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Ever since joining University Centre Shrewsbury in September 2018, I’ve been a big fan of the lovely library that we have here. Although reasonably small, like UCS in general, it fits all that you could need into a cosy and welcoming space.

The second you walk in, you’re greeted by a bright, cheerful room, full of comfy chairs, well stocked shelves of books, large windows and a choice of work areas. If you need silence to focus on your latest assignment, you can work in the quiet area, where there are individual tables, or you could book one of the three pods for even more privacy. The pods are also great for small group work, as you can talk, play videos or rehearse presentations in there without disturbing anyone. 

There are also several tables in the centre of the library, some set aside specifically for group work, so that you can talk to other students at a considerate volume. All this adds to the welcoming and sociable atmosphere which makes our library a wonderful place to be.

A bit further back, you’ll find the tables of PCs, where you can work away and send your assignments to print at the photocopier. Any technical  difficulties can usually be solved by the lovely librarians who have unjammed the photocopier for me, explained how to scan documents and send them directly to my University email, and generally offered a much needed supportive smile when essay deadlines are looming - all without breaking a sweat! 

Best not forget the books! Although there doesn’t seem to be that many shelves at first glance, they are perfectly stocked by the knowledgeable librarians, in close consultation with your tutors. I have always found all that I need there, as well as some DVDs and books to enjoy in your own time. If you want to order anything from any of the larger libraries on the Chester Campuses, you can put in a request via the University app or at the library desk, and they will be delivered on a regular basis. If you have a deadline looming, check the next delivery date with the librarians to ensure you receive your items on time, or ask about the large selection of e-books and journal articles. You can also talk to the library staff about an inter-library loan of books from the British Library or another university, for which there may be a small fee of around £2.

The library staff can help with a multitude of things, such as using Turnitin, Box of Broadcasts, referencing and how to develop an effective searching strategy. At Easter and Christmas, they have also given away chocolates and had a free lucky dip full of little stationery gifts!

As the chocolates and lucky dips would suggest, the library is not just for work. There is also a strong emphasis on looking after your mental and emotional health in that there are several areas containing activities to give you the opportunity to relax and refresh. Whether you want to curl up on a comfy sofa to read a book, do some of the colouring with the pens and colouring sheets provided, or challenge yourself to complete as much of the communal jigsaw as you can in twenty minutes, there is always something at hand to give you a much needed break. There are board games on the tables by the sofas and students are encouraged to bring their friends with them to enjoy some social time together.

If your pen runs out just as you’re making some ground-breaking notes, or you’ve been so inspired that you’ve filled up your memory stick, there is a selection of stationery items on sale at very reasonable prices – just ask at the help desk! There is also a bank of 12 laptops that you can check out to use on the campus, rather than carry your own around.

As well as the library, which is generally open during weekdays 9-5.30pm, there is the 24 hour study area. This has lots of PCs to use, as well as a photocopier. There is also a kitchen area with a microwave and vending machines which sell snacks, as well as hot and cold drinks. There are some lockers here where you can lock some of your belongings away to save you carrying them round all day.

Studying in your halls or at home can be isolating or, at the other extreme, a difficult place to get a bit of peace! Either way, coming into the library or 24 hour study area gives you some company, a change of scenery and access to facilities all at once. So next time you’re feeling that you don’t know where to start on that assignment or your own four walls are driving you mad, pop into the library and enjoy a combination of relaxation, company and the satisfaction of having done some focused and undisturbed work!

For those applying to University this year, you are more than welcome to come and see our facilities for yourself. Book a place on one of our Campus Tours today!

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