Late night essay crises have been more unpleasant than usual for Lincoln students this term due to a broken heating system in their college library.
The situation has caused confusion amongst college staff, with the Domestic Bursary denying all knowledge of the issue when contacted by The Oxford Student. According to library staff, however, the Domestic Bursar had recently visited the building and was well aware of the problem.
From before the start of this academic year, there has been no heating in the library, with students encouraged by library staff to “bring a jumper/blanket/coat” to compensate. The problem has yet to be rectified.
Almost a month ago, the college library stated in a post on its Facebook page that they were “awaiting contractors to do vital work on it”.
Library staff have furthermore claimed that they have repeatedly asked college authorities for a date by which the heating repairs would be finished. The librarian said that she had visited the domestic bursary on Tuesday of 5th week to obtain details about when the problem would be fixed. She received no firm answer.
When asked whether the college was being unhelpful in responding to the issue, the college librarian stated: “College is very concerned. [There is] concern at the highest level about this […] no one should be thinking that college is ignoring the problem or dragging their heels.”
The JCR has also raised the issue with college to little avail. According to the JCR President, Rachel Jeal, repairs are said to be delayed because of the “unique nature of the building” and the “specialist repairs that have to be organised”.
In the meantime, there has been a reduction in the number of students using the library as a whole, and students who have no desire to face the cold have largely vacated the upper floor. The heating on the smaller, lower floor is still working.
There has been concern over the implications for new students at the Turl Street college. Mary Clapp, a second year English student, said: “As Lincoln is a small college, […] the library serves as one of the few places in which all the years can come together”. Clapp, who is a Peer Supporter in college, is concerned that first years are working alone in their rooms instead of the library, struggling through their work without being able to take comfort in recognising that “their peers are all having to go through the same thing”.
However, Jeal said this wasn’t a problem: “All the Freshers live together, either in college or in college accommodation across the road… so they are still in a sociable environment”. There are also inter-year spaces that can be used as an alternative to the library: “We have really encouraged them to use the JCR so they do have a social space”.
As winter approaches, it is still unclear as to how long it will be before the college library becomes hospitable again.