By Rhydian Morris
Students studying at Swansea Singleton library during this exam season have been feeling the heat in more ways than just exam preparation. The spate of recent warm weather in Swansea has led to many students revising in extreme temperatures at Singleton library. The heat and and uncomfortable state of the environment has led many students to complain on social media, and for the library to receive a new name dubbed as “the furnace” by many disgruntled students.
The issue of heat in the library has been a recurring issue on singleton campus for years and while staff have attempted to mitigate the effect on students, there has been very little progress on the problem being addressed at his core. Swansea University library has no air conditioning system or large cooling system, so while the building is a controlled environment, it is still difficult to address large scale problems of the external environment affecting temperature in the library.
The temperature has led to some students avoiding the library entirely during this period with one student saying “I’m revising at home because I can’t work in that heat, Level 2 East where I work most of the year is always warmer than the rest of the library but I went there about two weeks ago and haven’t been back since because it’s too warm.” One student was even less kind on the situation in the library stating““It seems that the university does not care enough about the welfare of its students, many of whom spend a great deal of time in that building, enough to have better temperature control during the summer months when it becomes so hot and stuffy. ‘Expensive’ and ‘green energy targets’ are not excuses when an institution earns enough to allow the top management enough for such high wages, and the heating is left on in other parts of the university. Why not put our extortionate tuition fees to good use and actually give us something we want rather than just making one area a bit prettier or building a whole new campus
Swansea University Student’s Union have attempted relay the call for temperature control in the library by students to the university. The university’s response, however, has been a total rejection of the case, with reports of the Senior management team’s refusal being based on the cost and difficulty of installation of any air cooling system and the effect it would have on the university’s green impact assessment.
The library has responded to student concerns in a very immediate fashion with steps being taken to reduce the temperature in some of the warmest areas of the library. From the 5th May the library reported the escalating temperature to estates which led to significant improvements in temperature in level one and level 2 east. Fans were distributed to the pc rooms and thermometers have been installed throughout the library, to allow staff to monitor the temperature.
The library had this to say “The PC rooms are controlled environments which depend on doors remaining closed so staff monitor the rooms closely to make sure doors are not propped open, since this can make the situation worse. We have also put up signs to make students aware of this. We are also encouraging those who are uncomfortable to ask at the desk so that we can help to locate a cooler space in the library. I have ordered thermometers and they will be placed around the building so that we can monitor temperatures and call in Estates to investigate very promptly if they do start to rise. At the Bay Library we are recording temperatures and will be reporting to Estates. As this is a brand new building and still in its first year of operation, we are still establishing what are appropriate norms for different parts of the building. Again, we are encouraging students to ask staff for assistance in finding a comfortable space which will suit their needs. I have made Estates aware of the complaints I have received from library users. We are now considering a programme of refurbishments to be carried out over the next few years in Singleton Park Library and we are working closely with Estates and Students’ Union to identify improvements we can make to the building to create a more welcoming and comfortable environment for students.”
For the majority of the year the temperature in the library is not a significant issue. However, consistently for years the library has been unfit for purpose as a study space during one of the busiest times of year, that being the summer exam period. We at the Waterfront hope student concerns will be addressed for the next academic year and that the situation eventually ceases being repeated.