Presentation info: Adapt or die. It's a mantra we hear, but libraries have always been about change. The key now is to be in the driver's seat. Librarians from Carroll University will discuss four ways they have embraced change: 1) a workflows assessment to analyze staff duties, 2) a ʺkindness auditʺ to examine barriers to library services, 3) an enhanced patron count to determine how to best utilize library space, and 4) a survey to report how students use the library. Combined, these initiatives position the library as a change maker. Learn about these practices and take the wheel to share your experiences with change, too!
Bear with me: Since our theme is “Driving Change” and we are here in Elkhart Lake, I decided to go with a car theme for my slides today. I’ve been a librarian since 2003 and that one thing I’ve felt that has been constant is CHANGE. There’s new resources, new ideas to try, things to do differently. To me, libraries have always been about change and adaptation. But are we RE-ACTING to change? Or are we trying to ANTICIPATING it. When university administration comes knocking and asks what have we been doing do we have the EVIDENCE to back up the changes we’ve been making? That’s an important question to answer.
Our roadmap on driving change: Workflows Assessment to analyze staff duties Kindness Audit to examine barriers that our patrons face in receiving library services Enhanced Patron Count: determine how to utilize library space Survey: figuring out what our students need How we have implemented some changes based off of our evidence collected and what we would like to do next
Carroll University First, a little bit about Carroll University: We’re in Waukesha (aka the “the ‘sha”) 3,503 students Top Majors: Exercise Science, Nursing, Psychology, Biology, Business Administration Over 50% of our students major in the health sciences or sciences
Last year, the university made a concerted effort to look at “change” Brought in guest speakers and consultants to meet with faculty and staff The demographics of Wisconsin are changing. Fewer high school graduates What does this mean for an institution that draws 70% of its students from in-state? Was assigned a book that all employees should read: The library realized that a healthy university is a healthy library and we needed to anticipate change much better The university is thinking about change, so what have we been doing? We began by looking at our staffing
Library Staffing 2011 - a staff of 9
Library Staffing 2015 - a staff of 7.5 Down 1.5 people Infolit classes taught continue to rise. Research questions rise because we possibly keep better statistics now, but definitely we are trending to the more “in-depth” research consultations.
After our library director left, who also doubled as our Digital Projects Librarian and Archivist, we had to divvy up all of her job responsibilities amongst the staff Our university, I’m guessing like most now, don’t operate under an automatic replacement when someone leaves or retires. That position goes back into the big pot and a case needs to be made. So that leads me to the first activity we did
Workflows Assessment What is it? It’s a listing of job duties and activities Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Semi-Annual, etc... Asks staff to focus on what they do What they would like to spend more time on And anything they think they should invest less time on Why did we do a Workflows Assessment? To ensure a workload balance among staff. Some people looked overworked. We wanted to make sure everyone was ok. To answer the question: Are we really doing what we need to be doing? The Workflows Assessment gave us tangible evidence to give to administrators that YES -- we are doing what we need to be doing
Workflows Assessment Before you begin a Workflows Assessment: Staff buy-in is key Need to emphasize that this is an ASSESSMENT, not an EVALUATION -- It’s not something to be thought of a punitive It’s a chance to think CREATIVELY and be open to potential OPPORTUNITIES Especially in the time of working at budget-conscious higher ed institutions, this is important. We did ours a year AFTER budget cuts. Probably would not have been perceived well DURING budget cuts
Workflows AssessmentSo what does it look like?
Workflows Assessment (continued)
Workflows Assessment What did we learn? In several cases we discovered we had no real back-ups For example, if the databases were down and our Electronic Resources Librarian was away, no one else knew what to do. For me, no one else knew how to edit the website if I was away I’m one of 2 of librarians who are the primary “front line” librarians for our popular instant message chat service - around 1 in 5 research questions come through our chat box We are logged onto the system during their entire work day. But we also felt like we were shouldering an undue burden of the workload So now the other librarians log into the chat system as well Delegating Something that I need to be better at! We have part-time Evening and Weekend Supervisors who can be trained for extra projects. Llet’s utilize their positions more effectively. What to let go of: For me: Library Displays. A student worker can do this tasks. We need more tutorials and learning objects, we need to be better integrated into the course management system, but the Workflows Assessment tells us we just don’t have the staff for it. This evidence is also how when our Health Sciences Librarian announced her retirement for this summer, that the university administration did realize that in this case, an automatic replacement was appropriate. Over 50% of our students major in the health sciences--so the Health Sciences Librarian is absolutely vital to student success.
With the Workflows Assessment concerned with the staff side of things, it was now time to focus on the end-user Let’s begin with the Kindness Audit
Kindness Audit What is it? It’s about taking a concerted effort to look at your library with fresh eyes and experience it as a new user It’s taking a look at things such as wayfinding, signage, library spaces, and furniture It’s asking things like: Are the service desks welcoming? What obstacles do our users encounter? First introduced to kindness audits back in 2013 when I completed a MOOC on the “Hyperlinked Library” from San Jose State University It’s something that I have been able to replicate in my workplace and has made positive changes in our environment
Kindness Audit How is it conducted? Can be conducted by employees or students. I recommend both because both groups of users are going to see different things. As an employee, it can sometimes be hard to visualize the library with as a fresh pair of eyes. Students will give you that fresh perspective that you need. The process: Whether it’s an employee or a student, have them use the camera on their smartphone, or give them a camera, or have them use a tablet. Walk through the library and take pictures of things that fall into the categories of: Things I like Things I don’t like Things that surprise me Things that confuse me Things I have questions about or want to know more about When I did a kindness audit, I used brand new student workers - most of whom were first-year students and new to campus.
Kindness Audit Instructions I gave to students. I didn’t want to give to many directives, like “start in the lobby” and work your way to the “reading room” etc… Instead, I gave suggestions on what they might want to focus on (e.g., furniture, signs, technology).
Kindness Audit “Things I don’t like” Can’t have food/drink in parts of the library
Kindness Audit “Things I don’t like” Not enough outlets
Kindness Audit “Things I don’t like” “Why do we have gendered single-stall restrooms?”
Kindness Audit “Things I don’t like” Confusing signage Random (and not very comfortable) beanbags Call Numbers (“I know this is how you find books, but I don’t know how it works.”) Printing (no instructions for printing) - we have a print release station where you swipe your ID but no instructions, not just first-year students who don’t know “Uncomfortable” looking furniture
Kindness Audit “Things that confuse me” Contradictory noise level stickers Copier/scanner. “I didn’t know you could use it to scan for free.” No instructions.
Kindness Audit “Things that surprise me” “That you don’t have to reshelve anything.” “That the library classroom furniture is all movable.”
Kindness Audit “Things I have questions about” Microfilm Reader: “What does this machine do?” Curriculum Materials Collection: “What items are available for checkout?”
Kindness Audit “Things I like” I was surprised: Noise Levels - “I like that there’s a place to go depending on what I need to do.”
Kindness Audit “Things I like” Study cubbies - most popular place for solo studying “That you can get research help” - for some first-year students, it’s a new concept
Kindness Audit “Things I like” Reading Room - “like that there is still a place for silent study.” “Friendly workers”
Kindness Audit “Things I like” “All the weird art in the library.” I prefer the term whimsical. Rotating library announcements on our plasma screen in the library lobby “Places to meet groups and use the technology.”
