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Listening to Users: The Role of Assessment in Changing Library Space to Meet User Needs. ARL Library Assessment Conference September 26, 2006 Kimberly Sweetman & Lucinda Covert-Vail. Today’s Presentation. NYU Bobst Library renovation Assessment measures Outcomes

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Listening to users the role of assessment in changing library space to meet user needs

Listening to Users: The Role of Assessment in Changing Library Space to Meet User Needs

ARL Library Assessment ConferenceSeptember 26, 2006

Kimberly Sweetman & Lucinda Covert-Vail


Today s presentation
Today’s Presentation

  • NYU Bobst Library renovation

  • Assessment measures

  • Outcomes

  • Assessment measure repurposing

  • Creating a culture of assessment

  • Conclusion


Why

  • LibQual+ results

  • Multiple assessments

  • Public culture of libraries

  • Users define the space - interactions, activities

  • Consultative, iterative process

  • Public relations, user outreach


Bobst library renovation

Renovation opened Fall 2004

4 floors renovated

User spaces w/undergraduate focus

Staff spaces

Reference center

Features

24X7

Group study rooms

Wireless

Computer classrooms/labs

Consultation rooms

ADA compliance

Bobst Library Renovation


User assessment
User Assessment

  • Web-based user preference surveys (pre and post renovation)

  • User activity survey

  • Advisory and focus groups

  • LibQual + -- 2002 and 2006


User preference survey 1

Developed in conjunction with architectural firm

Posted on library website

Pre-renovation

Focused on specifics of library use

Sought opinions on

Preferred workspace

Visual environment

Privacy & security

Navigation & signage

Lighting & acoustics

Furnishings & equipment

Library ambience

User Preference Survey #1


User preference results
User Preference Results

  • 330+ respondents “self-reported” their preferences

  • 61% students & 24% faculty

  • Primarily daily or weekly library users

  • 45% indicated library DID NOT meet their needs

  • Technology --wireless, power outlets

  • Food

  • Group and individual use

  • Library personality: quiet, comfortable, clean,well-lighted space


User activity survey

Self-reporting v. observation

Anecdotal, staff opinions

Library as social space

Relation between users & physical environment

Tools for working, studying

Spatial analysis

Observational sweeps 3 times/day

Variables including seating, location, possessions, activities

Design & pretest

Multitasking

Furniture choices

Group v. individual

User Activity Survey


Focus advisory groups

Bobst Renovation Advisory Committee -Students, faculty & librarians

PSAC & FAS Library Advisory Committee

Undergraduate & graduate focus groups

Test conclusions from observation studies

Review LibQual results

Test layouts, furniture, technology conclusions

Naming conventions

Focus & Advisory Groups


Design issues
Design Issues librarians

  • Value-engineering

  • Physical layout

    • seating arrangements

    • social v. individual, solitary space

    • study space

  • Technology access

  • General ambience/environment

  • User preferences and behaviors

  • Lighting


Post renovation assessments
Post-renovation Assessments librarians

  • Revised web survey - service improvements, added power, food choices, outreach

  • LibQual+ 2006 - shift in library as place perception

  • Exit data

  • User activity observation study


Repurposing the user activity study
Repurposing the User Activity Study librarians

  • Quality of Life Committee (QLC)

    • Summer 2004

    • Charge included developing new food, drink and cell phone tolerance policies

    • Charge included assessment and adjustment


Repurposing the user activity study1
Repurposing the User Activity Study librarians

  • QLC had not taken baseline measurements

  • User Activity Study served as an acceptable baseline

    • Instances of food and drink lumped together as “rulebreaking”

    • Cell phone baseline not comparable, but cell phone use not problematic




User activity study changes

Original librarians

Seating Type

Group Work

Library Materials

Personal Materials

Computer Use

Eating/Drinking

Cell Phone (possession)

Repurposed

Seating Type

Eating

Drinking (covered)

Drinking (uncovered)

Cell Phone Use

Notes

User Activity Study Changes


Qlc uas results
QLC UAS Results librarians

  • Library use in renovated areas increased 35%

  • Users complied with cell phone policies

  • Food and drink non-compliance reduced in most areas as a result of new policy and QLC efforts

  • Overall instances of food and drink rule-breaking reduced from 20% to 13%


Qlc outcomes
QLC Outcomes librarians

  • QLC became a standing committee

  • QLC has continued assessment activities & adjusted campaign

  • Roving Library Assistants hired

  • Additional benches installed in cell phone approved areas

  • QLC one example of our move toward a culture of assessment


Toward a culture of assessment
Toward a Culture of Assessment librarians

Work-Groups teach measurement & assessment methods to staff while bringing people together around a “problem.”

Examples:

-Study the efficacy of the book search process

-Plan a project to install security tags in 600,000 volumes

-Plan the Roving Library Assistant program

-Plan a departmental open house


Towards a culture of assessment
Towards a Culture of Assessment librarians

WG Outcomes: Not only do problems get solved, but early data suggest that as a result of participating in a work group:

  • Staff develop an appreciation for using data to make decisions

  • Staff are more comfortable approaching coworkers they met through a work group

  • Some staff are more comfortable approaching coworkers in general, even those they did not meet through the work group


Conclusion
Conclusion librarians

  • Renovation was a success

    • Bobst Library received the 2005 class legacy gift

    • “Light, state-of-the-art and most importantly, inviting…[and] so far, NYU has gotten it just right.”

      • WashingtonSquare News


Conclusion1
Conclusion librarians

We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us

--Winston Churchill


Conclusion2
Conclusion librarians

  • We not only improved our space, but also began to improve our library culture:

    • We learned how to listen to our users

    • We learned how to critically evaluate our programs and services

    • We learned the value of using data to inform decisions

    • We are slowly but surely spreading these lessons throughout the library

    • Staff involvement in renovation, QLC and work groups has both helped to change our culture and evidenced our changing culture


Conclusion3
Conclusion librarians

To Paraphrase Winston Churchill:

We asked users to help us to shape our building, now they are helping to shape everything we do.


Listening to users
Listening to Users librarians

Thank You

Kimberly Burke Sweetman [email protected]

Lucinda Covert-Vail [email protected]


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