive and also too heavy to use safely across the entire floor of the Library.

Why do you let college students take up space in the Library?

We need an upgrade to the infrastructure of the entrance gate in order to be able to turn it on all day long without inconveniencing you even more with multiple gate breakdowns. We expect this situation to improve soon and to be able to implement better balanced visitor policies that will prioritise the needs of our students to use study space.  You can help with this by getting in the habit of carrying your Campus Card with you at all times!

Your feedback about needing more study space and more areas with large tables for groups to spread out and study together has been passed along to Leeds Beckett Estates, as they ultimately make the decisions about University facilities.  We will be working with Estates on the next phase of the refurbishment of this Library (fourth floor, Summer 2017) and the ground floor refurbishment.  We’ll do everything we can to increase study space and provide the kind of environment you need as we participate in these projects!

Improve your study skills – free software workshops in the Library

We have lots of software on the PCs and laptops in the Library to support your studies. This includes software for making mind maps to represent your ideas visually, having text read aloud, managing your research sources and more.

Workshops on using the assistive software available in the Library are running throughout November. Why not come along and find out how it can help you? All workshops are suitable for beginners. Session details are below. Please click the links below the workshop titles to book.


Texthelp Read and write software: Reading, writing and scanning tools

Tuesday 1 November 2016, 11:00 – 12:00, LS202, City Campus

Thursday 3 November 2016, 15:00 – 16:00, JG229, Headingley Campus

Outcomes: After this workshop you should be able to use some of the features of Texthelp Read & Write software. This includes using the text to speech functions, converting text into sound files, spellchecking and dictionary functions. Texthelp Read & Write contains features beneficial to a wide range of students and staff. As the software is available on all University PCs why not see how you could benefit!


Mind mapping using Inspiration software

Tuesday 8 November 2016, 12:00 – 13:00, LS107, City Campus

Thursday 10 November 2016, 12:00 – 13:00, JG219, Headingley Campus

Outcomes: This workshop will provide an introduction to the mind mapping package Inspiration. Mind mapping is useful for visually representing different elements of a problem or idea and is an effective study technique which you can use to plan essays and reports as well as a memory aid for revision. The workshop shows you how to create a basic mind map and apply your own customisations such as design colours, images and notes. The software is currently available on every PC in the Library.


Mind mapping using MindView software

Tuesday 15 November 2016, 12:00 – 13:00, LS107, City Campus

Thursday 17 November 2016, 12:00 – 13:00, JG229, Headingley Campus

Outcomes: This workshop will provide an introduction to the mind mapping package MindView. Mind mapping is useful for visually representing different elements of a problem or idea and is an effective study technique which you can use to plan essays and reports as well as a memory aid for revision. The workshop shows you how to create a basic mind map and apply your own customisations such as design colours, images and notes. The software is currently available on every PC in the Library.


Texthelp Read and Write software: Research tools

Tuesday 22nd November 2016, 12:00 – 13:00, LS107, City Campus

Thursday 24th November 2016, 15:00 – 16:00, JG229, Headingley Campus

Bookings for these sessions available soon via the Workshop timetable.

Outcomes: This workshop will cover the Research features of Texthelp Read & Write software. Use the Fact Folder to collect all of your research sources into one place and create a bibliography of all your sources which can easily be exported into a Word document. The Study Skills tool allows you to add coloured highlights to sections of text in Word documents and web pages. These could be useful information for assignments, quotes or things you need to research further. Extract these highlights into a new document, including the bibliography of where you found the highlighted text, which is useful when researching for assignments. You can also create your own vocabulary lists.


The Library website gives details of the full range of software available on Library PCs and laptops and specific information on assistive software.

If you have any queries about software in the Library please contact us.

Using Sheila Silver Library overnight

Want to study in the Sheila Silver Library in the evening or overnight? There are a few things that you need to know!

The issues with the fire alarms have now been resolved (October 26th) and all study areas are open 24/7.


Don’t forget if you’re coming in to study in the evening or overnight you must have your Campus Card card with you from 19:00 – 08:30.




Unfortunately due to health and safety concerns caused by issues with the fire alarm system we are unable to open all areas 24/7. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Ground floor and Third floor

  • The ground floor and third floor are open as normal, with all areas open 24/7.

First floor

  • The first floor book room is open 24/7 with full access to the book stock (000-339 & 350 – 599), group study and open access PCs
  • The print hub, Student Meeting Rooms and IT labs are open during staffed hours
  • The new flexible study room (LS104) and group study room (LS105) are open during the day but closed in the evening and overnight

Second floor

  • The second floor book room is open 24/7 with full access to the book stock (600-799), group study and open access PCs
  • The print hub, Student Meeting Rooms and IT labs are opened during staffed hours
  • The Postgraduate Room (LS204) and Silent Study (LS205) are are open during the day but closed in the evening and overnight

Library behind the scenes: Meet the Library holds team!

