Library Student Resource Group October 23 2012
Present: Adreanne Breton, Allison Demes, Chris Dunlap, Evan Kuehn, Samantha Lee, Christina McClernon, Julia Sizek, Zhui Wang
From the Library:Judi Nadler (chair), Alice Schreyer, Rebecca Starkey, James Vaughan
Welcome, Introductions, and Context for the New Academic Year
The LSRG welcomed new members and Judi briefly outlined the purposes of the group and highlights of the preceding year. The Library Student Resource Group serves as channel of communication between students (graduate and undergraduate) and the Library. Although the Library has many things we would like to bring to the LSRG for attention of its members, we also want to make sure the agenda is driven by what LSRG members want to discuss.
2011-2012 has been a good year for the Library. We celebrated the opening of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, and loaded over 1 million volumes into Mansueto. The average retrieval time for a Mansueto item is around 7 minutes, substantially faster than the advertised 15- minute time.
Another highlight of 2011-2012 was the Library reorganization (please see the chart of the Library organizational structure) which created three new program areas: Collection Services, User Services, and Digital Services. As the new Assistant University Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences, Area Studies, and Special Collections, Alice Schreyer is in charge of general and special collections in the humanities and social sciences. Alice joins us today and will speak later about planning for Regenstein's upper floors.
Communication: The Library and Facebook
Rachel demonstrated the Library's new presence on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uchicagolibrary. Please take a look at the page, like it, and tell your friends: our primary audience for this page is students!
Does the LSRG have any suggestions for additional content for the Facebook page? LSRG members suggested:
- Posts promoting Library resources that tie in with other major University events--especially other arts programming. For example, when Court opens a new play, doing a post on related Library materials.
- Posts promoting a positive reading culture, such as lists of popular books, new acquisitions, or new Class of 2000 funded books.
- Fun facts about the Library: e.g., the most borrowed book, or how many people stayed in the Reg during the blizzard of 2011.
- Related to this, promote "fun" library guides, like Turkeys -- or perhaps a guide about finals week?
- Promote content from other academic library pages: for example, if there's an interesting post about autumn at Yale's library, share it on the Library page.
- Feature a Library department, like the Map Collection or East Asia: what they have, their hours, contact information, and so on.
- Another potential post could be the Library's recent grant award to digitize Urdu materials.
- Could important stories "stick" to the top of the Page? Rachel replied that we do employ "stickies" for important stories, although Facebook limits what we can do (we can make stories appear at the top of our page, but not necessary in the top of your news feed).
- Would the Library consider paying to promote posts? Rachel has done a couple of 1-day Facebook ads and received good responses for a fairly minimal investment.
Do LSRG members "click through" Facebook to longer articles? (Many LSRG members indicated they did read longer articles that had short snippets posted on Facebook.)
Is it redundant to put up an identical post on Facebook and other venues such as the Library News website? (LSRG members indicated this duplication was fine; it's expected that content appear multiple places.)
How do LSRG members feel about Twitter? Most members indicated they don't use Twitter much.
Communication: Library Newsletters and Consultations
The Library does several email-based newsletters for the College and various departments. Some past newsletters are available for viewing. Rebecca distributed copies of a recent newsletter sent to the College and asked for LSRG feedback: any suggestions for future newsletters?
- The length seems very appropriate (if it were much longer, reading fatigue would set in).
- The order of elements was very good: features first, then the list of workshops and events.
- Could more graphics be incorporated? Rebecca noted that the University's email service (the "virtual mailroom") imposes a lot of limitations on formatting.
- Linking to the Youtube video on how to print is a great idea: it's a timely topic for many students at the beginning of the year.
- Could a future post advertise Scan & Deliver and/or UBorrow?
- Another future post suggestion: how the recall process works?
- Include 1-2 practical tips in each newsletter: for example, using truncation in searching.
How are newsletters distributed? Most are sent via the College Mailroom or pushed out by subject specialists to departmental lists. One LSRG member suggested it would be helpful to view Library newsletters outside our core field: it can be useful to see what resources and workshops are being publicized for other departments, especially since much of our work can be interdisciplinary.
Some graduate students, especially PhD students, read the Grad Guide published by Graduate Student Affairs.
