October 25, 2011, 10:23 pm
July 27, 2011, 5:19 pm
The exterior of my library building is quite boring. Function triumphed form with each addition that was added over the years. My campus has some very intriguing architecture, but the library would be low on the list if there were an official ranking. Granted we’re attempting to change that very soon, but for now it is forgettable facade, despite being the tallest building on campus. I believe that this is common occurrence with many older buildings—we can all be envious of the newer structures that patrons find inspiring.
I was pondering this problem as I walked to a meeting across campus. What do each of the buildings say to me as I encounter them? What impression does the exterior of the library make on new students or visiting families? As they tour the campus or during the first week of the quarter when they are excited about classes and meeting new people – what is their…
June 5, 2011, 11:50 am
It seems I’ve been advocating defending the concept of the academic library lately. Different people respond to different attributes, so I’ve developed this framework to help express the narrative. I call it N3P3.
- NATURAL. A natural place where scholars gather. They offer the materials, tools, and learning spaces that enable people to access, discover, use, and share information.
- NURTURING. A nurturing environment that promotes academic success. Librarians and staff are there to provide assistance with research and technical support. The space also promotes collaboration, enabling peer-to-peer mentoring and group work.
- NEUTRAL. An open and inviting destination on campus. It encourages exposure to interdisciplinary encounters and freedom to relax and reflect. Everyone is welcome to use the library.
- PRODUCTIVE. An atmosphere that generates…
February 10, 2011, 2:10 pm
UCSB is a very outdoors oriented campus. If you put a university on the beach I guess that’s what happens. Everyone rides bikes and there is a skateboard lane too. With nice weather year around it makes sense that students want to be outside.
I realized that we needed to do some external (outside our buildings) marketing. It is part of the culture here to drape and plaster signs & posters everywhere along paths and I wanted us to be a part of that.
I’ll skip the assessment and composition process, (read the book!) and just say that I discovered a handful of basic library services that needed more exposure— combined with a need to reenergize or actually clarify our campus brand. A large portion of our students have a narrow view of what the library is and so one of the tactics I wanted to explore is external signage.
We developed what we call our THINK LIBRARY campaign. (Ok, …
January 18, 2011, 9:53 am
Like many campuses we do a “one book” program every year. We purchase a ton of print copies, host a variety events, activities, and exhibits, and bring in the author for a public lecture. We also work with our local public library system and schools (including high schools) to push a common reading experience and dialogue around a thought-provoking interdisciplinary topic. (campus press release)
Last week we kicked off our event by giving away 2,000+ plus print copies. In less than 3 hours we gave away 1,700 books. Before we started there were several hundred students (and some faculty) waiting in line. This is the fifth year of the program and it is great to see people get excited about receiving a book. I’ve enjoyed walking around campus and seeing those bright orange book covers everywhere I look.
This time around I wanted to dabble with something a little different and so…
January 10, 2011, 10:59 am
Outreach and engagement can be quite subjective. What one librarian calls outreach another might call instruction and still another public relations. I’m not going to try and establish a shared nomenclature right now—I’m just going to share my perspective in a graphical manner:
This image was a result from a planning session for the year ahead. I want our librarians and staff to think collectively about what we do and what we are striving to do. Obviously building and maintaining collections, offering assistance services, and providing space and tools for productivity and reflection is our core. But around that core is a vague layer of activities that are hard to describe.
What I’ve tried to do here is create target buckets of these activities with the objective of offering something related to each category once a quarter for each of our primary user groups: undergrads,…
December 16, 2010, 12:02 pm
This is another concept from my whiteboard sessions:
When I talk about outreach and marketing and related promotional matters— people often think that I am working just to drive up business… increase volume. That's not always the case… or rather, that's not the sole purpose. Our reference librarians would probably be upset if I brought in 10,000 more questions a year. Our reserves staff probably couldn't handle a doubling of materials from faculty.
My goal is not to just increase usage, but rather, to see it as a step toward a larger purpose. It's not to help patrons become better users of the library. Nor is it to design a satisfying library experience. Ultimately… my goal… right now… is to build pride in the library. Building a brand.
It's bowl season and there is all this mounting school pride channeled via football teams (UCF upsets UGA, you read it…
December 7, 2010, 10:20 am
So the whole pyramid thing… An Assistant Dean turned me on to them. We were talking in my office and he saw my white board– we chatted about the engagement theory and he mentioned that over in Career Services they explored a similar concept based on services. In a nutshell, they offer a hierarchy of services attempting to match different student needs:
A student might come in and need help with a resume. While she might just need a handout describing formatting, she could be directed to a career planning professional. This might be similar to a patron asking where BF637.T5 A45 2001 is located. Rather than giving him a floor plan or directing him to the BF range, it would be like setting up an appointment with a subject librarian.
The sense I got from the Career Services example is that their model is directly tied to expenses. It costs them a lot in terms of salary and time to sit…
December 6, 2010, 4:05 pm
I’ve had this sketch on my whiteboard for most of the fall term.
What I am really interested in is the evolution of a patron’s relationship to their library over the course of time.
In theory – as they accumulate different blocks of experience using our services their sophistication and commitment should increase. So perhaps during their first visit they use it as a study space, then the next time they use a computer, and then next they browse the popular fiction section.
I put this concept into a pyramid to create a better visual. Just ignore the degree of spacing, this is meant more to illustrate progression rather then to accurately chart user behavior:
Ok, so you start with the easiest and most primitive level of service: study space. This could be a cubical or something more designer. This is the greatest entry point because it is accommodating and requires…