Wednesday, June 4, 2008

CUWL Conference

Susan Gibbons, Vice Provost, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester opened up the meeting with an introduction to efforts on their campus to learn more about how students live, work and research. Working with a staff anthropologist they have used ethnographic study techniques to learn how the libraries might better serve students. Many of the things they did are replicable at McIntyre. Ideas that I heard were attracting students to focus groups using $5 and food. They didn't sit around speculating what students need, they asked them. They redesigned their website by giving students mockups of their site and having them circle what was good, writing in what was missing and X-ing out what was useless. Because of what they learned about students and their relationship with their parents, they focused on parents during orientation programs instead of overwhelmed students. They hosted a parent breakfast. Another thing that we could adapt was putting white boards in all the group study rooms and placed movable white boards around the library.

Other highlights:
  • The new Library Dynamics software will allow us to compare our collection with others in the System and other libraries across the country. It looked pretty easy to do but no one really knows all the details about the software yet.
  • The document delivery project has opened up more questions about how best to provide access to scholarly material for our faculty. Possibilities include ILL credit cards, everyone joining RAPID interlibrary loan (Madison and Milwaukee use it and praise it), and spreading the funds to more publisher websites.
  • Madison will go directly to publishers rather than pay copyright costs when ordering material that would incur those charges.
  • The credit cards require more fiscal management time but seem to facilitate document delivery.

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