Thursday, April 2, 2015

One Simple Way to Guarantee Your Feedback About the Library is Heard

Library Director, Sarah Smith, joins the blog today to share information about how the library staff responds to student feedback.
As the director of the Thigpen Library, I am always seeking ways to improve services and resources provided to Vol State students. So, I get really excited when students contribute their suggestions for the library, whether it’s through one of the library’s Tip Jars (located downstairs at the Reference Desk and upstairs at the Circulation Desk), verbally to a staff member, or in response to our informal surveys.

One of the two tip jars in the library. Photo credit: Librarian Mike Hitzelberger
I’m very excited to report that the library actively responds to student suggestions. For instance, one student commented about the need for computer station sanitation to prevent the spread of disease. VoilĂ ! Students now have easy access to disinfecting wipes placed throughout the computer lab area so that they can sanitize their computer station before use.
We also respond to students’ need via observation. For example, we noticed that many students wanted to use the large reading tables for study, but also needed access to an outlet to charge their laptops at those tables. The library came up with what students have called a “genius” solution – attaching outlets (including USB charging ports) to the tables.

A group of students using the charging station while they study.
A request that has been received from a few of our students is for the library to stay open 24/7. Good news: we already are! The library’s online collections can be accessed by any Vol State student, staff, or faculty member 24/7, and these include millions of full text articles and more than 200,000 online books and videos. Additionally, our LibGuides provide instruction on the use of the library’s resources so that students can get the help they need to use library resources at any time.
As far as the physical building remaining open 24/7, there are many reasons why the idea is not feasible. I’ll name a few of the main reasons for not staying open for any 24 hour period on a regular basis: non-residential campus, security concerns, huge costs (at a minimum guess, $150,000 extra) to hire staff, and the Gallatin Campus itself officially closes at 11 pm. Perhaps the best evidence for not staying open 24/7 is the lack of demonstrated need for those hours: during our extended hours near exam times there are never more than a handful of people using the library between 10-11 pm; unfortunately, there are only a handful of students here at closing each night during our regular hours, too. I know that there will be a few students who will remain unsatisfied with this response and so I encourage these students to speak with me directly.
Sarah can be reached at 615-230-3412 or at Sarah.Smith@volstate.edu. 

No comments: