Coventry University’s library team has won a prestigious award for a project to help international students adapt to an important part of campus life.
Staff picked up the Outstanding Library Team trophy at the THE’s Leadership and Management Awards, known as the THELMAs.
The award recognised the team’s work on its Pre-Arrival Library Support (PALS) website, which helps international students make the best use of the university’s Lanchester Library when they arrive in Coventry.
The interactive website was set up after staff found that many international students had little or no prior experience of using libraries and were often overwhelmed by the range of resources and services available.
The library team created an online service which includes: an overview of key services and how to access them, ‘help’ guides on specific topics, interactive learning tutorials, video testimonials from current international students and a glossary of terms to aid understanding.
International students can use the website before they arrive in Coventry and for the first few weeks of term and it has been accessed more than 25,000 times in 18 months.
The award judges said they were “impressed by the project’s effective way of reaching across the university and achieving the widest possible impact. The support activities provided by the library showed real understanding of issues facing international students and found their way to address them in a simple yet innovative way.”
The THELMAs, now in their ninth year, honour outstanding work across the professional services and administration of the UK’s higher education institutions.
The award for Coventry came on the same day the university received the top accolade of Gold in the first Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
Phil Brabban, Coventry University librarian and group director of learning resources, said:
“This is a massive success for us and recognition of the commitment demonstrated every day in supporting all of our customers.”