The University of Bath Library is thrilled to announce the winner of its inaugural Library Spark competition. Fourth year Biochemistry student Emily Togut Cole has secured the prestigious £1,000 first prize for her idea for an outdoor library study space called Library Lawn.

The competition, which aimed to foster new and creative Library services, attracted a diverse range of proposals from talented students. Six entries were shortlisted from a total of 60 and these students were asked to give a five minute presentation about their idea in the grand final held on the 20th March.

The judging panel, consisting of Jimena Alamo (SU President), Kate Robinson (University Librarian), Matthew Wickens (Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Civil Engineering), and Cassie Wilson (Pro-Vice Chancellor, Student Experience) had the difficult task of selecting just one winner.

The presentations included:

  1. Outdoor Library Study Space by Emily Togut Cole
  2. Bookable Sound-Proofed Rooms for Online Interviews by Nick Bircher, Mizuki Asai, and Aman Taher
  3. Library Occupancy Tracking App by Luke Gruppo
  4. Research Sharing Space for Departments by Will Lewis
  5. Cross-Faculty MakerSpace by Abi Hefferan and Horatio Hamkins
  6. Green Walls of Plants by Edmund Dadge

After much deliberation, Emily’s idea for an outside study space on the green space behind the Library emerged as the winner. In her presentation she outlined her vision of a bookable shaded space with access to power points and a water station. She believed that the option to study outdoors would boost students’ wellbeing, provide an alternative to traditional study spaces and offer opportunities for group work.

Emily, upon receiving the news, stated, “Participating in the Library Spark competition was a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to explore my creative side while helping to influence the future of the library. All of the presentations given were excellent and the staff were very supportive.”

Pro-Vice Chancellor, Cassie Wilson said: “The Library Spark competition was a highlight of my week! It was a real pleasure to be on the judging panel of such a high quality competition. All the students presented excellent ideas and it was a huge challenge to pick just one winner.”

Chair of judges, Kate Robinson, expressed her enthusiasm: “We were thrilled by the range and quality of ideas our students presented and their clear appreciation of the Library. While each judge had their favourites and it was a difficult decision, Emily’s proposal stood out as an idea combining innovative use of underutilised space to extend study space in a natural setting - combining study and wellbeing. We eagerly anticipate exploring the feasibility of implementing her idea”

Jimena Alamo, SU President said “"I was very happy to participate as a judge in the first Library Spark competition. The level of the participants' proposals made it a very hard decision indeed. They all came very prepared and with ideas that would clearly have a great impact on our student community. We are indeed very lucky to have the students that we do, they never fail to amaze me!"

In addition to the £1000 prize awarded to Emily, all shortlisted ideas received £100.

The University of Bath Library extends its gratitude to all participants, the judging panel, the Student Experience Development Fund and acknowledges the University of York for sharing insights from their own competition, ‘Libinspo.’