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The University of Cambridge has recently been awarded the Gold Award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, describe the TEF as aiming to “recognise and reward excellence in teaching and learning, and help inform prospective students’ choices for higher education.”

Alongside statistical data, a narrative was submitted by the University as part of the assessment process, which can be viewed here.

The role the University Library plays in supporting teaching and learning at the University is highlighted on page 7 of the document. Importance is placed on the extensive holdings of the University Library, with specific mention of Cambridge University Digital Library, focusing on increased access to the Library’s unique collections, which in turn supports teaching and research at the University. The high level of engagement the University Library has with the student population is emphasised, such as the annual competition which the Department of the History of Art runs in collaboration with the University Library, allowing Cambridge students “to curate an exhibition for the library’s display cases, based on material in the library’s collections.” The key role that department, faculty and college libraries play in the lives of students at Cambridge is also highlighted, specifically in terms of their “specialised collections […] for particular subjects” and the part they play in “providing important study spaces” for students.

The University Library’s Futurelib Programme receives praise for the user-centred research and design work it conducts, “in order to ensure that Cambridge’s library provision remains world-leading.” The narrative includes specific mention of the Spacefinder service, a website designed by Futurelib as a result of research conducted with students, which allows people to find their ideal study space(s) based on the features and facilities that best support their work. Spacefinder is described as “a bit hit with students” and a Student Union representative is quoted praising the service, referring to Spacefinder as being “so up-to-date and relevant to student life!”

This recognition of the different ways in which Cambridge libraries continue to play a vital role in teaching and learning at the University is a visible and deserved reflection of the dedication of staff across the Cambridge library network.