Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reading on the Subway

I'm enjoying this fun blog of pictures of people reading on the New York Subway, so I thought I'd share. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reaching Out to Parents

After reading College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know (which I highly recommend!), I am more interested than ever in finding out how we can reach out to parents.  Among many other things, the book talks about where students turn for research help.  I doubt anyone will be surprised to learn that they first go to their professors, then to their peers and family members, and then maybe to librarians.  I can always do more outreach with faculty, but this got me thinking more about how to reach out to parents.

I want to start small (and perhaps stay small - I wear many hats and don't have a ton of time for new endeavors).  Librarians staff tables at the various student resource fairs, and there is one resource fair where parents are likely to be present: Accepted Students Day - when students come to campus to meet their advisers and register for classes. 

This Saturday just happens to be Accepted Students Day so I'm trying a two-pronged tactic.  I have a sign up sheet for any parents who would like to receive periodic email updates from the library (our newsletter and maybe at most 2 emails a semester).  I'm not convinced there will be a lot of takers but I see no harm in trying.  I'm also working on a flier for parents that talks about when to send their students to a librarian, the various ways to contact a librarian, how a librarian can help, and, of course, library hours. 

We'll see how it goes.  The resource fair at Accepted Students Day is during a time when students have a lot of things to accomplish (including lunch, which is at least in the same room as the fair) so we don't always get a lot of visitors to the Library table.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

I'm Published!

Don't get too excited, it's a book review not an article.  However, at 800 words in length, it's a pretty lengthy review.  I highly recommend the book, too.  The details:

The Book: Listening to the Customer by Peter Hernon and Joseph R. Matthews (find in a library)

Where I Reviewed It: Appears in the March/April 2012 issues of Marketing Library Services.  You are only able to read it if you subscribe to this publication.  However, their copyright agreement allows me to post the review in a few months, so I will do so then.

The General Verdict: A great read for anyone who is responsible for library marketing or wants to know how to improve their customers' opinions of their library. 

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I Wish My Library Would...

I mentioned previously that we are using posters to get feedback from students.  We put up our second set of  feedback posters in January.  The more popular one was the one that read "I wish my library would...."  You can see for yourself:

Of course, the most frequent comment was about this year's reduction in the print quota, something the library had nothing to do with.  We have heard most of the other comments before as well, although there were a few new ones.  However, we chose to treat this as an opportunity to respond to these concerns again, and in some cases, more thoroughly.  Responses have been posted where the poster was previously located (see image below) and are slowly being posted on our blog and Facebook page

My favorite response is the one answering the request for more online resources.  This time I included actual data, such as:
  • We added the following databases recently and will be adding one more soon
  • We spent X amount of money on electronic resources alone in 2011-12
  • One of our full-text databases costs X amount of money
Students (and faculty!) have no idea what library resources cost the library/university, and the few I've informed about one price or another have been horrified.  This time we just opted to put it out there for everyone to read.  I also told them how much we pay for some of the educational DVDs in response to a request for more.  Once again, very few people outside of the library world realize these DVDs can regularly cost us $150-$500. 

For each separate response, there is space for students to write in additional questions and comments, but so far no one has done so (although one person did correct my spelling when I wrote roll instead of role...).  I have definitely seen some students reading them, so here's hoping this helps us to continue to improve the library's image!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

This Week in Libraries

I read about This Week in Libraries in an older issue of American Libraries (I'm always so behind on reading those), and I would highly recommend checking it out.

This Week in Libraries is a periodic series of video interviews with library-related folks from around the world.  The video interviews are conducted by two Dutch librarians: Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap van de Greer. 

They aren't airing any new episodes just yet (they're supposed to start up again sometime this month), but there are 62 older episodes to watch.  I've watched four so far, and while some are less relevant to me than others, they all have some interesting tidbits.  Plus, they are the perfect length to watch during my lunch break.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Displays in New Locations

In the review I wrote about one of the books I read recently, What They Don't Teach You in Library School, I mentioned that it discussed thinking about one's library like a retail store.  Based on this idea, I started contemplating new locations for some of our displays.

A few weeks ago, I moved our popular reading display to a more obvious location that is adjacent to the path many students take on their way into the library.  The number of students I've seen looking at the display has skyrocketed!  The former location is visible in this photo:
You can't see the doors, but students enter the building off the right side of this photo and continue on into the rest of the library without ever really entering this area. The popular reading display is the small one tucked back in the corner (kind of in the center of the photo itself) behind all the furniture. The chairs move around a lot, so inevitably they end up quite close to the display. People are then even less likely to notice it or approach it.

I don't have a good way to get a picture of the location of the display now (the main floor has a pretty big open area for my little camera), but it's much more centrally located and looks like this:

It would be nice to be able to expand it to include more books, but the books rotate pretty frequently so it doesn't seem to be a huge issue.

We've also recently added "Staff Picks," one of which includes a student worker's review of that book.  I'm hoping more students will review the books as well.  We'll see what effect the "Staff Picks" have.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Suggestion Box Display

I've mentioned our Suggestion Box display several times already, but thought I would post a picture of its current state.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Getting Feedback from Students

A few years ago, I created a display of the suggestions students had submitted and the responses from the library. This seems to have had a very positive impact.  There are far fewer suggestions now because many of them have already been answered.  In addition, my boss believes (as do I) that our responsiveness to the suggestions has increased students satisfaction with the library.  We are unable to carry out many of the suggestions, but we always respond and tell them why.

Recently, my boss gave me another suggestion for soliciting student feedback: a poster board with a starter phrase and space for students to respond.  Over finals I thought it would be nice to get them used to the idea of being able to write in this space by putting up two posters more for stress relief than feedback.  We had "Finals are..." and "All I want for [favorite winter holiday] is...."  As you can see below, we definitely got some responses.

I just finished putting up two new posters - "I love my library because..." and "I wish my library would...."  I'm looking forward to seeing what the students write.  Classes start tomorrow, so they'll be back soon!

Monday, January 02, 2012

What Do You Call Those People Who Use Your Library?

I just started reading Listening to the Customer (2011) by Peter Hernon and Joseph R. Matthews.  The book opens with a discussion of what to call those people who use your library in some way - in person, online, etc.  I tend to call them users (I think a lot about our library webpage and its usability) or just students (or faculty or staff).  I understand the argument for "customer" but it feels so business world-y.  I know their tuition pays for the library and all, but it feels so strange to call them customers. 

What do you call them?  If you call them customers, does this change how you view them?