Student Feedback Library Proposal


In the spring of 2012 the library sought student feedback regarding the library.  The topic was brought up in a library staff strategic planning session during the summer of 2011.  At that time it was suggested that marketing students be solicited for involvement.  After discussing student involvement in this effort with Marketing Professor Don Thacker, student Zach Eckels volunteered to create a survey and conduct a focus group to engage fellow students in a discussion about the library.  The following includes both a summary of findings from those initiatives as well as a proposal for action, based on that student feedback.


Survey Findings

·         382 students completed the survey.

·         When asked which campus services students use on campus, the library ranked highest:

o   66% use the library

o   61% use computer labs

o   53% use the Food Emporium

o   51% use the Campus Center

o   16% use the Physical Education Building

o   12% use tutoring

(While it is good to know that more students indicated using the library than any other service, it is a concern that 1/3 of the students responding to the survey do not use the library.)

·         When asked which specific library services students use and how often they use them, it seems that print resources are in less demand (58% indicated never checking out books, for example).  29% also indicated never performing database searches.  This may suggest that students are relying less on library sponsored resources and more on free internet searching (Google, Wikipedia, etc.).

(Perhaps greater emphasis on in-person, class, and one-on-one instruction, as well as online tutorials emphasizing the importance of library-sponsored print and online resources is needed.)

·         When asked why students do not use the library, the most popular answer was that students can use online resources without having to go to the library; 40% indicated using online services outside the library.

(Perhaps the library should be marketing personal, in-library services such as reference consultations, to promote the benefits of coming to the library as well as developing more online interaction with students—both asynchronous tutorials and interactive chat reference services.)

·         When asked what services the library could offer that are not currently available, the two most prominent seem to be:

1.      Some type of food service (coffee/snack bar or vending machines, 52% and 34% respectively responded positively to these services).

2.      Providing non-educational materials.

Four-Point Proposal


Based on the survey findings presented above and the focus group conducted late in the spring semester, the library would like to investigate implementing the following four ideas in an effort to address student concerns, enhance library services, and continue to attract more students to the library.

1.      Non-Academic Resources
The library would like to divert funds traditionally spent on academic resources to less-academic, leisure/entertainment resources:

a.       Modest adjustments can be made by further reducing print journal costs (canceling less-used print journals in favor of popular magazines (People, Rolling Stone, etc.).

b.      Creating a fund for the purchase of popular videos (DVDs), similar to the way the library collects and promotes its bestsellers collection.

c.       Providing a popular eBook collection with the capability of downloading bestsellers to mobile devices (iPads, Kindles, etc.).

2.      Student-Centered Presentations
The library is interested in sponsoring the following types of events:

a.       Book discussions (it should be noted that apart from the student-centered initiatives that are the focus of this document, the library began promoting a book club idea--called “Jam Sessions”--with more than a dozen staff and faculty signing up prior to the beginning of the fall semester.  This would need greater promotion targeted towards students).

b.      Community presenters, partnering with such organizations as “yStark” a local organization that focuses on young adults (“40 under 40”).

c.       Current events discussions, led by local faculty experts.

d.      An “Open Mike” for music students or others invited to perform.

3.      Welcoming Kiosk
With students indicating confusion over performing some basic library tasks, and as a means to better orient students to the library, the library would like to investigate having an online Kiosk near the entrance that directs students to some basic library functions like:

a.       Providing an interactive  map of the building so that users can easily find where things are located in the library.

b.      How to find resources located in the library (simple directions for finding a book or an article).

c.       Promotion of current, customized services (personal reference consultations).

d.      Availability of computer laptops for students who wish to study in more remote locations in the library or for when desktop computers are all in use.

4.      Food Service
Having a snack bar or coffee shop seemed to be the preferred means of providing food in the library, the library has limited personnel resources and other similar food services are already available on campus (Food Emporium).  The library (with consultation from Facilities Management and Food Services on campus) would like to investigate adding vending machines (on the lower level).