Welcome to the first issue of 3 Things for academic year 2014-15! We are excited about the coming year and 3 Things will keep you informed about what your library is up to as the year progresses. This issue profiles The Corner, a user friendly space where faculty and grad students meet and work with undergrads; a look at the wide variety of research and writing drop-in clinics being offered fall quarter; and a look at what we learned about library hours from last spring's survey.
Hosting Office Hours in The Corner
By Shevell Thibou
Learning Commons Program Coordinator
Increasingly, faculty and graduate students are holding their office hours in The Corner. Around the corner from the Info Desk, this area offers a cozy space to talk about class-related issues over complimentary tea, just a hands-reach away from many resources and services which include print collections on teaching writing and the scholarship of teaching and learning as well as a new grant writing collection.
Tristan Goldman, history faculty, shares his experience having held office hours in the space for the past three quarters: “By holding my meeting hours in the Library, I have greatly increased the number of students I am able to assist. This is due both to the number of students who meet with me because the open, public library area reduces the anxiety some students might have meeting their professor in a more private setting, and also because meeting in a more communal setting with more than one student at a time generates better discussion and better questions.”
Biology professor Paul Amuiex, also sees hosting office hours in the space as a benefit for both instructors and students saying, “Students seem to enjoy the interaction and the space, especially if there are several students. This type of interaction also helps to remove some of the awkwardness of ‘professor-student interaction’ in the confines of one's office, they naturally feel more comfortable surrounded by their peers."
Judy Pine, anthropology professor, expresses her appreciation of the central convenience too: “I love being able to physically lead a student to a research librarian and introduce them, getting them into a conversation they really need to have. I have also taken students over to the Tutoring Center, and to the Writing Center.” The Corner features lockers (with keys at the Info Desk), so grad students and faculty like professor Pine can secure their personal items when they need to step away.
The Corner can also accommodate larger group talk times such as the “Tea & Sympathy” hours anthropology professor Kathleen Saunders offers. Saunders states, “Since most of [my] students are freshmen taking their first large lecture class where my teaching persona must be the ‘sage on the stage,’ I feel that gathering at the end of a week of hard work to talk, joke, and question informally is extremely valuable. Several students who have come to my in-office office hours tell me they wouldn’t have come without experiencing Tea and Sympathy first.”
Western Libraries Offers Research Clinics!
By Rebecca Marrall
Diversity & Disability Services Librarian
Wait, what? What are Research Clinics?
Research Clinics is a new program offered by Research Consultation, a Learning Commons partner in Western Libraries. These Clinics, each of which are a half-hour long, are inquiry-and-activity sessions designed to teach attendees a research skill. Each Clinic offered will focus upon a specific library resource or research tool, and attendees can ask questions about search strategies, research management, and more. Clinics are offered every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, from 2:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. For Fall Quarter 2014, the Libraries will also offer Clinics on Wednesday, 11:15 a.m. All Clinics, unless otherwise advertised, will occur at the Collaborative Mediascape Table within the Learning Commons on the second floor of Wilson Library.
Students, staff, and faculty are welcome to join us! You can learn more about:
Article Databases: Learn more about the article databases at Western Libraries, including common features, search strategies, and easy search tips.
Google Search + Scholar: Learn how to maximize your Google Search and Google Scholar experience. At this session, you will learn about site command, search tips and tricks, and how to use Google Scholar successfully.
Heritage Resources: Students, staff, and faculty will learn how to find and use primary sources available in the collections of Western’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives.
Map Collection: Take a trip around the World! Come tour and explore some of the unique resources available this collection has to offer. Whether you’re a travel enthusiast, history buff, or just curious about geography – we have something for everyone!
Zotero: Need a better research management tool? Learn about Zotero, the free software, and how you can create an account to begin maximizing your research experience.
And much more!
What about OneSearch, the Libraries new catalog and discovery platform?
In addition to the Research Clinics, the OneSearch Management Team – a working group devoted to hearing user concerns and improving the Libraries catalog – will offer several Clinics on how to navigate and maximize OneSearch. Attendees can expect to learn about search strategies, features in the Patron Account, and much more. Additionally, these Clinics will be taught by the Chair of the OneSearch Management Team, Rebecca Marrall. Thus, any feedback garnered from attendees will be shared directly with the OneSearch Management Team.
What We Learned About Library Hours & Quiet Spaces
By Frank Haulgren, Western Libraries Facilities and Assessment
In May of 2014 a survey of library users was conducted as part of our three year assessment cycle. The Libraries Facilities Survey provided information about how students and others use library spaces. This year questions were added to explore user satisfaction with the library hours.
Of particular interest among the survey data and comments were those having to do with hours and study spaces.
HOURS: We hear anecdotally at service points and via written comment that library hours “need to be extended.” Survey data helped clarify this perceived need. We asked respondents how satisfied they are with current hours and then offered some “what if” options.
Bottom line is this. The level of satisfaction with current hours of operation is very strong. On a 5 point scale 90% of those responding (N=1,347) rated satisfaction with core Monday through Thursday hours at 4.6. Overall satisfaction, including the weekends, was rated at 3.9. This data confirms that, while not ideal for everyone, our current hours effectively meet the needs of most library users.
Given both the data gathered, and the complexities of expanding hours and services, library hours will remain the same and we will continue to monitor this issue.
QUIET STUDY: Comments indicated a need for better compliance in designated “quiet study” areas. The data shows this is a complicated problem. Individual study is the most reported use of library spaces, but patrons also place a high level of importance on the availability of collaborative work areas. When asked about the importance of various services and functions “Space to work individually” (4.6 on a 1-5 scale) and “Space to work collaboratively” (4.3) were nearly identical.
That both kinds of working spaces are so important to students presents a challenge for both the Libraries and those that use the facility. Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, often considered the father of library science, wrote, “Every reader his or her book. Every book its reader.” But in the 21st century we must also be able to say: For every studier his or her space, and for every space a studier.
The job of the Libraries’ continues to be clearly identifying quiet and collaborative spaces. But users have a role too. Research has shown that enforcing “quiet” is best accomplished when users take ownership of quiet space and shush by example and peer pressure.
When such enforcement is inadequate the Libraries’ staff can be asked to assist. If at first you don’t succeed… contact a service point.
Learning Commons INFO Desk: 650-3094
Circulation Services: 650-3084