Accessibility statement


After 3 years…we are back!

Have you ever had a great idea to improve the Library, Archives & Learning Services here at York, but not known what to do with it? This is your chance to work with us to shape our services and to improve the experience of fellow students for years to come.

The winning idea will receive a prize of £1,000 and we will work with you to introduce it to the Library and wider services. The winner will also receive the title 'Library Innovator 2023’.

Your ideas could be about the resources that we stock or how they are accessed, they may be about technology or activities we have within the library. Any ideas are welcome, no matter how big or small they are.

In addition to the main prize, we may also award smaller cash prizes for ideas that we don't shortlist but that we are able to implement quickly and easily, improving the library experience for all.

See the tabs below for information about previous years, and what makes a good submission for the competition. Details about entry and the submission form can be found directly below.

Entry details

Submissions open on Monday 16 January and close on Sunday 29 January.

We’ll be shortlisting soon after, and successful students will have the chance to develop and pitch their idea in front of a judging panel on Wednesday 1 March. 

Please read the full terms and conditions to understand more of what we are looking for and the judging process.

Ready to tell us your brilliant idea?

Submit your idea

LibInspo 2020

LibInspo 2020

The 2020 LisInspo was held on Wednesday 26 February 2020. It featured 6 finalists who pitched their ideas to the audience in a five-minute presentation window, followed by questions from the panel and audience.

The guest speaker and host was Alison Barrow - a sociology alumni of York and now PR director for Transworld Books, as well as Trustee of the Womens Prize for books.

The six finalists were from the Maths department, electronic engineering, education, health sciences and two students from psychology. Each presentation was excellent, with a series of sketches depicting the full extent of an outdoor nature study area and mock ups of room availability interfaces and digital screens.

The overall winner was Shelly Vipond with their idea for a family friendly space in the library. The idea was a response to NUS surveys and experiences of guilt when parents leave their children in order to study.

Annabel McMahon was awarded Highly Commended for their room availability and booking tablet idea.

LibInspo 2019

LibInspo 2019

The final judging event took place on Thursday 28 February in the Ron Cooke Hub in Campus East. Five student finalists presented their pitch to a judging panel and audience members, including Library and Archives staff, other staff from across the University and a number of students. Each finalist gave a presentation of up to five minutes, followed by questions from the judges.

The event host was Richard Morris, a York alumnus and CEO of The Giving Machine. Richard introduced the event and each finalist, and gave a keynote about his career since leaving York whilst the judges selected the winning submission.

The Library Innovators 2019 were Yuveer Ramchandani (TFTI) and Daniel Famiyeh (Electronic Engineering) who pitched their app “Deskmate” to monitor study space availability within the library. Yuveer and Daniel created the app from scratch, utilising our publicly available live library data.

Eleanor Ingham (SPSW) was awarded Highly Commended for her idea “Electronic library card and UoY app”. Eleanor impressed the judges with her market research.

Congratulations to the rest of our finalist who also gave great pitches:

  • Emily Mellows (Department of English): Wellbeing section
  • Katie Parton  (Psychology): Escape room
  • Thomas Kent (History): Study room availability screens

LibInspo legacy

LibInspo legacy

As a result of the LibInspo competitions of 2019 and 2020, The Library, Archives and Learning services have:

  • worked with the winning students to create their Deskmate app, elements of which are now included in the student app that is linked to the library and occupancy levels.
  • set up the new Living Room space in Fairhurst, which was inspired by a range of LibInspo submissions around student wellbeing.
  • opened the Family Room in the Burton Library for students with children to study.
  • installed two YorBookShelf shelves to encourage leisure reading.
  • designed signage for study desks to promote the ‘text us’ service, in response to consistent themes in the LibInspo submissions around noise and behaviour in the Library.
  • installed art and additional plants within the Library, which were requested in a number of submissions.
  • purchased new picnic tables on the Fairhurst lawn with the help of one of the LibInspo respondents.
  • purchased some SAD lamps, one each for the accessible study rooms, as a result of a 2020 submission.

What makes a good submission?

What makes a good submission?

We’re looking for ideas with plenty of detail! We need enough information about your idea to decide whether it’s worthy of being a Libinspo finalist.

Space is a popular theme for LibInspo, with previous entries successfully developing spaces for wellbeing and family study. While we aren’t discouraging any themes (if you have a fantastic idea about space, please tell us) here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

  • Library policies - we’ve already gone fine free, have you got any other ideas related to our flexible loan policies, or rules in the library?
  • Collection and stock - is there anything you would like to see on our open shelves, or the ways you can request or use our collections?
  • Technology - have you got a unique idea that involves Yorsearch, or a way to navigate the library website?
  • Inclusivity & accessibility - could our collections or services be more accessible? Whether for a complete new policy, facility or resources, let us know.

With £1,000 up for grabs you might want to spend time thinking how to promote your distinctive idea, and make it as attention-grabbing as possible. Here are some tips to ensure a good submission:

  • Do some research about what we provide at the University. We might already offer your idea in some form, so make sure you’ve looked on our website or social media, or have asked around before you submit.
  • See whether your idea exists at another university. This might give us some helpful inspiration about how the idea might work at York. Remember to acknowledge if you’ve seen the idea somewhere else and to tell us why it’s a good fit for our university.
  • Be passionate! Explain what inspired your idea and help us to appreciate what makes it noteworthy. Perhaps you’ve experienced, or witnessed, challenges of using the library which can bring your idea to life.
  • Remember that we won’t have seen your submission until after you’ve sent it in. Try to write it so that it makes sense for someone who doesn’t know the background and who hasn’t heard of the idea before. Why not ask a friend to check it before you submit.