The library services of the Tampere Universities community have been mostly closed for over a year during this pandemic period. Right now, the libraries operate on a pick-up service point principle, and due to this, the library facilities cannot be accessed by students to study, and students cannot access all library materials.
We students in Tamko and TREY think that library services are of most importance to students. The studies and thesis work of many students require materials and pieces that are not available in electronic versions, and which cannot be loaned from the library for a variety of reasons. Pick-up service points with limited opening hours do not serve all students. Students are a diverse group and the needs of, for example, students with families or working students, need to be considered in services.
The libraries play an important role in our Universities community regarding support in studies and access to information, as well as by providing facilities for studying. According to the user survey of libraries of Universities of Applied Sciences conducted by Kreod in 2020, libraries have an important role in students’ studies: “If my university did not have a library, I probably would not apply to that particular university. The library is vital regarding studies and access to information.” – one comment from the survey.
According to the COVID-19 survey conducted by the Student Union of Tampere University during spring 2021, students have a great need for the services and facilities of libraries. The importance of library services and facilities to the progress of studies and the quality of studying is highlighted in the survey’s answers. Library services were the most brought up topic in the open answers regarding the University’s policies. “I don’t understand why students couldn’t spend time in the library with a limited crowd, safety distances and masks. A small chance like this would have a great impact in students’ motivations.” – one comment from the survey.
”Not all students have the chance to study at home or have the time to visit the pick-up service points due to the limited opening hours. The library can be the only quiet place for many to study. We need to guarantee that all students of our Universities community have an equal opportunity to study!”, comments the Chair of the Student Union of Tampere University Iiris Taubert.
The pandemic group of Tampere Universities met on 20 May and decided that library services would be opened as late as 9 August. Until then, the pick-up service points would service students and staff, excluding vacation weeks 28 and 29. We students demand that access to libraries should be granted to students and staff immediately after the entrance examinations have ended. In many other universities, the access to libraries has been made possible to students and staff with access cards. In addition, the COVID-19 situation has been getting significantly better at Pirkanmaa and, for example, the facilities of the City of Tampere libraries have been opened.
“- If we have a chance to have a positive impact on the everyday life of students during the pandemic, we should act accordingly.”, points out the Chair of the Board of Students’ Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences Emmi Lainpelto.
The use of libraries during the summer is scarce as it is, so no overcrowding would happen in the library facilities. Students who really need access to library facilities and materials and cannot access them otherwise should be a priority. Of course, the effective safety regulations would apply to the use of libraries as it does other university facilities that students use to study right now.