• Sun. Sep 24th, 2023

All hot water dispensers, a lift and almost a dozen toilets – almost everything is broken in the Main Library

A hot water tap in the University of Edinburgh's main library, with a note telling would-be users that it is out of order.

It’s no secret that almost everything is broken in the Main Library.

For months, black and yellow caution tape has appeared in increasing quantities across the building, closing off toilets, water fountains and more from student use.

This week, staff at The Student catalogued the extent of the Main Library’s descent into disrepair, and the results are striking.

Almost a dozen toilets are closed, and many of the building’s bathroom taps, water filling stations, and boiling water taps are out of service.

One lift and an entrance gate to the building have been shut for repair, worsening already teeth-gnashing crowding at peak times.

The building’s toilets, in particular, are in a dire state, with several having no functioning toilets.

Additionally, dripping or outright broken hot and cold water taps are not uncommon.

In the entryway for a second-floor women’s toilet, there were signs of water damage on the ceiling, with orange staining present around several ceiling tiles.

Some bathrooms were closed in their entirety, with a sign directing library visitors to the nearest open toilets.

One accessible toilet was closed, while others observed by The Student had emergency pull cords that did not fully reach the ground.

For tea drinkers and meal reheaters occupying the Main Library, the closure of both of the building’s hot water dispensers offers a chilling prognosis.

In a cruel taunt, those looking to use the hot water dispenser on the fourth floor are greeted with a sign telling them that it is broken and to visit the dispenser on the first floor.

Upon descending several floors, students are greeted with another sign, simply reading “Hot Water Tap Out Of Order”, with no advice in sight for where to actually obtain boiling water.

Three of the building’s cold water dispensers are also shut, with the fourth floor’s broken dispenser being the only one on that level.

In attempting to shut the ever-growing number of broken student amenities, staff have seemingly started to run out of things to close them with.

To close a first-floor women’s toilets, library staff apparently cannibalised a barrier from the broken lift, with visitors told “224/LIFT 4 OUT OF ORDER” upon reaching the restroom door.

Student complaints about the Main Library have ventured beyond the ever-growing list of broken amenities.

One contributor to The Student reported encountering a “family of mice” during a 3 am stint in the library.

Several others remarked on the oppressive nature of the heat in the building, especially given the unaffordability of heating at home for many students.

In a complaint to the university about the building’s heating, one contributor underscored this fact, saying:

“The library is unbearably warm, even when wearing short sleeves and shorts.”

“As I struggle to afford to heat my own flat at night, it seems absurd to be sweltering while wearing a tank top in the library.”

The university’s Complaints Management Team said they could not help, but encouraged the contributor to raise the issue with the library service desk.

Katherine Coble, Tom Harrington and Tommy Manning contributed to this report. Images via Maisie McGuffie and Joe Sullivan.