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Partnership agreement

1. Objective

This document outlines the terms under which services are currently delivered by the University Library.

2. Period of the agreement

This agreement is effective from 1 January until 31 December 2024. It will be reviewed and revised as necessary towards the end of this period.

3. Who we are and what we do 

The University Library

  • performs active strategic collection management of, and manages access to, physical and electronic information resources for the University’s students and staff , developing and responding to the evolving educational and research needs the University community
  • provides and manages a central study environment with a range of formal individual quiet and silent study areas as well as more informal and group study facilities incorporating much IT provision
  • houses IT facilities (managed in coordination with DTS) which are also used for teaching and training
  • provides general and subject-related information desks in the Library which offer on the spot advice and guidance, and referrals; the IT Service Desk
  • provides academic liaison librarians who are the principal communication channel with Schools over Library matters, e.g. the selection of materials to support the University’s teaching, learning and research. They also run general and subject-specific teaching sessions on information resources, teach information literacy and research skills in collaboration with academic staff in Schools, and design and deliver self-help guidance for students
  • provides Study Advisers giving advice and guidance to individuals and groups of students on optimising their study performance; Study Advisers also work with Schools to embed academic skills support in the curriculum, and create and deliver materials for students to access on a self-help basis. They will suggest referral to students with possible Specific Learning Difficulties. Online guides and resources are provided for mathematical and statistical skills development.
  • provides services to researchers through its Research Engagement team, which supports Open Access publishing, the use of research metrics, research data management, digital humanities, and strategic activity to develop Open Research culture and practice. The team also manages CentAUR, the University’s publications repository, the Research Data Archive, and the REDCap data collection platform.


  • Library staff engage in partnership working with a range of professional services to support service delivery including (but not limited to) Campus Services, Estates, DTS, Research Services, Doctoral & Researcher College, IMPS etc.
  • Library staff work closely with colleagues in University Museums and Special Collections to provide a cohesive approach to access and use of the University’s cultural heritage collections for teaching, learning and research
  • The Library supports the work of two longstanding externally-funded projects (Location Register of English Literary Manuscripts and Letters and WATCH Project). These work closely with the University’s English Department as well as with international partners
  • The University Librarian and other Library staff participate in many University Committees and Groups at various levels ensuring the Library’s engagement with, and involvement in, University policy and strategy formation.

4. How to access Library services

Information on access to services including Library opening hours, and contacts and support is available on the Library’s website.

5. Our commitment to service users

The University Library has a long tradition of commitment to a high level of user-focused service, and fully supports the endeavours of the University in teaching, learning and research.  The Library does this by aligning its activities with the University’s strategic principles of community, excellence, sustainability, and the engaged University. Detailed information can be found in our Library strategy.

The Library also operates a simple Code of Conduct outlining what is expected of Library users and what they can expect of Library staff.

6. What we need from our service users

In order to deliver an effective service and to fulfil our obligations under this agreement and our legal and statutory obligations, we expect our users to abide by the Rules for the Use of the University Library and to adhere to other related formal University Rules and Policies.

Library users are also required to comply with the terms and conditions for the use of Library e-resources,

The Code of Conduct mentioned in the previous section also applies.

7. Service limitations and dependencies

Factors that may affect or limit the provision of Library services include:

  • Staff absence or vacancies
  • Financial resources
  • Problems with IT systems and services
  • Changes to legislation, such as for intellectual property, copyright, or licensing agreements for access to electronic resources
  • Confidentiality and data protection

8. Managing our service

Sue Egleton, University Librarian, is the executive head of the University Library. Contact information for key Library services is available on the website.

9. Reporting and resolving problems with our service

Library users who experience problems with the service should contact either their academic liaison librarian or the manager of the relevant service area (see section 8 above) in the first instance. Information about reporting specific issues is provided on the Contact and Support webpage.

10. Providing feedback on our service

The University Library welcomes user feedback on, and suggestions about, our services and has both an online comments form and a hard copy version available at the Welcome Desk to enable this. Library staff are also present at various University or School/Departmental committees, subcommittees, working groups and other fora where they will receive, and can respond to, feedback.

11. How we monitor our performance

The University Library has a longstanding culture of monitoring and benchmarking services with the aim of making improvements whenever possible within the resources available.

Feedback from users as mentioned above helps with this and staff also maintain a high level of awareness of the HE library sector through professional activity and contacts. The Library monitors its performance through a number of methods, including user research (UX) and statistical analysis.

Library staff attend University-wide committees relating to facilities, services, student experience, teaching and research and senior staff meet regularly with representatives from Reading Students’ Union ensuring internal performance feedback is gained via many avenues.

Within the University the key KPIs for the Library’s assessment of performance are:

  • managing within budget;
  • NSS / PTES scores for the relevant questions;
  • expenditure on information resources (electronic and print);

(Data on the last KPI is gathered sector-wide through SCONUL and monitored annually, becoming available in January/February each year and we benchmark at this point.)


Updated January 2024