Toronto-Ryerson-York University TRY Conference, May 7 2013, Toronto
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Toronto-Ryerson-York University TRY Conference, May 7 2013, Toronto



Slightly expanded version of the ACRL presentation, including preliminary data from the final survey of students participating in the project.

Slightly expanded version of the ACRL presentation, including preliminary data from the final survey of students participating in the project.



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  • Good morning and introductionsWe’re going to talk today about a Personal Librarian pilot project – the first year is just wrapping up
  • 5 months from conception to implementation, which was for September 2012We used a home grown system, but with significant tweaks. We started off with with 10 piloting librarians and 1000 new students, randomly chosen. Explanation of the college system
  • So: an introduction, and a bit about what we can do -Later in October – research guides, you’re writing a paper, so there are citation management workshops, November 20 – exam season suggestions – where can you study overnight, a cool infographic called “How to study in the age of distraction”, Bella the therapy dog, FAS exam jamAlways added “use chat” after “please get in touch – emphasize could get after hours and weekend help”- A final note – come to the end of the program….remember the library is still here to help you – and Bella is back!“Library support this term” – booking a consult
  • You’ll notice we don’t have people’s name here.
  • We had a 90 minute training session, where librarians got familiar with the system and discussed ideas and expectations we (the team) wrote and sent out all of the emails – so most librarians just waited to hear from students - when the discussion is over, they fill out a feedback form
  • We had some cataloguers, some collections development people when we spoke and met with students, there was a sense that they were learning – it gave them a chance to ask questions as they worked through the process “what’s the difference between the catalogue and Summon?”
  • Of the 1000 students we got in touch with, 199 responded at least one. Two chose to leave the program. And we got about 330 unique questions – some students definitely came back a few times.
  • What were the questions? Lots of introductory stuff, then research and facilities. Never consultation with chat
  • Of the research questions – known topic, consultation/workshopThis was very interesting to me because I spent a lot of time with Klara and Amy coding Ask questions – and consultation requests are virtually unheard of – the offer is specifically put out here, and they take it.
  • Divide into project
  • Ken:We will be adding two fields into student records.The nickname field will be available so librarians can enter into student records and it will be available as merg-tag during email composition.Notes field will be used internally for librarians to record additional information about a student.
  • Slide for Rita / Ken?We will start supporting multiple groups of librarians. Each librarian groups will have their own list of students that they want to communicate with.A unique email template will be available for each group.
  • Ken:Instead of sending out all emails at once, we will be putting emails on queue to avoid system congestion when used heavily.There will be an indication bar on the screen telling you how many of you emails are sent.

Toronto-Ryerson-York University TRY Conference, May 7 2013, Toronto Toronto-Ryerson-York University TRY Conference, May 7 2013, Toronto Presentation Transcript

