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Summer changes at the Newsam Library

utnvbsc1 October 2016

It’s been a hectic summer for us here in the UCL Institute of Education library. We have been transformed with lots of new improvements and services introduced. We start the new academic year with some real post-merger achievements – notably the use of one card rather than two to access the library and one computing account for students rather than two. You can imagine jusy how much easier that is making our lives. Here are some of the other highlights:

Our newly configured Welcome Point has modernised our front-of-house to make a much better impact on viewing the library from the IOE’s main foyer. Note the backlit UCL branding sign on the front panel of the desk as well as the easy identification of the library by its full name “Newsam Library and Archives” for the first time since I’ve been working here.


Removal of the issue desk has really opened up the entrance space and allowed us to reconfigure our self service machines in a cluster. The bespoke white book boxes were provided as part of the desk refurbishment project. Our staff have done fantastically well to adapt to the new service model and it all seems to be working very well.


We also introduced self-service reservations based upon the model in use at other UCL library sites.


As well as only having one computing account to contend with, we have been able to ditch our old troublesome photocopiers which were end of life and have introduced multi-function devices (MFDs). The students seem to have taken to these like a duck to water.


Yet another major project over the summer was the migration from SirsiDynix Symphony to the Aleph system. This also allowed us to embed our catalogue and resources within Explore and means that we can now search across all the UCL libraries – a great one stop shop for our students. Below is a picture of some of the Explore machines which replaced our ageing and sluggish Mac OPACs.


Last but not least, we are almost there with laptop loans. The hardware is installed and in a week or two we should be ready to go. It is already drawing comments from people who are wondering what it is. When you explain, you can see how impressed users are.



I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in these projects across UCL Library service. If you are passing, do drop in and see the changes for yourself.

Laptop loans in the Main Library

James C Henderson18 March 2015

Monday 16th of March saw the launch of laptop loans services in the Main Library.  This incentive amounts to a tacit expansion of library study spaces, by allowing students to roam free with borrowed technology.  We can expect the British Museum, British Library and the other public locations in the Bloomsbury area – perhaps even a few coffee shops – to welcome those with essays to write and research. 

24 gleaming machines are housed in an imposing steel cabinet with just enough of 1970s Doctor Who about it (there are breathing holes) to be charming.  We anticipate the venture will be a great success, as it provides not just a computer for those that might not have one but also the possibility of escape from the building noise currently worrying the main library.

 Curfew for the laptops is 10.00pm.  They must be returned to the drawer from which they were taken and connected to a power supply for the return to be completed.  The same card is needed for issue and return, which should ensure that they are treated with care rather than being handed round like a bag of jelly beans.  As the machines are programmed to reset themselves after every use, to clear files and so forth, students will be advised to save work to memory sticks or make use of cloud services.

 Any members of library services who would like a demonstration should feel free to talk to the assistants at MID, who will be glad to give them a run through. 

Further details are available here: