Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guest post: Setting minds at easel

To make up for such an execrably long period of silence, as mentioned in yesterday's vlog, I'm offering something new today: a guest post! Elizabeth Henry, our Electronic Resources/Instruction & Reference Librarian, had the brainwave a few weeks ago of putting up easels with large blank pads of paper and inviting people to write on them with comments about the Library. They were placed at various locations around the building, and we got quite the response!

She's written up a summary of what people had to say, as well as our responses to it all. It's very interesting reading!

Hi everyone! Remember those easels that we set up with those big pads so you could write comments about the Library? The easels had three questions total, which were:

  • I visit the Library because…
  • I like the Library because…
  • I wish the Library had…

We were thrilled to see the large number of responses! We felt it was only appropriate to give you a summary of what everyone had to say; after all, you took the time to write your thoughts!

We were glad to hear that people like to visit the Library because it’s a quiet place to study and work on assignments. There’s plenty of space here! Of course, a nice bonus is being able to bring in food and drinks to enjoy while studying -- totally understandable! I enjoy drinking and eating while reading too.

We were also pleased to see that our support for Gallaudet’s students, faculty and staff is appreciated as well! We are always more than happy to help where we can. All you have to do is come in, e-mail us, or use the chat widget on our home page -- we’re here for you!

Now, down to the nitty-gritty: How can the Library improve?

First, some people wanted longer checkout periods, maybe up to a full semester. That’s understandable. But did you know you can already have a book for an entire semester? How you ask? All you have to do is renew your books! You can do it up to three times. Our shortest borrowing period for books is up to four weeks, and if you renew it 3 times, then you can have a book for another 12 weeks for a total of 16 weeks. That’s an entire semester right there!

We set it up that way because we’re a Library -- people like to check out books from us! So we like to try to make sure that the books are available to everyone within a reasonable time. Yes, I know, it can be a pain in the neck to have to renew a book over and over, but if someone else had a book you wanted, then you’d want a fair chance at it, wouldn’t you? By the same token, if you find a book you need for class, but it's checked out to someone else and doesn't look likely to come back soon, you can ask us to place a hold on it. When that happens, the other person with the book will bring it back instead of renewing it, so you'll have a chance to use the book, too. For more information on this, just ask at the Service Desk any time!

Other people asked for more computers, and we are working on it! We are aware that there are a few issues involved with the computers, such as the long log-in times you’ll sometimes experience on our computers, plus there can be such high demand that there’s nary an available computer to be found when you visit the Library. But the good news is that we’ll be replacing many of our public computers this summer! Also, we’re looking into improving our wireless Internet signal in the basement so students with their own laptops can be more flexible in where they work.

Many people mentioned how gloomy the Library can be! Yes, we know -- the basement can get dark! Every summer, we check all the study desks in the basement to make sure the bulbs are working, and do our best to replace any burned-out bulbs both there and in the rest of the Library. Still, bulbs don’t die on schedule! If you see one and it’s causing a problem with visibility, just let someone at the Service Desk know which light needs to be replaced and we’ll happily report the problem to be taken care of as soon as possible.

Another thing we noticed is that there seems to be a lot of people who love coffee! We got a lot of requests for free coffee to be provided all semester long, or at the very least a café in the Library building.

To be frank -- I need my caffeine fix myself too! I love to get my caffeine fix by drinking mochas. Mmm! -- the truth is, I can’t figure out where we can put a café in this building, as much as I’d love one! As for providing free coffee all semester, that does sound like a pretty nice idea, but that can take a lot of money. So what we do instead is that we target the most important parts of the semester -- midterms and the last week of classes! We know our statistics really shoot up during those times of the semester, and we know students’ stress levels do too, so we try to make the coffee available when it’ll do the most good. Some people have also asked for alternatives, like tea and hot chocolate, which we think is a great idea. We’ll let you know if that suggestion will become a reality!

As for the leaks, yeah. We know about the leaks. We’ve been working on them since the day the Library opened; although they’re a fact of life, we won’t stop until they’ve been eradicated. Lots of people also had suggestions about how to improve the general feel of the building -- the color scheme, the smell, and the furniture. We’re taking all those suggestions very seriously and are already kicking around a few ideas that might see some new things in the Library this Fall!

We also noticed an odd issue with this building … vampires? Ghosts? Really? Well, I’m not so sure about the vampires, but ghosts … well, now that’s definitely a possibility. If you see any, please let me know. I’m curious about which areas they usually haunt…!

Again, we really appreciate all of the responses we got. One person actually filled two or three big pages with all of her reasons for coming in to the Library, while others had a little fun. Did you know that the word "Library" spelled backwards, is y-r-a-r-b-i-l? Some of our librarians had a hard time figuring that out! There also plenty of useful comments, concerns, ideas and suggestions on top of it all.

So we want to thank everyone who participated and had their say. You’ve been heard and listened to.

Have a great summer!

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