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Posts Tagged ‘building’

CILIP Umbrella 2009 (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 17 July, 2009

After a good breakfast the final day of the conference began with more breakout sessions.

Maltesers mean answers: a sweeter service for students based on user feedback: Angela Horrocks & Davina Omar, Kingston University.
Kingston University talked about their annual survey run every March for many years by the library with a chance to win Wii or Ipod, but maltesers for everyone. The incentive was small but drew in a good number of students. This survey is in addition to national student survey, but helps gets them in the answering frame of mind to complete the major one. The library survey fills a very important need that the NSS doesn’t cover, for both students and library services. Having a clear purpose for the survey is very important, as otherwise the risk of the students getting survey fatigue could be high. Kingston focus on how students learn and this is the U.S.P. of the survey. Knowing the paths students use to access (e.g. mboile/vle etc) is very important in shaping how and what they teach to students, something I thought was especially interesting.

In terms of resources Kingston use software bought in from Priority Research, allowing their customisation, to handle the survey online along with the analysis. There are some issues

  1. The silent majority (10% return on population) and so worries over accurate representation.
  2. Contacting non-users → how to approach them
  3. Setting the questions → to be open and not drive students down a particular route.

In terms of staffing, need to give the staff the time and the top down support to do the user survey. Have to be prepared to trust the outcome – if students make a demand clear, need to respond appropriately. Kingston suggested you might need to think about quotas – departments, levels, ages or other demographic factors that you want to achieve in returns for appropriate representation. Thinking about how/why you might want to include as many of these as you can. Early surveys (1993) very much targeted at specific user groups, thought to be especially disadvantaged or in need. Yearly surveys since early 90s allow trends and rising (and reducing) priorities for student bodies to be clearly demonstrated.

In 2008 reintroduced 1-2-1 interviews on top of focus groups and surveys. A dozen done to test the waters, as an approach to non-users. Also now do additional focus groups at start of academic year to test early responses to changes put in place. Worry survey is contributing to sample already engaging users rather than non-users. 100 1-2-1s done in 2009 – gave a good snap shot of individual user experiences, rather than anonymised, average student point of vein. Survey moved to online this last year (partly environmental) but also reinvent survey (at least look and feel) – still offer maltesers to those that come to bank of computers. Comments and response from previous year’s survey included in next year’s, so the students can see how library has reacted. Drawbacks include lack of benchmarking with external entities, survey fatigue

The changing landscape of libraries: Tim Leach, BDP
This session was about buildings and architectural considerations. Tim said that library user needs strictly speaking haven’t changed in centuries, light and study space for example, just the ways in which we use technologies and building designs to accommodate them. As technology allows users to work in other places than our library spaces, we have to ensure that our spaces continue to meet their needs and make a welcoming environment they want to visit. The UCL masterplan takes the inherent problems with their historic building and tries to provide as many solutions within a limited rebuild. The key issue was space – due to earlier renovations over the years the original building space is not what it was. There is a need for positive first impression from the first moment walking through door. The building must be legible and accessible, the use signage as a sign of failure (not a point I agree with 100%).

Architectural furniture and fixtures define use of areas, and are not flexible but are suitable for certain environments (e.g. where levels of privacy is desirable). However, they can be a block to interaction between different spaces. Natural light and ventilation provide an environment that can be comfortable for most people. Use technology to change way materials stored and accessed, not just treating shelving as the only answer. Even get people on roofs of buildings by building structures into the environment that surrounds them.

The great good place Andrew Cranfield, IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section
Library as the third place (between home and work) was the theme of Andrew’s talk. Library environment and impact of the building resign on staff functions – the two are not independent and need to be considered together. Commented that many libraries today remain too conservative in their redesigns. Monopoly of information provision from libraries is now gone, and must address other approaches to provide services to users. Ambitious libraries (buildings) today seem to reflect new ways of thinking – no longer temple of knowledge to stand for generations but a right here/right now environment with more akin to the retail experience. Non-compartmentalisation of environments – books and café culture should be intertwined (e.g. like the idea stores).

Cerritos Public Library has a books entrance way and 1.2 million visitors/year for tiny local population. Andrew talked of his distaste for elitist colour schemes (black and white starkness) much better to have welcoming colours. Very, very white buildings in 6 months need repainting (e.g. Amsterdam central library). Cultural Black Diamond in Copenhagen – no feeling coming into library, almost too far the other way as a cultural centre, but not a library at all.

Libraries Change Lives Awards
The most interesting part of the awards was that the news of the winners (Leeds Central Libraries) was out on twitter 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony.  Andrew Motion spoke briefly too.

Building a successful library Web 2 service James Smith (Sunderland Libraries) and Nick Stopforth (Newcastle Libraries)

The session was based on things they have done and have learned through trial and error. They shared with us their 7 lessons (well 5 as they over ran and the session ended before they could finish) they have learned through using Web 2 resources such as twitter, wikis, podcasting etc. They did demonstrate a very interesting mashup with Google maps, World War II bombing maps of Sunderland and eye witness accounts of the bombing. The session was mostly full of public librarians, who are it seems less clued up than HE libraries on this sort of technology and how/where it can fit into their working lives (3/4 of the audience had not even heard of twitter for example).

