Archive for June, 2014

Understanding the Library Customer

Libraries have a special relationship with their buildings. They offer inspiring spaces to read and learn; quiet areas for contemplation and reflection. They offer breakthrough services such as innovation labs, iLabs and learning commons (ex. research inspiring library spaces). So, how do we get more from our library buildings? How do we create better communication plans that translate into new investments?

According to Innovative library services “in the wild”, only 30% of the population know about their local public library. More importantly, another 20% don’t know very much about the value of the library at all. We note that the library’s fortunes are built on communicating and understanding their customer.

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When every library patron is viewed as a new customer, big opportunities are possible. During our library planning workshop at Steelcase Worklife in NYC, the group got a chance to dream about the future and visualize real solutions. They talked about the library’s need to transform and improve access. They discussed the need to create a marketing plan to communicate new types of library services.

The workshop provided a foundation for discussion about the library of the future and the needs of the library customer. Let us know what kind of relationship your library has with the public and building space through our survey for academic and public libraries.

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Nomads of the Academic Library

At colleges across the county,  there are many students and teachers who feel as if they are part of a nomadic tribe rather than being an integrated part of the academic community. Reflecting on the current state of higher education, this is especially true for non-traditional students and adjunct faculty members. Like many other nomadic people, non-traditional students and adjuncts do not have a continual space to call their own and, more often than not, they have to adapt to infertile climates and move on in order to subsist.

We believe it is time for the academic library to embrace non-traditional students and adjunct faculty to support collaborative work. For example, adjunct faculty are increasingly responsible for a majority of courses taught at community colleges in the United States. They teach non-traditional students who also need space to build skills for new jobs and careers. Together these groups represent a growing need for higher learning space.

According to a recent report created by the Center for Community College Student Engagement: “Colleges depend on part-time faculty to educate more than half of their students, yet they do not fully embrace these faculty members. Because of this disconnect, contingency can have consequences that negatively affect student engagement and learning.” Indeed, the academic library provides a space for non-traditional learners, as well as adjunct faculty and researchers who can use these new types of makerspaces for specialty knowledge building.

As a crucial part of sustaining the economic stability of universities across the county, and community college libraries in particular, the nomadic existence that non-traditional students. adjuncts, and many other types of researchers, experience is problematic. We see the big issues with this current system as being primarily two-fold:

  • How is this system affecting student learning and retention?
  • How is this system affecting expectations and best practice for higher education?

Without space, time and incentive, oftentimes the relationship between non-traditional students and adjunct faculty is highly transactional. One has to ask: Can libraries offer a solution?

  • The academic library provides space for knowledge building activities.
  • The academic library provides digital access to electronic resources.
  • The academic library provides specialist librarians who offer research assistance.

The library can alleviate some of the strain that affects both adjunct faculty and the students that they teach. Whether it is embedded librarianship, research tutorials, directed learning activities or just being a space where students and faculty can meet face-to-face, the library and librarians are helping to shape the relationship between adjunct faculty and the traditional and non-traditional student population for the better.

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Building Holistic Library Assessment: Space + Collections = Effective Service

As libraries face the challenge of defining new spaces for students, assessment of collections, especially e-resources, plays a pivotal role in re-configuring spaces and establishing new services. LLAMA MAES and LLAMA BES are co-sponsoring a panel discussion to address assessment of collections, service, and space to create a holistic approach to library design. Panel participants are Laura Newton Miller, Collections, EResources and Serials Librarian at Carleton University, who will discuss appropriate methods to assess library collections, including transitioning from print to eresources; Alex Cohen from Alex Cohen Associates will discuss methods of space assessment to transform libraries into functional and efficient facilities; and, Danuta Nitecki, Dean of Libraries at Drexel University, will discuss how her library transitioned to a student-centered service model with a new learning terrace and personal librarian service.

PROGRAM DATE/TIME
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING
Saturday, June 28thfrom 1-2:30 in Caesar’s Palace Roman IV room.

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