Helping the University of Salford support their students around the clock

Spread across three locations, with the main campus situated just outside Manchester city centre, the University of Salford is the fastest growing university in the North-West, with over 22,000 students.

The popular university boasts two libraries; the main library, Clifford Whitworth, which holds over 300,000 items and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the second library at Media City UK, holding around 18,000 items of library stock.

Although both libraries were already self-service for issues and returns, some of the existing equipment needed upgrading so that the library could continue to support their students studying a flexible curriculum and enable them to access the resources 24 hours a day.

Jenny McNally, Digital Librarian at the university, said, “We needed to be sure we were offering our students a robust, reliable service and that they had the ability to access the resources in the library at any time.”

Telepen have previously worked with the University of Salford on an access control solution, but this was the first time we would work together on a self-service solution and the project was won via a tender.

Jenny commented, “We went to see the self-service solution that Telepen had implemented at the University of Liverpool before awarding the contract, and were so impressed with their work, alongside their excellent reputation and experienced team, that we knew they would be the right partner for us.”

To accommodate the university’s requirements, our recommendation was to install kiosks supplied by our self-service partner, FE Technologies. The V5 self-service kiosks have been designed to provide a quick and simple self-service transaction, with no interaction from library staff. Four of the kiosks were installed at the main library, Clifford Whitworth, and one at the Media City UK campus.

One of the benefits of the V5 Kiosk is that it can be adapted to suit the client’s requirements, and at the University of Salford the library wanted to add the ability to take cash payments from students. We worked with our inhouse design teams to develop the cash module, which accepts both coin and note payments, as well as dispensing change, and installed the module to one kiosk at each site.

Security at 100% self-service libraries is of utmost importance, and so it was necessary to replace the existing end of life book security at both sites. We installed bi-directional gates to work with the kiosks and identify any items being removed from the library with security still in place. The gates are discreet but powerful, able to detect multiple items at a time, regardless of how many people are passing through.

Not only have the new self-service kiosks improved the security of the libraries, they have made a significant contribution to the overall appearance of the site. Designed to look striking in any library environment, the touch-screen kiosks have a contemporary feel and have brough a more modern look to the libraries.

Jenny comments, “As well as refreshing the look of the site, the kiosks have made it so much easier for the customer service staff. There is nothing for them to troubleshoot and the contactless issuing has also been very helpful. The kiosks are considerably easier for the students to use without support – as soon as they were installed students were immediately using them independently. Some have even commented on how much they like them, which is quite unusual!”

Commenting on the project, Barney Yabbacome, Account Manager for Telepen (Midlands and North UK, NI and Eire), said “With all projects there are challenges to be worked through, and in this case it was necessary for us to work closely with the University’s IT department to ensure there was minimal disruption to the library facility. Our team was on site and able to resolve any queries as they arose. We were delighted to be able to build on our good relationship with the University on this project following the successful tender process.”

Following the successful completion of the project, Jenny comments, ”The personal level of support we received from Telepen worked really well for us, the team understand how we run our service and were always very responsive and professional. They were good to work with and we would definitely choose them as a partner in the future.”

You can find out more about library self-service options, by visiting this page.

To talk to us about the solutions we would recommend for your specific requirements and library management system, please get in touch by calling +44 (0)1582 769991 or emailing sales@telepen.co.uk