Library Services make shortlist at Oscars of higher education

Staffordshire University’s Library and Learning Services team has been shortlisted for an award at the higher education equivalent of the Oscars.

The Beacon app robot mascot holding a mobile phone against a pink background

Beacon is the first port of all for library and front-line enquiries.

“Once again, the shortlists reflect universities doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times, during the 2020-21 academic year, when the pandemic continued to force higher education and all who work in it to respond to an unprecedented challenge."

John Gill, THE editor

The ‘Outstanding Library Team’ is one of 20 categories at the THE Awards which is taking place on 17 November in central London.

The University entry focuses on the full library service redesign completed in March 2021 during which ‘digital on demand’ was adopted as a principal to improve the way library and customer service is organised and delivered. This involved positioning the University’s digital assistant app Beacon as the first port of call for combined library and front-line customer enquiries.

Head of Library and Learning Services Paul Mahoney said: “Until 2021, the customer support culture in the library and the central university centred around ‘information gatekeepers’ being physically available at set times at set locations on campus.

“By putting this personalised assistance service app in the hands of students for access when and where they want, it had helped flip the culture of reliance on information imparted by staff.”

“The resulting efficiencies have allowed for the consolidation of separate customer service teams into a single streamlined technologically-enabled team that now operates in a mobile manner across all campuses. I am delighted for the team that we have made the shortlist at such a prestigious event.”

THE editor John Gill said: “Once again, the shortlists reflect universities doing extraordinary things in extraordinary times, during the 2020-21 academic year, when the pandemic continued to force higher education and all who work in it to respond to an unprecedented challenge.

“That universities did so with alacrity and creativity is clear from the truly exceptional stories told in the awards submissions, and we had over 550 in all – among the highest number ever.

“This is the 18th year that the THE Awards will celebrate the best that UK higher education has to offer, across 20 categories covering all aspects of university activity.”

 

 

 

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