  • Keeping It PersonalSupporting collaboration, assessment, andefficiency in a large personal librarian pilotKen Yang, Jacqueline Whyte Appleby & Rita VineTRY Conference 2013
  • Why a Personal Librarian?• FTE of 77,000 across three campuses• 15,000 incoming freshmen each year• No common first year program
  • Another way to reach outAutomated large-scale outreachLow effort, surprising valueBetter understanding ofincoming studentsWhy a Personal Librarian?
  • How Students BenefitEngage with collectionsGet helpnavigating thesystemMeet someonewho cares andcan helpTake the next steptoward academic success
  • PL Programs at Other Places• Yale University– 5 yearsundergraduates (1100)– 16 years – Medicine• Drexel– 2600 undergraduates• Many smalleruniversities• Our own St. MikesKelly Library
  • Best Practices• Emails must bepersonalized• Email message contentand timing is important• Project works bestwhen automated– low-touch by individuallibrarians except torespond to emails
  • UTL Personal Librarian Pilot• 5 months from conception to implementation• Re-purposed a home-grown mass email system• 10 librarians, 1000 students
  • Closer connections to FAS• New connections to FAS registrar• Supported every stage of our work– Notified & encouraged students– Provided feedback on timing, emails• Access to FAS survey system• Commitment to match to anonymized GPA forassessment
  • The system
  • Email timeline• “Hello from your PL” Sept. 20• “Hello again from your PL” Oct. 29• “Exam season suggestions” Nov. 20• “Library support this term” Feb. 4• “A final note from you PL” April 5• “Final PL Survey–win a gift card!” April 8
  • What Did the Librarians Do?• 90-minutes of training, Q&A• Waited for students to contact them• Submitted online post-encounter feedback viaSoundings survey software• Challenges– September-heavy activity– Not 100% feedback loop– Post-encounter survey time consuming, redundant
  • Librarians said the PL pilot was…• a good chance to interact with students forthose not in service positions• a rewarding experience, as students did seemto learn from it• a good opportunity to see what first yearstudents know, and what they need
  • Student Participation• Unique student participants 199• Opt-outs 2• Number of questionsfielded (approx) 330
  • What’s the conversation?020406080100120140
  • Research in Detail05101520253035404550Known Topic Consultationor WorkshopGeneral Help HelpsearchingdatabaseKnown BooktitleKnownJournal title
  • Students said….
  • To what extent did your most recent interaction with your personal librarian meet your expectations?
  • Overall, how would you rate your most recent interaction with your personal librarian?
  • Based on this interaction, how likely are you to get in touch with yourpersonal librarian if you have further questions?
  • “My personal librarian was awesome!”Its a great program, I just personally neverused it because I would rather do things on myown.Although i didnt contact my librarianoften, the environment in which the librariancreated for me …reassured me that Universityof Toronto really cared for each individual.It was really great to be able to havethis service available to me throughoutmy first year. I was able to grasp howto search through the catalogues onmy own and how to find the source inthe library as well!I didnt actually contact my librarian, but Ifound comfort knowing that I had her as acontact if I ever needed her.
  • “Good job, guys!”“This experience was definitely one of thebiggest factors that helped me in my transitionfrom high school to university….”“She was great. Great programto implement, the libraries atuoft can at times be toooverwhelming. ““It was nice to knowa someone wasalways there foryou.”“It was great to havesomeone to contact when Ineeded help. Her e-mailsaround exam periods wereawesome and opened myeyes to what is available atthe University ofToronto…”“It was a very good system, andI got a lot of help from mypersonal librarian regardingfinding research for a voicepresentation. “
  • Match students’ programsof study to the rightlibrarianEmail isn’t “personal” enough / emails too genericI’m a sciencestudent so I didn’tneed a PLI didn’t use theprogram (but Iprobably shouldhave)The librarian didn’treply at all / soonenoughWished that I could meet my librarian in personRoom for Improvement
  • I was glad to have a personal librarian this yearA great deal17%Mostly20%Moderately30%Somewhat19%Not at all14%
  • Having a Personal Librarian helped meunderstand how librarians can help meA great deal18%Mostly24%Moderately22%Somewhat20%Not at all16%
  • Having a Personal Librarian made me feel like theUniversity cared about my academic success.A great deal17%Mostly29%Moderately20%Somewhat17%Not at all17%
  • I know I can get help from my PersonalLibrarian when I need it.0%Definitely43%Probably27%Possibly21%Probably Not4%Very Probably Not5%
  • I would recommend the Personal Librarianprogram to other first year students.0%Definitely33%Probably29%Possibly25%Probably Not9%Very Probably Not4%
  • Overall, the Personal Librarian program was0%Excellent19%Above Average26%Average44%Below Average6%Very Poor5%
  • So, Now What?• Expand to 2000 students, 20 librarians• Add another faculty library to testindependent administration of project• Simplify encounter feedback for librarianparticipants• Improve assessment data collection• Modest modifications to software
  • Software Modifications for Next YearAdditional fields• Nickname field for student record
  • Software Modifications for Next YearAdditional fields• Notes field for student record
  • Supporting distributed administration• Student groups outside FAS displayedindependently• Unique email template for each group– Headers and footers customizedSoftware Modifications for Next Year
  • Improved software performance and interface• Emails will be queued, and delivered from themailing queueSoftware Modifications for Next Year
  • Software Modifications for Next YearImproved software performance and interface• Progress bar indicating emails sent and emailon queue
  • What You Can Do• U of T librarians – interested in becoming aPL?• Other U of T libraries – want to join the pilot?• Ryerson and York – Questions?
  • Thank you!rita.vine@utoronto.caken.yang@utoronto.cajacqueline@scholarsportal.info