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Cambridge University Library


Between December 2016 and May 2017 the Futurelib Programme conducted an in-depth user research study looking into current experiences at the University of Cambridge, specifically related to accessing printed, physical library content. The project started with an initial scoping phase: interviews, workshops with students and short email questionnaires circulated to Cambridge academics provided a qualitative, attitudinal dataset which informed the following stages of the project, as well as the resulting findings and suggestions for service design. Experiences and opinions were varied, but the key realisation at this point was the high level of importance that members of the University at all levels placed on their ability to access printed books and journals.

This work had given us a lot of data and provided us with some real insights, but it was necessary that this was supplemented with behavioural evidence. This was achieved primarily by piloting services in order to measure their use and value. One service trialled meant that users of three Cambridge libraries could order books from the main University Library (UL) for collection at the issue point of their ‘home’ library. Another pilot service which provided invaluable data for the project was a book drop box on the Sidgwick Site, allowing members of many libraries on the site to return books to one central point.

Although we all understand that the future of libraries in the higher education sector is changing rapidly, this project provided us with a valuable opportunity to focus on an aspect of our services which is still hugely important to a large proportion of our users, namely, how they get hold of their books!

Download the full Intraloan project report

Download the executive summary

[Accessible formats of Futurelib reports and documents are available on request: email]

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