Library Student Resource Group April 18 2012
Present: Adreanne Breton, Darrel Chia, Chris Dunlap, Charlie Kargman, Evan Kuehn, Yongkang Kim, Christina McClernon, Wilson Miu, Rick Moore, Zhui Wang
From the Library: Judi Nadler (chair), Rachel Rosenberg, Rebecca Starkey, Jim Vaughan, John Kimbrough
Welcome to LSRG and Introductions
Welcome to the first meeting of the Library Student Resource Group. A special welcome to our new members, including Rebecca Starkey, Librarian for College Instruction and Outreach and Selector for Education. Rebecca will assume coordinating duties for LSRG.
Judi noted that the LSRG is a resource group: you are a resource to the Library, and we hope the Library is a resource to you. The LSRG has been very successful in years past, both in achieving its goals and being a enjoyable meeting for its members.
The group has a webpage and an email alias (lsrg (at) lib uchicago edu)
New Library Services: UBorrow and Scan & Deliver
The Library did a short demonstration of UBorrow, the Library's new interlibrary loan service. We've found that around 50% of UBorrow requests are placed by doctoral students, with another 25% being placed by College students. The Library also demonstrated Scan and Deliver, where University students can request a journal article or book chapter be pulled from the bookstacks and sent to them as a PDF. Questions and discussion by the LSRG:
- Do ILL requests and UBorrow requests appear in the same interface? (Yes.)
- If one of our books is borrowed via UBorrow, is it recallable by us? (No.)
- In traditional ILL the lending library has the option to deny the request; is the same true in UBorrow? (Almost all of our requests are filled by the first library -- we've done some work with our partner libraries to make sure we can fill requests easily if we mark them "available.")
- How do we ship materials back and forth? (UPS, either ground or 2nd day air.)
- Why are there so many cancellations of Scan & Deliver requests? (Two reasons: (1) many people make requests for materials we hold online, and our policy is to cancel and point to the online resource. (2) Some people have tried to request an entire book by placing a series of small requests -- we cancel after 2 chapters to keep us within copyright.)
- One (graduate) LSRG member noted that Scan & Deliver was a great service for instructors using Chalk -- we can request articles to be scanned, then we can put them up on Chalk.
It was noted that UBorrow, while bringing several advantages to the University community, presents a slight disadvantage to browsing: more material is off the shelves. It's an interesting philosophical questions to think of a group/consortium of libraries as an extension of "our library" -- but choosing the right group (as we have done with the CIC) becomes important. Judi noted we are also pursing a expedited borrowing/lending relationship with the Ivy League schools.
What is the best way to reach students? The Library doesn't want to bombard people with email! LSRG members noted:
- Some LSRG members became aware of new services by checking the Library website and looking at the links and news stories.
- Flyers near the circulation desk advertising UBorrow work well.
- Law School students, especially first-year students, have regular library sessions where new library services are communicated to us.
- Undergrads often go to the writing tutors for paper help -- it would be great if the tutors could disseminate information about research help.
- For surveys, if I'm approached by someone I know, I will definitely take a survey (vs. answering an email). Have students walk around and ask other students.
The Library now has a new Youtube channel. We're hoping to produce short instructional videos -- any suggested topics or general video tips?
- Short videos (like the existing ones) seem to be right length.
- One LSRG member noted they would much rather watch a Youtube video than approach a librarian: a video can be stopped/started, I can review parts, etc.
- Topic-specific videos are good (e.g., how to cite a legal case).
- A graduate LSRG member mentioned he has students in his class that wonder how to start a research paper -- of course I've been directing them to the library, but a video tutorial woudl be helpful.
- Video links embedded right by databases (context-specific help) would be great.
- Vendor tutorials are good, but they promote their own product (of course), and it would be helpful to know of all resources available.
- Undergrads may not use UBorrow or do advanced research -- but searching the stacks can be overwhelming.