Spaces: Enhancing Regenstein for Research and Study
Alice and Jim co-chair a Library group that is conceptualizing the upper floors of Regenstein (floors 2-5). Since the building's opening in 1970, we've made several changes to these floors--but most have been done in piecemeal fashion. We thought it was an appropriate time to take a comprehensive, systematic look at the arrangements on all upper floors. We've been working with the same architectural firm (Booth Hansen) that designed the new first floor and the corridor between Regenstein and Mansueto. We recognize that Regenstein must serve different user groups as well as enable different methods of research and study. Some changes that have already been made include:
- New wood carrels: We are installing new wooden linear carrels and encasing the steel lockers in wood, to bring greater functionality to the carrel seating (all new carrel seats are equipped with power outlets and task lighting), and to "warm" the floor by introducing wood elements. We hope to complete installation by the end of October. LSRG members were broadly in favor of the new carrels and the enhanced functionality they provide. It's also great to have the lockers back in service (and those who were affected by the locker move expressed appreciation for how IPO, Mansueto and other Library departments handled the temporary move and storage of locker items).
- Reference collection reorganization: After the 2011 consolidation and reorganization of the reading rooms collections, last spring/summer we shifted the physical location of the collections and bookcases to create a more logical arrangement, open up reading room space, and reduce confusion between the reference collections and general bookstacks.
- Additional group studies: We have returned some group studies that were converted into offices back to their original purpose of hosting groups.
- Consultation spaces: There are now spaces for bibliographers to work interactively with patrons (the bibliographer offices were too cramped for this purpose).
As we plan, there are a few space ideas we are exploring:
- A dissertation writers' room, that would be limited to graduate students currently engaged in dissertation/thesis writing.
- One LSRG member suggested this room include Law School students, who often need "deep quiet" space but find D'Angelo's hours limited during breaks.
- More workspaces on the B-Level, possibly around the perimeter where the card catalog is now.
- Assigned carrels, that would include a shelf for storing materials, possibly utilizing the consultation tables in the bookstacks (if upgraded with better lighting and other improvements.) Many of our peer institutions have assigned seating. It's likely we couldn't provide a carrel to everyone who would want one, but we could assign 2-3 students per carrel and let them work out among themselves how to share it.
- LSRG members liked the concept of assigned carrels.
- Don't assign 2-3 random people to a carrel; instead, let people form groups with friends and apply as a group.
LSRG members asked about increasing the number of group study rooms, and noted that often these rooms are in use by one person only, or by individuals who are all doing individual study (not collaborative work). Could we have more signs or other visible indicators that these rooms are reserved for group work?
A few LSRG members inquired about the status of the A-Level. The Library has removed the bookcases that were being used as swing space for the collections move and replaced them with study tables, but there's a desire for more planning about how to effectively use the A-Level. We'd like to bring together the LSRG and a similar student advisory group from IT Services to discuss the A-Level.
Services: Research Consultations and Discontinuing RefWorks
Do students often make consultation appointments with bibliographers? LSRG members enjoy being able to meet 1:1 with subject specialists, but indicated most students don't use this service: it's difficult to find time for appointments, many students only want to meet with a librarian if it's necessary (and for basic undergraduate research it's often not necessary to involve a librarian), and not all students know they can meet with a bibliographer. LSRG members suggested the Library think about:
- "Office hours" or drop-in hours, where students could just stop by without an appointment
- Promoting "meet your bibliographer" via Facebook or other communication channels
- Mentioning in tours and regular workshops the option of meeting with a subject specialist for further consultation
- Having a "meet your bibliographer" session, maybe in November
- Having a bibliographer attend department activities when possible (example: the Wednesday lunches in the Div School)
The Library will be discontinuing RefWorks after FY2013. No new RefWorks accounts are being created. We offer workshops on alternative citation tools, like Zotero or EndNoteWeb, and are happy to work with patrons making the transition to another citation management tool. Do LSRG members have any thoughts or concerns about this?
- No concerns about leaving RefWorks.
- It would be helpful to know when a citation management tool would be appropriate and the pros/cons of each one; one LSRG member noted he's tried various tools but always seems to abandon them after a few weeks.
- One LSRG member has been very happy with Zotero.
Next meeting: Tuesday, November 13.