Hartley Library seating ‘Red Card Scheme’ Proposed


Vice President Academic Affairs Sasha Watson has announced a new scheme to prevent students holding library spaces while away from their seat.

The idea, entitled the ‘Red Card Scheme’, will be trialled on level 4 of the Hartley library, and if a success the scheme could become permanent throughout the building.

On his SUSU blog, Sasha explains:

“If the staff believe a space has been left vacant for at least 30 minutes, they will place a red card on the seat and a notice from the library, signalling to anyone looking for a seat that they can freely take up the space, and push the belongings on the table to the back of the desk.”

The aim of the scheme is that there will be ‘greater recycling’ of seats, enabling more students to find a seat in the Library, while preventing those lucky enough to gain a seat from keeping it despite their absence from the space. So, the hope is that more seats will be in use at any one time.

However, it is still not yet clear how this scheme will be policed, as the staff patrols will, judging by previous behaviour, be a relatively new phenomenon. People will inevitably be unhappy with their seats being taken, so the trial will clearly have to make sure any complications with the idea are settled before any wider scale implementation can be considered.

This follows a trial of cold food and drinks being permitted on levels 1,2,3 of the Hartley library over the last year which has now become permanent.

Look out for signs on level 4 of the Hartley explaining how the system will work.

You can see VP Academic Affairs Sasha Watson’s full blog entry here:



Discussion7 Comments

  1. avatar

    Red cards seem a much too civilised form of treatment for these people. I’d be much keener on a system of eloquently abusive stickers that would be impossible to remove once stuck all over their possessions. Messages could include statements like: “I have no friends because I smell” or “I am a detestable human being who has no consideration for the welfare of my peers”, although that second one might be a little difficult to fit on.

  2. avatar

    For my entire 4 years at Southampton University, every SUSU President has promised to have the library open 24 hours during exam period. Of course, this has never even been trialled, let alone happened. Is there any answer to this? It’s no wonder people want to keep hold of their seat, when they have had to get their for when the library opens, or know that they only have until 2am to do work.

      • avatar

        That still doesn’t answer why they have promised something (often making it their number 1 pledge) and then make no effort to carry it through. Also, I would say that the “low amount of people working past 2am” originates from low facilities being open at that time- as I mentioned before, there has been no 24 hour trial period during these stressful exam weeks, so it is impossible to speculate.

        • avatar

          Billy hinted at some sort of look at timing issues in exams, but not explicitly 24-hour opening times, as did Rob, but myself and Sam never promised it, and I even was against it, because it would be very costly, and generally – theres not a lot of people in the library at 2am… that said – I dont think theres any harm in asking for a report as to what it would actually cost…

  3. avatar

    All it requires is that those people who have a genuine reason to leave for any amount of time leave a note that explains why they have gone and how long they expect to be gone.

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