Traditional reference service is dead--- or dying. This blog will focus on new approaches toward providing library assistance to patrons... or whatever else I feel like rambling on about.

Friday, April 21, 2006

What does SGA have to say about YOUR Library?

Last week the campus was littered with SGA candidate posters—so I took the opportunity to email all of them a question.

I read through your info in the Technique (student newspaper) and on your website. I'm just curious, as a student leader, how do you feel the library can be improved?
Good luck,

Seven of the eight leaders responded. Sure libraries use LibQUAL+, collect feedback, conduct surveys, and hold focus groups—but this taps into a more political perspective. There was really nothing shocking or revolutionary, but it helps reinforce our ideas and adds a new flavor of assessment. Plus it is interesting to hear from student leaders and possibly opens the door for future collaboration. If would be great next year to have candidates add “improvements” to the library within their platform and really get our agenda pushed by this active and vocal presence on campus.

Here are some insights:

  • I think that the main issue I see as a student leader is that many graduate students seem to feel that the library, not just our library, but all academic libraries, is becoming irrelevant. They get the information they need from online journal access, provided by the library, yes, but I don’t believe they understand the role that librarians play in that, and rarely, if ever, set foot in the actual library building.
  • I appreciate the importance of the library and all that it provides, but I believe that one thing that should be worked on is ensuring that all students know what the library is doing for them and that it is a valuable resource on campus.
  • I do notice the long queues to use the computer labs whenever I'm at the library. I would suggest adding more computer labs, but I suspect new computer labs are mostly an issue of available space rather than anything else.
  • There is some lack of awareness about how the library can help students out.
  • I would recommend better signage over things like the information desk to let people know that they can be used to help with research.
  • I know you have the online system for asking questions, but it really isn't apparent that it is research help. It's just like questions...
  • Another area where I think the library can be improved is making the spacemore productive for studying.
  • Can there be a system of emailing retrieval requests to the circulation desk, so that the books are ready to be picked up by the time the students arrive at the library?
  • Some other students have complained about the long wait that occasionally follows a request to recall a checked out book. One student suggested having a better enforced late penalty charge for overdue recalled books.-- I know after talking with some chem and chem engr. majors that they would like additional ports for some of their chemical database searching programs.
  • I think that the selection of books and magazines for students who want to read for pleasure is very lacking.
  • More conference rooms
  • Projectors students can check-out
  • Better video collection
  • Jazzman's- Open 24 hours a day- and more food options!
  • Individual seats with built-in laptop holders
  • Outdoor study area
  • I’d like to see the hours extended on Fridays to Midnight.

So, what do we do now…..? I encourage others to contact candidates at their schools. I think this is mutually beneficial and allows us to further push our needs and concerns, yet let the students be the voice.


Anonymous Katie Clark said...

Wow. I love this idea! Fantastic.

9:03 AM

Blogger Meghan said...

Here at UT-Austin, we have a student advisory council that includes representatives from each student government organization. The regular meetings of the council include presentations to the students on new services, the solicitation of feedback from these students, and ample time for students to raise the issues that they have with the libraries. The three librarians appointed to the council also attend each organization's bi-weekly meetings as regular guests. We talk about a new resource or service and solicit feedback directly from all of the students. Considering the size of the student body (~50,000) and the fact that there are three major student government groups (Senate of College Councils, Student Government, and the Graduate Student Assembly), this approach allows each group and its members to have their unique concerns addressed. As you discovered, these are some of the most involved students on campus and they always have plenty of feedback and ideas to share.

11:45 AM

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