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Undergraduate Use and Expectations of CU Boulder Libraries


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This was a project for my LI811 class, we conducted an intensive community assessment of the undergraduate population at the University of Colorado at Boulder. We used focus groups, surveys, existing data, and observational study to gather a comprehensive picture of undergraduate library usage and needs.

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Undergraduate Use and Expectations of CU Boulder Libraries

  1. 1. Undergraduate Use and Expectations of the Libraries at CU-Boulder
  2. 2. <ul><li>28,942 on-campus degree-seeking students, 85% undergraduates </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries system includes Norlin Library and 5 branches: Business, Engineering, Earth Sciences/Maps, Math/Physics, and Music </li></ul><ul><li>Library system divided into 3 divisions, Administrative Services, Public Services, and Technical Services </li></ul><ul><li>Around 20 Librarians gave 890 instruction sessions to 14,624 students </li></ul>
  3. 3. Outreach and Assessment <ul><li>Inform </li></ul><ul><li>Measure </li></ul>Assessment Committee: To foster a culture of evidence-based practice, the Libraries Assessment Committee will promote and initiate ways by which measurement and evaluation can be integrated into existing library management practices.
  4. 4. 2006 Strategic Plan: Client-Centered Focus <ul><li>Goal 2: Improve the experiences of clients by fostering a culture of continual, assessment-based action and by actively promoting our services. </li></ul><ul><li>Objective 1: Identify and evaluate new services that support clients’ changing information needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Objective 2: Implement continual assessment of client needs, and modify services to respond to those needs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities: Develop a system-wide assessment plan. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assess website usage. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objective 3: Expand the Libraries’ promotional program for services and collections. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Activities: Create a new marketing plan for new and emerging services. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Surveys: The Plan <ul><li>Survey Monkey </li></ul><ul><li>-MySpace </li></ul><ul><li>-Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>-CU Libraries News & Events Web Page </li></ul><ul><li>-YourHub </li></ul><ul><li>Orientation Survey </li></ul>
  6. 8. Orientation Survey Questions 1) When you’ve needed to do research for a homework assignment, where do you typically begin? 2) Have you used your high school or public library for research? 3)What would be the best way for the Libraries to tell you about our events, products, and services that can help you succeed at CU?
  7. 9. <ul><li>68% of students use Google to begin their search for information for a homework assignment. Only 11% of students start their search at the library. </li></ul><ul><li>More than 91% of students used their high school or public library for research. </li></ul><ul><li>20% of students completing the survey said Facebook and Buff Bulletins were the best way to reach them about events, products and services the library offers. </li></ul>Orientation Survey Results
  8. 10. Survey Monkey Questions <ul><li>When you need to do research for a class, where do you turn? Select all that apply. </li></ul><ul><li>When you need to research fun/personal interests, where do you turn? </li></ul><ul><li>If applicable, where else do you conduct research? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you use the library? Select all that apply. </li></ul><ul><li>How would you like to learn about library services and events? Select all that apply. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the best thing about the library? Text field for comments. </li></ul><ul><li>What would you like to see the library try or improve? Text field for comments. </li></ul>
  9. 11. Survey Monkey Results <ul><li>Research Sites: </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet, Electronic Databases, Library, Personal Library, “My Memory” </li></ul><ul><li>Library Use: </li></ul><ul><li>Research (81.8%), Study (72.7%), Tech Access (54.6%) </li></ul><ul><li>In the Know: </li></ul><ul><li>Buff Bulletins (70%), CU Connect (60%), Personal E-Mail (60%) </li></ul><ul><li>Library Bests: </li></ul><ul><li>Atmosphere, Collections, Staff </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements: </li></ul><ul><li>More Talking, Less Talking, More Staff, Longer Hours, Turn off the Lights </li></ul>
  10. 12. Data Analysis <ul><li>LibQUAL 2002 & 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Information Technology Strategic Plan 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Colorado Academic Library Statistics 2002 & 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Brief Report of Student Survey of Educational Technology Use UCB 2005 </li></ul>
  11. 13. Library Technology
  12. 14. Library Technology
  13. 15. Library Technology
  14. 16. Library As Place
  15. 17. First Focus Group “ Enthusiastic Analogs”
  16. 19. Second Focus Group Not enough “consensus” to postulate a segment, but some notable points made:
  17. 20. Library Observation <ul><li>First hand observation of Norlin did not yield </li></ul><ul><li>much information due to the study being in summer semester. </li></ul><ul><li>Library was very quiet </li></ul><ul><li>Little sense of “Library as place” </li></ul><ul><li>No student / staff interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Definitely being used a place of study – little information finding </li></ul>
  18. 21. Library Observation Two Thirds of students observed were using computers – either personal laptop or desktop computer lab
  19. 22. Library Scanning <ul><li>Confusing signage </li></ul><ul><li>Bulletin Boards containing flyers hidden or hard to notice </li></ul><ul><li>Tables, chairs, study areas dirty and old; very uncomfortable </li></ul><ul><li>Many small repairs needed, worn carpet, broken steps, paint chipped, lights out, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Lighting is poor in many areas, however some areas (such as science library) well lit and had natural light </li></ul>
  20. 23. Recommendations <ul><li>A more dynamic marketing style </li></ul>Consistent testing for web usability and re-design Work on staff approachability and openness (treat the undergrads and key library stakeholders) Improve Norlin comfort level Give students more of a voice in student affairs (Student Advisory Board) Increase collaboration and communication between departments