At the Sheila Silver Library we have:

Sheila loves Motorsport – NASCAR, Formula 1, touring Cars & MotoGP, travelling on planes and Game of Thrones & The Walking Dead – she’s been to a two day Walker Stalker Convention. She doesn’t like tea, jazz, or being on a ship in the middle of the ocean.

Laura likes knitting (badly), watching Hammer Horror films and books (I work in a library, so I MUST like books). She doesn’t like celery, washing dishes or people who push in to queues.

Joanna loves eating toast, walking in the rain and swimming in the sea. She doesn’t like travelling by bus, waking up early in the morning or spending all day inside.

At Headingley Library we have:

James likes all things football and appreciates a fine piece of knitwear.

Suzy likes watching quiz shows, ten pin bowling and holidays by the sea.

Clare likes painting, collecting tarot cards and is always on the look out for the perfect leopard print coat.


What happens when you place a hold?

The next morning at 8 o’clock a list is created with all the holds from the previous day. We print this off as early as we can and start searching.

Once we have found your hold, we process it and put it on the shelf in the High Demand Area (near the Help and Information Point). If you’ve requested to collect your book at another Leeds Beckett Library, we put it in a box ready to be delivered.

Once the book is processed, you will receive an email notification to your student email account to let you know that the book is ready to be collected!

Our 3 top holds tips:

  1. Make sure you choose which Library you want to pick up the hold from – City or Headingley.
  2. Wait till you receive an email before coming to collect your hold! Unfortunately, it won’t be ready immediately and sometimes it can take a while to track books down if they’re being used by others regularly.
  3. When you come to collect your hold, you need to look for it under the first letter of your surname and the last four numbers of your Library ID.

There is lots of handy information about holds on our website  It also includes two videos showing you how to place a hold and collect a hold if you haven’t done that before.

If you have any questions about holds, we’d be very happy to help you. Please email:


Sheila Silver Library first floor is open!

Following redevelopment the first floor of Sheila Silver Library, Cdsc_0057ity Campus has reopened

Over the last week approximately 55,000 books have been moved from the ground floor up onto the newly refurbished floor.

Book stock 001 – 339 and 350 – 599 is now held on the floor. This includes; Journalism, Psychology, Cultural Studies, Politics, Economics, Social Work, Criminology and Education.dsc_0028

The refurbished floor has additional group study space, Student Meeting Rooms and IT Labs.dsc_0053




Work will continue during the week to activate PCs and power points and staff will be on hand to answer any queries.

The ground floor has reverted back to group study space and IT Labs G28 and G29 have been reopened and are available for teaching and studying.

The great book move!

As part of the final stages of the refurbishment of the first floor of Sheila Silver Library the books are on the move as they are transferred to their new home on the first floor.

The great book move will start on Thursday 6th October, with different sections moving at a time:

  • Thursday 6th October (G28) Book numbers 350 – 599
  • Monday 10th October (G29) Book numbers 306.4 – 339.99
  • Wednesday 12th October (Ground floor, entrance area) Book numbers 000-306.39

If you’re looking for a book whilst they are being moved the best thing to do is to put a Hold on it. Please ask Library staff for help if you’ve not done this before, take a look at our web page or watch our video


Please note that your holds could take slightly longer to arrive than normal as we may have to check a number of trolleys / shelves on a number of floors to find the book! We will also be offering a collection service for urgent items. Please speak to staff at the Help and Information Point about this.

We’ll keep you up to date here with all the developments but you can also follow #librefurb at @BeckettLibrary or take a look at our FAQs on our website.

Promoting diversity by making eBooks more accessible

Earlier this month Sue Smith and Vicky Dobson, who work in the Library Disability Support Team, traveled to London to attend the presentation of the 2016 CILIP CDEG Diversity Award. They had been shortlisted for this award as part of a team from across the UK currently coordinating a national eBook Accessibility Audit. The team also includes colleagues from the University of Kent, the University of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan University and York St John University.

eBooks are digital versions of printed books and the Library has lots of them available. There are many advantages to eBooks. For example they are available both on and off-campus and most titles can be accessed by multiple users at the same time.

The eBook Accessibility Audit is looking at how accessible eBooks are for students with print impairments – difficulties accessing printed text, usually due to a visual or physical impairment or a Specific Learning Difficulty such as dyslexia.

eBooks have the potential to be very accessible. The flexibility offered by their electronic format means that, if they are compatible with assistive software, they can be adapted to the needs of individual students. Unfortunately, due to the design of some eBooks, this is not always the case and they are not all fully accessible. For example, in some cases the text can only be enlarged to a limited extent or it may be incompatible with screen reading software, making eBooks inaccessible to many disabled students. Accessibility also varies between different eBook platforms (interfaces used to access eBooks).

