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Wuhan University Library – where there is always a place for you
Author:Hu Yue  Date:2018-05-07  Clicks:

The library is a public and academic facility, especially in university—its main functions include providing students and faculty with support in research and resource linkage. For students’ self-study on campus, it offers a quiet study space that meets the needs of both individual and group discussion. Whereas the latter function rarely runs smoothly, as the limited library space could hardly suffice the high density and large student population in domestic universities. And if the final exam period is coming, the quest for a free seat will become even more arduous.

There was a special CCTV program focused on the annual meetings of NPC and CPPCC. It has pinpointed the clever strategies some students use to abuse the study-room resources: empty seats are always preoccupied by students’ backpacks, piles of books, water bottles or notes saying “This seat is taken”. However, this particular issue which has bothered many universities seems to be tackled by Wuhan University Library. In later interaction section, it played a video clip of one Wuhan University student presenting the newly-implemented Library Room Reservation System, in which he made a brief introduction of the system and demonstrated the reservation procedures via WeChat Official Account for the audience. Study rooms are therefore used to their maximum potential and in a more efficient manner. Whenever a student enters the university library, s/he will always find a seat through the multi-channel reservation system online thanks to seat users’ orderly mobility.


But has the situation always been like this? The answer is no. Before Wuhan University Library adapted the Library Room Reservation System, its management of library seats had gone through several stages. The library tried methods such as paper slips, occupied seats clearance and extension of library opening time to better the condition. And for some time, a similar on-site reservation system was also used. Despite the fact that machines broke down frequently, the most distinctive difference appears to be that now students can book seats with greater flexibility. After months of pilot running in the Engineering Library, Information Science Library and Medical Library, the rollout of the all-around Library Room Reservation System finally set a new beginning for Wuhan University Library in December 2017.

Reservations can be made on three platforms the “Wuhan University Library” WeChat Official Account, “Study Helper” application and Wuhan University Library Website. Student ID and password are required to sign in. Seats are available for booking from 01:00 to 21:30 and from 22:15 to 23:30, while the next day’s reservation can be made in advance. Students can choose either fast reservation or optional seat mode. Swiping student cards at the gate is considered as check-in/out and every temporary leave should be within 30 minutes except for lunch (11:00-13:00) and dinner time (17:00-19:00) when students can have two hours to dine, and the seat will be released if one is late for over half an hour. If one wants to leave early, s/he is supposed to release the seat before leaving. Any violation of the rules above will be recorded and 3 strikes will result in an entrance ban for a week.


Most students who shared their thoughts about the new system find it palatable. “The reservation system really brought convenience to us students,” answered Luo, one of those who are fairly satisfied with it, “In the past, I had to rush to the library really early just to occupy a seat, but now a sound sleep and a study place will no longer contradict each other. And if you go with your friend, you can even reserve adjacent seats.” Although the online system has cured most people’s headache, its successful operation still requires students’ cooperation. Ji, a student who goes to the library every day, said that the new system has made the seat-seeking process much easier and no matter when she comes, there is always a seat for her. However, sometimes people do not sit exactly where they should sit, or do not follow the time of their reservation. Students’ self-discipline also plays a significant role in library order.

In a survey done by Peking University Library in 2013, among the 20 universities whose seat management systems were mostly discussed, only 8 of them had been equipped with online reservation. And four years later, Wuhan University Library took a step closer to become a mobile and leading library like them. “Readers first, service-oriented” is the forever principle of Wuhan University Library, its recent reforms such as reservation system and expansion of online database number fully reflect its determination to improve utilization and reduce the waste of library resources.

(Photo from the website of Wuhan University Library)

(Edited by Xu Yumeng, Zheng Yayun, Edmund Wai Man Lai, Liu Jiachen and Liu Xiaoli)


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