Library Student Resource Group

November 20, 2009

Present: Joy Brennan, Joey Brown, Josh Grochow, Arielle Lindsey, Ben Merriman, Rachel Miller, Mark Opal, Allison Ringhand, Nicholas Stock, Nick Tarasen

From the Library: Judi Nadler (chair), Sem Sutter, Agnes Tatarka, Jim Vaughan, John Kimbrough (secretary)

Introduction and Welcome

Judi welcomed our new members and explained the purpose and history of the LSRG.

Changes in response to the Group’s Comments

Last April Joy solicited comments about the Library from Divinity School students. We briefly showed a document that incorporated Library responses to the student comments and suggestions. (You can read the full document online.)

If you would like to survey your department in a similar fashion, the Library would welcome suggestions and comments!

Library Assessment Activities

(Agnes had a Powerpoint presentation, which you can view)

Library Survey

Agnes, the Library's Assessment Director, told us that in 2005 and 2007 the Library surveyed all students, faculty, and staff using LibQUAL+, a large survey used by many libraries in the US and Canada. This year we’d like to survey all graduate students using a survey we are developing in-house. Next year we’ll survey undergrads, and the following year faculty, then go back to grad students.

The survey will be distributed over email, probably in February 2009. LSRG members also recommended sending reminder emails nudging people to take the survey.

Library Website Assessments

We are also committed to improving the Library website, and have done several observational studies, where we give Library patrons a title or topic and observe how they search for the book/information.

How often should we make changes to the website? Ben noted that the incremental changes are noticed by heavy users, but the changes made are usually for novice/infrequent users.

Personas

Another assessment activity we are doing is personas, where we create fictional characters designed to be a composite of a user group. This helps us understand the audience we are designing for, because the personas are based around tasks/behaviors (the data cruncher, the simplicity seeker who just wants to get in and out of the library, the complex searcher, and so on) rather than traditional divisions (e.g., faculty/students or by discipline). Several other libraries have developed very well-designed websites using this approach. We are using/tweaking personas originally developed at Johns Hopkins University.

Our next step is interviewing students and faculty to test and refine our personas (and perhaps develop some real-life examples!). Agnes would love to have LSRG members as interview candidates.

Regenstein Information Display/Digital Bulletin

Currently we have a paper display/directory on an easel near the main staircase. The Library will be replacing this with an LCD display over winter break. Jim showed mockups of typical displays that featured Library collections, services (such as a reference librarian), Mansueto construction, and Web exhibits. [N.B. to see all the screenshots, just click on the pictures -- there are 4 total. Also, the screenshots are sized for the display, so they will "overflow" your monitor.]

LSRG members also suggested featuring:

Arielle suggested that the screensaver for the Library workstations be set to the current display info. The Library will investigate if this is technically feasible.

Nick suggested that everything displayed be put on the Library website, because students aren’t going to sit in front of the display and write down URLs. Instead the display should include referring text, such as “everything featured here is at http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/info"  so we can go someplace and see what was displayed.

College Librarians at the Commons

John did a brief overview of the history of Harper Library and introduced a new service, College Librarians at the Commons. Librarians are available at the Commons Monday - Friday, 2pm-5pm. Please come visit!

The College Librarians will also be holding a study break Friday December 2 from 2pm-5pm (or until the food runs out).

Printing: is there a place in Harper to add money to your card? (Answer: no, but you can add value to your card using the online service.)

Could we have printers more convenient to the computers? (Answer: the present configuration is just a "first step" in Harper remodeling, and the College/NSIT hope to put computers in several locations in Harper.)

Agenda-building and other topics

Next meeting: probably 3rd week and 7th week of winter quarter. Jim will coordinate scheduling at the start of winter quarter.