Students returning to College after the Easter break to revise will be welcomed by uncomfortably high temperatures in the library - probably even hotter than their home countries if coming from overseas.
Early on Monday afternoon Level 5 of the South Kensington library reached a high of 30.2°C (just over 86°F). Attempts to decrease the temperature in the near future have been blocked by residents from Alexandra Court, the building opposite the library.
The maximum working temperature recommended by the World Health Organisation is 24°C, with the Trades Union Congress calling for an absolute maximum of 30°C. The library marginally exceeded this just after 14:30 on Monday.
Additionally, the relative humidity was recorded as 25%, below the UK recommendation of 40% and even the 30% allowed in the US. Low humidity can exacerbate respiratory and skin conditions, whilst also increasing the risk of static shocks.
Make the Library Cool
The harsh working conditions in the library were to be resolved with new external solar shading as part of the library refurbishment project. This shading was rejected by Westminster council after local residents objected, delaying the whole refurbishment in the process. A new application has been submitted for the project with the shading removed.
In the coming months a separate application will be submitted solely for the shading, with support from Westminster's student residents essential to getting the application through. The Union has so far led a fairly low-profile campaign, but with temperatures rising that is set to change - posters and leaflets will be distributed in the library from next week containing details of what students can do to help.