The ultimate goal of the eBook Accessibility Audit is for students with print impairments to face fewer barriers in accessing the information they need to succeed at university. The project aims to achieve this by:

  • Assessing the accessibility strengths and areas for improvement of different eBook platforms
  • Working with providers to achieve improvements in accessibility
  • Making information available on the accessibility features of different eBook platforms to help users optimise accessibility when reading them
  • Increasing awareness of the accessibility features of different eBook platforms amongst Library staff to help them support students using eBooks
  • Increasing awareness of the accessibility features of different eBook platforms amongst tutors to help them minimise barriers for disabled learners when designing resource lists

Although they didn’t win the Diversity Award, Sue and Vicky received a Highly Commended certificate on behalf of the eBook Accessibility Audit project team. They are pictured receiving the certificate, along with fellow project team member Alistair McNaught from JISC:


Whilst Sue, Vicky and other colleagues work with providers to achieve improved accessibility in the design and publishing of eBooks, there are lots of ways in which people using eBooks can customise them to make them easier to read. These include changing the text size and colour, changing the background colour, and having the text read aloud to you. Instructions on how to do this are available on the eBooks Accessibility page.

If you have any queries about using eBooks, please contact us.

Welcome back to the Library

We hope you all had fantastic summers and are ready for your next year of studies. We thought it might be useful to give you a quick update on what’s been happening in the Library and let you know about changes for 2016-17:

The first floor of the Sheila Silver Library is being refurbished and will be reopened fully by October. This also means that the books on the ground floor and in G28 and G29 will move up onto the first floor,  with the labs available for teaching once again.

DSC_0210 aAt Headingley Library there is new adjustable seating at all PC study carrels and group study tables as well as a clearly defined social seating area, which includes a newspaper stand and book displays.  Quick reference has been streamlined to ensure core texts are easily accessible and moved nearer to the student study space. The Student Meeting Rooms also have whiteboards to help you with your group work.

In response to your feedback we’ve extended our “overnight” hours so that only Leeds Beckett staff and students can use the Library from 19:00 (instead of 21:00). This means that you will have to have your Campus Card with you if you’re using the Library between 19:00 and 08:30.

Library PCs now have Windows 10 installed and the wi-fi across the campus has been upgraded. This may mean that you’ll need to reconnect but there will be plenty of staff on hand to help with this.

We’ve worked really hard alongside your lecturers to get as many reading lists as possible into MyBeckett so that material for your course is just a couple of clicks away. Select Resource Lists from the left hand side menu once you are in your module.

The Home tab on MyBeckett has been replaced with a Course tab containing all the SU tabinformation you need for your course and School, including key contacts and access to key Library resources and there is a new tab for information from the Students’ Union. Access to your timetables is no longer via Google Calendar; we’ve got a new system called CMISGo which lets you sync your timetable to your smartphone calendar.

Oh, and you can now pay by Contactless if you’re buying a binding kit or paying Library fines and charges.  And, as always, if you need any help just Contact Us!

Sheila Silver Library – reminder about refurbishment

Work is continuing on the redevelopment of the first floor of the Sheila Silver Library with construction due to be completed by mid-October 2016. The completed first floor will include space for group study, printing, book stock 001-599, three IT teaching labs, and four bookable Student Meeting Rooms. The ground floor of the Library will also see changes in October, when the book stock will be moved to the first floor and replaced with a group study area, and IT labs LSB G28 and G29 will be returned to teaching.

Books within the 001-599 range will be unavailable for brief periods in October whilst it moves from ground to first floor. You can put a hold on anything you need during this time and Library staff will be available to retrieve books for you.

We’re looking forward to seeing the newly refurbished floor and hope you are too.

Access Your Resource List in 3 Easy Steps

Resource Lists, also known as Reading Lists, are available via MyBeckett and provide easy access to the readings and resources recommended for your modules. They link you directly to items on the Library Catalogue, eBooks, journal articles, databases and other online material, making it easier for you to access the resources you need.

You can access your resource list in 3 easy steps:

  1. In the ‘Module’ tab in MyBeckett, scroll down and click the name of the relevant module under ‘My Modules’.
  2. Click on the ‘Resource List’ link located in the left column under Library Resources.
  3. Click on the green ‘View’ button.

That’s it!  Your Resource List for this module will now open.


We have a handy guide for students if you need any further help and of course you can always ask Library staff.