Thursday, February 25, 2010

So, here we are

The easels are down, and I'm trying this instead. As the Anthropologist in the Atkins Library, my job is to find out what the UNCC community is doing, in going about getting their work done here at the university. In particular, I'd like to know what works and doesn't work for them here at the library.

We've had easels up around the first floor for the last several weeks, and I think we've reached the point of diminishing returns, where we are hearing the same suggestions over and over. Not that the suggestions are not good, but we've heard them now, and need to think about ways to act on the appropriate ones.

In the meantime, I need more feedback. And I'd like to be able to push back, and respond to some of the feedback you give us. One of the suggestions was that we have a blog, rather than easels or suggestion boxes. So here we are.


  1. One of the most important characteristics in a modern library, is how they accommodate the use of modern technology. Specifically, I refer to the use of laptops, and wireless devices. In recent years the cost of laptops and netbooks have dropped to such a degree that almost every student has, or should have a laptop. Unfortunately, the number of power access points have not increased. At times it can be difficult to locate a spot to sit and work, in the comfortable areas of the library, when you're limited to a few desks, or cubbies near a wall outlet. Adding a couple of power strips under the cubbies (like have already been done in the basement) would be a great help.

  2. One method of getting some solid feedback would be emailing the entire student body a surveymonkey survey, and offering random cash prizes for filling out the survey. Methodical? Yes. Comprehensive? Yes.

  3. Surveys have their place, and the library has done some.
    But they also have their limits. You can't have a conversation in a survey, there's no sense of what the answers might be to questions that you didn't think to ask.
    The thing that ethnography can do for the library is help us engage in conversations, to facilitate observations, so it's not just about statistics and self-reporting.

    Plus, we do offer incentives to students helping us out with interviews and usability...

  4. I'm very much enjoying the 24-hour library. It is a definite benefit. One question I had: As a graduate student, I often find in necessary to use parts of several books for my research. I believe I have 75 checked out at the moment. I've known other university libraries to rent out desks with locked drawers for storing books. It would be very helpful to have these on hand rather than lugging them from the library home and back again, and it might make the library some money as well.


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