Kindness Audit Changes Converted the gendered single-occupancy restrooms to gender neutral Upgraded to a user-friendly “vacant/in-use” lock--like what you see on aircraft lavatories
Kindness Audit Changes Library Classroom is a popular group study space when not in use for library sessions Default set-up was not conducive to group study Changed the default set-up Can now use all of the technology - such as the smartboards - that are in the Library Classroom
Kindness Audit Changes Library Classroom had suffered from lack of use We now keep the door open Student worker who was situated at the front of Library Classroom to do equipment checkouts was moved to the door to provide a welcoming experience Now a popular study space
Kindness Audit Changes More outlets Also added some USB ports. Those are popular. Added outlets to the tables in the Reading Room (shown here)
Kindness Audit Changes Group Study Rooms - popular, but had not-so-friendly furniture Odd trapezoid shaped tables which were hard to maneuver around were replaced with round tables from another department that was switching out tables
Kindness Audit My office I have a fishbowl office with interior windows on two sides. “Why don’t people come ask me questions?” - I had my blinds down. Had to give up privacy, keep my blinds up--and now I get many research questions. The great thing about the kindness audit is that it was mostly low-cost or even no-cost options
Enhanced Patron Count and Student Survey These two items were done in tandem I’ll explain each one and then provide an overview of what we learned and changes that were made
Enhanced Patron Count Why did we do this? The university had administered a survey to students. Unbeknownst to us there was a question about the library. Students, on the survey, were rather vague. The feedback was they they wanted “more” or “different” spaces in the library. So without much concrete info to go one, we decided to investigate further We do regular, hourly patrons counts in the library It’s just simply counting x number of people in a specific space (e.g., like the Information Commons, Reading Room, or Group Study Rooms) The Enhanced Patron Count took it a step further
Enhanced Patron Count The enhanced patron count: Built upon our traditional patron count which records the number of people in a specific space in the library, by also including: The activities that people are doing And whether they are solo or in groups Goal: To figure out how people are studying or socializing in the library How did we do it? Student workers and staff took turns going through each area of the library and counting patrons and detailing activity We used iPads that were bookmarked with a Qualtrics survey form that we used to enter data Conducted in Spring 2016 - running from late March through early May Conducted hourly
Enhanced Patron Count Library was divided into 9 areas: Record each solo person or group (2 or more) And what they were doing More than one category could be applicable If three students were on laptops, talking, and eating they were considered: Computer-group Socializing Eating/drinking Data entered into the Qualtrics form on our iPads Basic findings: Our student population is split about equally into thirds: One-third use a quiet study space like the Reading Room One-third use a place where you can have academic conversations and get help like the Information Commons One-third use a noisy place like the coffee shop So we feel good that we have spaces to match student needs The traditional Reading Room - something that university administrators have questioned - is actually quite popular midday and then again in the evening. It’s the only silent study space in the library. Our Information Commons, while not the largest computing area on campus, is the busiest Our collaborative workstations we have set up for groups are rarely used for groups - They prefer to bring their own devices
Enhanced Patron Count Additional staff observations In addition to the hourly enhanced patron count, library staff were assigned specific areas of the library to do a more in-depth analysis Sort of an ethnographic, anthropologic study. As an example: I was assigned the Curriculum Materials Collection - which is one of my coordination areas in the library - and it also happens to be a space with a lot of study tables. Questions focused on: Library Materials Are library materials being used? Furniture What kinds of workspaces exist? What type of seating is in the area? Could the furniture be arranged more efficiently? Would you recommend different types of furniture? Technology (computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, printers) Is technology being used in your space? What types? What types of actions are students performing with the technology? Are students actively charging their own devices? Infrastructure How is the lighting? Outlet availability? Condition of the floors and walls? Temperature? - a constant concern for us. Noise Level What is the noise level supposed to be in your area? What noise level are students using in your area? Does noise bleed from other areas? Students How many students are in the area? What are they doing? Are they working in groups or individually? Observations from me in the Curriculum Materials Collection: One student had found an old (and apparently working) network cable and was using it in her laptop. I happened to know the student so I approached her and explained what I was doing. That’s when she told me the wifi was poor in this portion of the building. Another student had taken three hardback chairs, because that’s the only style in that area, and had fashioned an uncomfortable looking couch out of them Lots of solo studiers liked using the big study tables and spreading out all of their materials. So I made a note of that too.