Regenstein opened in 1970, said Judi. At the time of its opening, it was built as a graduate research library -- not for undergraduates. The College Library was Harper. However, over the years Regenstein has changed to a hospitable place for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. Today we don't look so much at different users but different uses -- the first floor tends to be noisy and the upper floors tend to be quieter.
With the opening of Mansueto, we were able to do many things. We vacated space in Regenstein for (1) further collection growth, (2) rearrangement of the collections, and (3) repurposing some of the spaces that were occupied by books. One example is the first floor and the new cafe and Techbar, and many other such spaces. One type of space we'd like to create is a multipurpose room for large lectures, receptions, conferences, and workshops. This will take the place of room 127 (near the old Ex Libris entrance.) We also hope to implement a study room reservation system in 2012-2013.
The JRL collection reorganization began with the rearrangement of the reference collections housed in the reading rooms and is now proceeding with the general bookstacks. The A-Level, currently used as swing space by the movers, will be returned after the move to study space for groups.
There is a planning group for the Regenstein upper floors. The group's charge is to develop a unified vision for Regenstein as a center for the humanities and social sciences as well as a framework for thinking about both short term/high impact changes and long term renovation projects for those floors. Some of our goals include:
- Strengthening the research, teaching, consultation, and study environment:
- creating zones for different programmatic needs while not interfering with adjacent use
- improving ease of use and wayfinding
- allowing for varied and changing technology needs
- Fostering community for faculty and students around collections
- enhancing utilization of the collections
- enhancing the ability of subject specialists to interact with researchers
- supporting growing interdisciplinary needs
- creating zones for researchers to interact
- Achieving a unified and fresh aesthetic
- connecting to the original design while remaining consistent with recent building renovations
- making resources/collections more visible and accessible
- providing vertical connections of floors in addition to horizontal floor layouts.
We also want to enhance the ability of the subject specialists to interact with researchers, to make these floors facilitate research, and to allow for research and teaching in conjunction with the collections. The Provost's Task Force on the Library stressed that the main purpose of these upper floors should be research. For group work, we hope to make the A-Level a pleasant place for this to work. At present we've constructed two technology-equipped classrooms (rooms 207 and 523), and hope to add more. We are also thinking about new furniture, and working with an architect who will help us conceptualize space. Interesting ideas have come from examining peer institutions: for example, Berkeley has a dissertation writing room for graduate students.
LSRG discussion of JRL spaces:
- Are the unbound print periodicals heavily used? Could something different be done with this space?
- Could carrels be reserved?
- One LSRG member mentioned using several libraries on campus because each provides a different study atmosphere.
- A whiteboard/chalkboard is helpful when working in groups. (A "smart board" would be ideal.)
- It would also be nice to have moveable whiteboards, because sometimes you don't need a whiteboard but another group does.
- For undergrads, study is the main purpose of being in the Library. Not all undergrads will do a BA or research, but everyone studies.
- The room reservation system sounds fantastic.
- It would be great to bring the A-Level back as a 24/7 study space, in addition to the first floor. It would be an "extra gift" by the Library that would be really helpful.
- More power outlets, please. (Tables, with lots of outlets, near a window, is ideal.)
- Tables, rather than cubicles, please. We "breathe better" with tables, such as the ones in Mansueto.
- More soft/comfortable seating would be helpful, as a desk/table isn't all that comfortable for long periods of reading (unless one has a book stand) -- especially if seating could be in areas that are not very noisy.
- The dissertation writing room is a great idea.
- A writing lab, with computers that have 2 screens/machine, would be great.
Regenstein Study Carrel Survey
To aid the planning of the upper floors, we recently conducted three surveys of study carrel use. During reading period and finals of Winter Quarter 2012, we barcoded all the seating on the upper floors and checked for occupancy three times daily. Based on occupancy rates, patrons seem to prefer (1) tables, (2) linear carrels, and lastly (3) the pinwheel carrels as study spaces. We also found that patrons don't like to sit close to others unless necessary: most of the tables were "maxed out" with 2 people, and while 70% of the linear carrels had 3-4 seats occupied, only 23% of the pinwheel carrels had all four seats occupied.
