First 24 hour university library in Scotland

Sunday 18 May 2003

The University of St Andrews is the first in Scotland to offer 24 hour library opening during crucial exam times. The move, a direct display of meeting student needs, began on a trial basis this weekend (Sunday 18th May, 2003).

The experimental opening hours came after calls from students to grant them 24 hour access – the ‘holy grail’ of student library needs. Following consultation with students, the University decided to extend to all-night opening in the run up to – and for the duration of – summer exams.

No other University library in Scotland has a 24 hour library, and only three in England (Bath, Hertfordshire and Sheffield Hallam) offer this provision in their main libraries and some of Oxford and Cambridge’s college libraries have 24 hour access. For several years it has been normal practice for the University’s Main Library to extend its opening hours in the run up to and during the exam period. The latest opening time until now was 11.30pm.

But following the publication of a Library Review undertaken by the student body in February this year, University officials consulted students with a view to meeting their needs. The review, consisting entirely of the recommendations of the student body, reported the vision and aspiration of students for their library. The final report contained a number of constructive proposals, which included ‘the holy grail’ of student library needs – 24 hour access.

The Library Review was the first ever student-led survey of a university library in St Andrews, and presented ‘a coherent vision of a new library concept that embraces technology and truly responds to student needs’. The resulting report is the closest possible statement to a collective view of the St Andrews student body.

The University worked closely with student representatives and listened to their needs.

Dr Louis Lee, Director of Library & Information Services, said: ” A successful, effective library & Information services depend critically on working closely and collaboratively with the student body. The pilot 24 hour opening is an example of our drive to that service ethos.”

Following this consultation, two experimental developments were put in place for this month. The first of these pilots was to extend opening hours until midnight on the last three Sundays of Semester (beginning 5th May).

The second pilot is the experimental 24-hour opening of the Main Library during the last two weeks of Semester. The library opened at 9am yesterday (Sunday) and will remain open continuously until Friday 30th May, with the single exception of the night of Saturday 24th May.

It is hoped that these two experiments will be of benefit to all students preparing for exams as well as to other users.

Rory O’Hare, President of the Student’s Association, said: “24- hour library access has been the holy grail for students for as long as I can remember and reflects the changing study patterns of the modern students lifestyle. It is a very welcome move by the University.”


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email [email protected] Ref: library 24 hr pr 190503 View the latest University news at

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