Student Survey Goes hand in hand with the Enhanced Patron Count Another effort to gather student feedback to make changes. Administered in Spring 2016. Worked with the university’s Institutional Research office to randomly select 800 students (first-year students thru grad students). Responses from 94 students = response rate of approx. 12%
Student Survey Qualtrics survey that was sent to students Our collaborative process lead to 70 questions - which is probably too much, might pare that down for future Questions fell into 7 areas: General Building Library Physical Materials Library Electronic Materials Library Technology/Equipment Furniture Learning in the Library Noise Level
Student Survey What did we find out? When we asked students what they felt was the purpose of the library--an open-ended question, they told us: A place to study A place to focus A place to complete academic work A place to be productive A place to meet up with people A place to research This helps us guide our thinking in the changes we implement
Student Survey Is there anything in the Library that prevents you from completing your academic work effectively? Not enough space A class in the Library Classroom Group study rooms are not sound proofed Not enough quiet areas, not enough sound enforcement in quiet areas Squeaky chairs Weak wi-fi (in Curriculum Materials Collection) Opens too late on Saturday & Sunday mornings Not enough whiteboards
Changes Changes made based on the Enhanced Patron Count and Student Survey
Changes Comment: “Whiteboards everywhere!” Whiteboard table has proved to be really popular
Changes Comfy, lounge furniture: These bean bags are from Ultimate Sack.
Changes We had very little soft seating. A lot of traditional, hardback chairs. Bought padded, rolling chairs--some with arms, some without Also invested in some more couch-style seating Added many more power outlets to the Reading Room
Changes Water filtration station. Waukesha has naturally occurring radium in its city water. Authorities say it’s safe, but a lot of people avoid it. We installed a water filtration station.
Changes Had a request for microwave & refrigerator Still discussing microwave, but refrigerator we were able to get Added one additional group study room. To address noise issue: Soundproofed all group study rooms. How did we all do this? This is not in the library’s budget. The university holds a lot of funds until towards the end of the fiscal year and then they dole them out to departments on campus like it’s Christmas. Doing things like the Enhanced Patron Count and the Student Survey, we have a ready-made “wishlist”--and the evidence to back it up--when money comes our way.
Changes Continue to refresh furniture. With the exception of our traditional Reading Room, most other furniture will trend to a movable/mobile style. Our 3D printing services has proven popular. Based off of the survey we had request for workshops, so I that’s something I will need to implement. Color Printing - despite being a centrally located - and busy - campus building, we do not have one. We now have statistics and evidence from students to demonstrate the need. Assessment - we have collected a lot of data now on space and facilities. We are ready to move on to student learning. Yes, we want our student to learn and to be information fluent, but it also helps prove the value of the library. And that’s more data that we can take to our administrators.
Happy to take your questions Also, would love for you to share ideas you have
No More Cruise Control: Driving Change with Students, Staff, and Space
Driving Change with
Students, Staff, and Space Photos courtesy of Pixabay - Creative
Commons, no attribution required,
unless otherwise noted.
● Director duties: BRITTANY
● Liaison duties (Research assistance, Info Lit, Collection Development:
○ Art: SUSAN
○ Graphic Communication: NANCY
○ Music: JOE
○ Theatre: BRITTANY
○ Photography: SUE
● Archives: SUE
● ContentDM sys admin: JOE
● Website: JOE
● Digital signage/web graphics: JOE
● WebOPAC sys admin: NANCY
● Security Cameras: BRITTANY
● Patron Count Records: CAROLE
● Reserves: CAROLE
Impact of the loss
of one position
we do this?
● General Building
● Physical Materials
● Electronic Materials
● Library Technology
● Learning in the
● Noise Level
What did we
What do you feel is the purpose of
the library in your life?
● A place to study
● A place to focus
● A place to complete academic
● A place to be productive
● A place to meet up with people
● A place to research
Anything in the Library that
prevents you from completing
your academic work effectively?