Our second survey took a more in-depth look at carrel use. We conducted on-the-spot interviews with 30 people whom we saw using linear carrels (in exchange for a free cup of coffee at Ex Libris). Users told us they picked a linear carrel because it was isolated/private, enclosed/no distractions, it was quieter than a table, and it had close proximity to their locker. They disliked the carrel's lack of power, the aesthetic, and the lack of shelves in the carrel.
Our final survey concerned a prototype wooden carrel in the pinwheel style, which placed on the first floor during Winter Quarter. We encouraged people to use the carrel briefly and complete a short survey. 293 people completed surveys; some results included:
- 80% of respondents thought the task light was appropriate
- 81% would use the coat hook provided
- 74% thought the shelf was the right size
- 67% found the light switch conveniently located
- 65% would use the bookshelf
- 50% thought the coat hook was in the right location
- Positive comments included:
- The aesthetic -- the wood finish was praised, as well as the clean look, and newness
- Good lighting
- Access to power
- Shelves for books
- Unfavorable comments included:
- The coat hook location (many thought it was too low)
- Location of the power outlet and switch
- Several people said the shelf was a bit too high
- The translucent panel (mixed views)
- The pinwheel's resemblance to a swastikaAny
Any thoughts or comments from LSRG members?
- Please keep a variety of different types of seating, because people have different preferences.
- One LSRG member liked the linear carrels, but had friends who preferred Mansueto (a smaller study space but more open, so people tend to be quieter.)
- Mansueto's long tables are great (and so are the Harper tables).
- The 2nd/3rd floor feels much more stressful compared to Mansueto.
- The pinwheel carrels feel less private than the linear carrels.
- Glass panels are OK, but not if we can see the other person or their equipment (make them more opaque).
- Another LSRG member noted, however, that not being able to see other people feels constricting.
- Please don't get rid of the lockers, and keep them in close proximity to the carrels if possible.
- Any plans for the consultation tables in the bookstacks?
- Jim noted that one option would be making these rentable graduate carrels (we can put a shelf in them).
- It would be nice to have more light in the consultation tables, something the Library has also heard from faculty.
- I don't like leaving my stuff unattended in the bookstacks, said one LSRG member (it's less of an issue in the reading room since there are other people around to watch it)
- Laptop locks? (Jim noted that the prototype carrel didn't have a lock point, but there will be one on the actual carrels.)
- Rocking chairs? My undergraduate library had chairs that rocked a little bit (not a lot), and allowed a little bit of movement without disturbing other patrons.
Possible topics for future meetings:
- The B-Level:I'm curious about what is moving to the B-Level and why -- it's not as convenient to browse and use. This floor isn't a very pleasant study space.
- Judi and Jim replied that we'd be happy to discuss the general logic/rationale behind which call number ranges were moved to the B-Level. Another potential topic is how to best arrange the B-Level space to make it hospitable for studying.
- Collection Shift and Maps: After everything gets moved, could we have a microcosm of the floor maps? A handout or bookmark?
- Library Fines and Overdue Notices: The timing of fines and notices seems a little confusing; could we get some more information about this?
- Zoning: could we talk about which spaces are zoned for quiet (vs. collaborative) study?
- Library hours: especially during breaks and interims
- Ex Libris: does the Library control Ex Libris? Who decides things like the food offerings?
- Library event ideas:
- Would the Library like LSRG members to send out a topic survey to our departments? (We have a fear of "oversurveying" students, said Jim, although we'd be interested if you feel differently.)
- How about a "chat with an LSRG member" office hour? (E.g., Wednesdays at noon) -- hear what the Library is doing, get complaints/comments, etc.
- A finals week event? (with free food -- free hot chocolate, for example.)
- A "reacquaint yourself with the Library" event right before finals?