That brought the conference to an end. It had been a packed two days, and I would have loved an extra day either before or after to more fully digest everything that had been discussed. The highs would have to include my session, the networking and the updating of information and skills in general. The lows, well the “gala” conference dinner, lack of hands on sessions and only two days for a very intensive conference. All the same I hope to be back for 2011!

Posted in CILIP, Staff training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EMALINK event on the changing undergrad library environment

Posted by selinalock on 20 February, 2009

Here’s a round-up of the EMALINK event I attended on the 18th Feb 2009 at the Pilkington Library, Loughborough University.

Sally Patalong highlighted some of the points made by the 2008 Ciber Briefing paper and talked about some of the technologies they’ve used with students at Coventry University.

  • The briefing paper highlighted that students will be “power browsers” and have worryingly low levels of information literacy.
  • Sally thought that VLEs are teacher-centred as they emphasise tracking and automation.
  • Research conducted at Coventry have shown that students want: smaller groups, more contact time, new experiences, independence, resources, support, qualifications, group work, friends, fun, a social life and to be inspired.
  • Some of the technologies being used at Coventry that are more student-centred include voice tools (e.g. wimba) to record feedback and email it to students, Echi360 to record lectures and have them uploaded to web and video conferencing with distance learners.
  • Sally suggested that institutions needs to move away from all controlling environments (such as VLEs) and use the existing technologies available out there.
  • She finished by asking if we still need University Libraries to deliver resources and answered YES. Especially for (as one of her students put it) the “friendly staffs and helpful advices”.

The second talk of the day was from Jo Bryant who did her dissertation on the Open3 library learning spaceat the Pilkington Library. Some of the things Jo highlighted were:

  • New innovations in library learning spaces such as sykpe phones being made available Dublin City University Library and inflatable “pods” at Glasgow Caledonian University.
  • For her dissertation she used ethnography techniques including observing students in the Open3 learning space 40 hours. Some of her observations were that:
  • a lot of group work was taking place (of groups between 3-10 people)
  • Whiteboards were popular
  • Groups tended to gather around laptops rather than PCs
  • Individual study was also happening despite the higher noise levels
  • the students liked space to spread out and were quite territorial
  • Liked being able to have food & drink – including ordering in pizza when the cafe closed!
  • Liked social nature of space
  • PCs near the entrance were used for quick visits (printing/email)
  • Self-governing space – people tried not to interrupt others but would also not ask people to be quiet.
  • Mostly used by undergrads
  • the students were mainly using electronic resources rather than books but the study did take palce during the exam period.
  • PCs were often logged in but left unattended
  • After the study the space was expanded as it was so popular.

The event ended with some group discussions on what important things University Libraries should do in the future. Suggestions included:

  • Being flexible in their use of space and the services/resources/technologies they offered and used.
  • Asking the students what they wanted.
  • Working with academics to improve student’s evaluation skills.
  • Considered use of technology.
  • Bringing services together in the library building adn ensuring it is an attractive environment to students

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For a few tours more

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 September, 2008

Toured a load of librarians around yesterday on behalf of UCRG and later this afternoon will be showing round a second batch on behalf of SCONUL.  As Louise said yesterday, it’s always nice showing librarians around the building as they can really appreciate the effort that went into designing it.  They also ask the most penetrating of questions as well, so the tours really keep you on your toes in terms of what goes on inside the DWL walls.

Personally I love doing these sort of things, but then I’m a showman at heart.  It’s also great to mix with one’s peers without having to tromp off to a conference in the back of beyond for three days, as it’s safe to say the information flow during these things is bidirectional – there’s always something new that these folks can share with us.

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Rooms2 Builder – bringing it all together

Posted by gazjjohnson on 17 July, 2008

Like many of my fellow Information Librarians, I’m currently beavering away on the creation of Rooms2 (the successor to the highly popular Subject Roomsavailable from the Library pages).  I will admit that whilst I know the final product will doubtless be as popular as its progenitor, the experience of working out just how (and in some cases why) the CMS software does things is making for a pretty interesting learning curve.

As doubtless those folks following my Twitter feed are now well aware.

What has helped a lot is taking copious notes. The manual for Rooms2 is okay, but as a resource it leaves a few gaping holes.  Not to mention that naturally we’re customising elements of the site and this is very much a standard resource for all users of Rooms2Builder.  I’ll make these notes available to any of my colleagues who are interested sometime next week.  They’re not intended to be the definitive guide but they might help you avoid the odd pitfall or head-scratching moment that I’ve had; not to mention giving Joanne (Dunham) a moment’s rest – she’s probably reached the point of dreading each of my emails with a new builder question.

I will say it has been getting easier each day I’ve been working on it.  I’ve learned the nuances, I’ve relaised what the shadows are all about, and I don’t think I’ve broken a functional content module (CM) in…well hours anyway.  Hopefully now I’ve (almost) created my first Room2, the next half a dozen will get done a bit faster.

Posted in Subject Support | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »