Photo - Jani Helle

Wolfson medical library opening hours to be cut by 64%

[box] Oliver Milne [/box]

Glasgow University’s Students Representative Council (GUSRC) have expressed anger at a decision by the University to reduce the opening hours of the Wolfson Medical School Library by 64% to 60 hours per week without engaging in a consultation with the students or staff affected.

The Wolfson Medical School Library – which is currently open 168 hours a week – will move to reduced opening hours of 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. GUSRC argue that this decision will likely impact on many students who find it difficult to access the facilities during more traditional working hours as a result of the busy schedule medics experience as the result of long periods of time on placement.

GUSRC issued a statement strongly condemning the decision. President James Harrison, said:

‘Students in the medical school already have a very large workload, and with the large increase in fees for RUK students about to take place, a 64% cut to their access of study space is simply unacceptable. The student experience at the university will be damaged if these proposals go ahead. We call on the university to rethink its plans and stop this drastic reduction in opening hours’.

Edinburgh University’s Library – which contains their medical collections – is open for student access 24 hours a day. However medical libraries at Dundee University and Aberdeen University are open for fewer hours a week; 95 and 91 respectively.

Jake Liu, a second year medical student, expressed his concerns to the Glasgow Guardian saying:

“I’ve used the Library until the early hours of the morning on a number of occasions. Having the option of going to a quiet focussed place where I would have access to all the resources I need has been really important. I think it will have an a negative effect as the Wolfson Library has always been quite busy after 8pm, especially at exam time. I can’t see this decision being a good thing”

A spokesperson for the University told the Guardian that the main university library “contains all the books found in the School Library” and that the decision reflected a change in the amount of hours students had access to the main library, which had increased substantially since the Wolfson’s opening. They went on to say:

The decision to change the opening hours of the Medical School Library was not taken lightly. A number of factors contributed to the process, including complaints from students about the behavior of other students during periods of unsupervised access.

The solution that has now been proposed should enhance the quality of service provided to all Medical School students. While the School library will no longer offer unsupervised access overnight, the School intends to extend the supervised hours from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday. These opening times will also apply to the clinical skills and teaching rooms for small groups of students. This represents an additional investment by the School and ensures that, when the library is open, it provides a better environment for students.

A further meeting to discuss the plans for the School library is being held on 24 August and the Medical School would be happy for a representative of the SRC to attend that meeting.”

Glasgow University’s medical school currently holds a student satisfaction rating of 64%, according to figures in the 2011 National Student Survey, which puts it at the lowest in Scotland. In fact,it puts Glasgow far behind Edinburgh University’s School Of Medicine where students report a 93% satisfaction rate, not to mention the departments at Dundee, Aberdeen and St Andrews which all have student satisfaction rates in the 90-93% range.

GUSRC have started a petition to stop the changes in the opening hours, which is available to view here.


Update, 14 August 2012: After the campaign launched by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), the decision to cut Wolfson Medical School library opening hours has been reversed. Full comment from the SRC can be found here.


Share this story

Follow us online

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I’m liking the percentages but more data please, can we get usage figures from the uni?


Yeah, I think we need to know how many people use the service at night before jumping to a protest petition. It would be better for the SRC to campaign for 24 hour main library access, which is the real problem of late night library access at this university.

Owen Sheerins

How would the main library cope with an extra 1000 odd medics? Not well I would guess…

Iain Frater

I would agree here. Centralised library provision would surely be better for all? The library is one area that the uni consistantly fails to spend a decent amount of money, should we not instead lobby for an increase in overall main library space?

Mehran Nasralla

Although I do not have figures on numbers, the night services is very well utilised throughout the year. As a medical student entering my final year I will tell you that we depend on services after 8pm. During exam time the place is so important to us. It is a far more efficient environment for our needs. Books are for references only, meaning we can always access resources without restriction.

On the other hand, the main library is not well equipped to deal with medics. The range and copies of books are limited, with many out on loan.The books on level 5 are a joke with some dating from the 50s and 60s. On the occasion I have worked in the main library, the competition for space with other students is appalling (especially as half are on facebook). Add 1000 medics (who spend ALOT of time in the library) and you’ve have got yourself a very busy main library.

The Wolfson is crowded enough during normal hours as it is. Squeezing the hours and closing it at the weekends is a disaster. Perhaps students would be receptive to later hours and weekend access as a compromise.

Furthermore, many of us have invested a great deal of time and money into our education (some students paying in excess of 20K/year) and it seems we are not getting the basic services we require. What is the point in having resources and not utilising them?

If Glasgow is to realistically compete with other institutions it should stop adopting such regressive measures.


The editors might like to consider an alternative story. A little birdie told me that there have been grave concerns about the amount of resources that have gone missing from this library after hours. Given the propensity of books to vanish in this way, no wonder staff perceive a need to keep watch over them. Just sayin’

Oliver Milne

Please do contact us at the regular address [email protected]