A view from the balcony of the Library, overlooking the desks

Fundraising Priority: The Library

Supporting the Kathleen Major Memorial Library

Serving the diverse needs of the College community, the Kathleen Major Memorial Library is at the heart of the College's academic life. Well used and well loved, the Library’s collections and the space itself are, however, now showing their age. Meanwhile, with more students now accommodated in College, the Library is experiencing greater demand for its services and study space. It is imperative that we undertake a programme of renovation and improvement to ensure that the Library meets the needs of current students in both  resources and space. At a minimum, we must ensure that each study space has access to power sockets, additional lighting, and study aids.

Our ultimate goal is to develop the space within the Library to support both the traditional, open plan, silent study areas and to address new demand for places for small group discussion and secluded corners for those who work best in this way. However, our immediate priority since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to ensure that the Library meets new health and safety guidelines for all users. We will return to the longer term planning once circumstances permit.

We therefore seek the support of alumnae and friends of the College to contribute to the Library Fund so that those who use it will continue to find it a safe, effective and inspiring place to in which to work.

Our immediate priorities – supporting students returning to College

There are many ways in which your support could improve student access to the Library:

  • We have worked to redesign the entrance/exit routes so we can open up the space for students to browse and collect their own books, while complying with health and safety guidance. These need to be fitted with University Card readers to track how many student are in the library and when, to help us manage our permitted numbers and contact tracing. To do this, full accessibility (with motorised door, extra RFID gate, contingency and CCTV changes) would involve significant extra costs. We are looking to streamline these changes to reduce the call on the overall budget, as and where possible.
  • There will be a radical rethink of desk layout to support longer-term social distancing, which has made the existing plan to upgrade furniture and increase the number of power access points all the more pressing. These changes may necessitate an external contractor to come in to remove and store large reading room desks.

Cost to fund the changes to meet health and safety guidelines: approx. £25,000

  • ·With books needing to be quarantined, we require more copies of popular items, so additional funds to purchase more books would be very welcome. Extra book trolleys are also needed to store the quarantined items.

Cost to fund a book trolley: £500

  • · The purchase of a tablet for scanning-to-PDF would help staff and students so they do not have to compete to use the single copier/printer. The Library continues to experience increased numbers of scanning requests for chapters unavailable online, as many students have been unable to return to Oxford.

Cost to fund a tablet: £250

  • Alumnae have experienced significant delays in responses to reference requests during the pandemic. Digitising student records would mean staff would not need to come on site to provide details for reference requests. Early student records could be opened up to alumnae and researchers. We now have DigiSafe, a space in which to securely store and preserve these digital files.

Cost to digitise student records: £5,000

  • · Covers for computer keyboards to make cleaning of student shared surfaces more effective.

Cost of keyboard covers and cleaning materials: £100

Donate now to help the Kathleen Major Memorial Library during COVID-19

Our longer term plans

A new archive platform would allow us to open up the sound archive and historic images collections for immediate access. This is ideal for primary source dissertations during lockdown, as well as for alumnae outreach. It lists everything else in our catalogue, which would mean researchers can identify material for us to scan and send to them, so they do not need to come onsite. The Library would then keep these as digital copies too, to have on file for future use, and if there are future lockdowns.

Cost of a new archive platform: £2,000 per annum

An endowed gift of approximately £60,000 would fund a named archive platform to be used to share our extensive collection of recordings, including those made during the College’s centenary as well as digitised images and copies of letters and diaries of alumnae from the 1920s onwards.

The upgrading of the library facilities and resources is a long-term effort to meet the constantly changing needs of staff and students. All gifts to the Library Fund enable us to make the improvements and ensure our students have the best possible support for their work.

Here are some examples of how gifts to the Library Fund could be used:

£10 could buy a new book to add to the collections

£20 could purchase a book stand

£30 would provide an 8-way extension lead with USB ports

£50 could buy a desk lamp

£200 could provide a height adjustable chair or a standing desk converter

£500 would fund a shared library desk with inbuilt power

£1000 could be used for a bay of fixed shelving

£3000 would purchase an archival standard display case

With your help, the Kathleen Major Memorial Library will continue to fulfil its important role at the heart of St Hilda’s.

Donate now to make a difference

A student studying in St Hilda's Library
A view into the Library through a porthole in the woodworkA student working at one of the Library's balcony desksA display of books in the Library