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What are students doing in our library? EMALINK 18 February 2009


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A presentation given at the EMALINK seminar on 18th February 2009 describing an ethnographic study of an open plan learning space at Loughborough University.

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What are students doing in our library? EMALINK 18 February 2009

  1. 1. What are students doing in our library? Undergraduates & social learning space at Loughborough Jo Bryant 18 Feb 2009
  2. 2. “ libraries throughout history have been extraordinarily successful social spaces” Brian Lang, former director of the British Library
  3. 3. Some people define libraries in terms of a physical space ; for some, it is an intellectual space , an experience; and for others, the community space , a place where interaction becomes most important. Each of these aspects has changed and will continue to change in sometimes radical ways.... Barbara Doyle-Wilch, Dean of Library and Information Services, Middlebury College, Vermont, USA
  4. 4. Is this space for undergrads ?
  5. 5. <ul><li>MSc dissertation in the summer of 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to build on library surveys of the previous academic year. </li></ul><ul><li>Designed to find out how students were using Open3 – the open plan study space the University opened in 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Sought to identify ways to improve the learning environment. </li></ul>About the project...
  6. 6. <ul><li>Compete to attract students. </li></ul><ul><li>Students perceive themselves as customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Graduates in 2011 can expect to owe between £17,500 and £20,000. </li></ul><ul><li>Prospective students (& their families) are compare library resources. </li></ul><ul><li>How do we measure up? </li></ul>Changes in Higher Education...
  7. 7. Assessment methods for the BSc (Hons) programme in Information & Business Management at Loughborough Changes in Teaching & Learning 14 9 5 24 Total 7 - - 4 3 4 3 2 9 2 3 5 3 11 1 Individual Assignment Group Assignment Presentation Exam/Test Year of Study Assessment Type
  8. 8. How are other libraries adapting?
  9. 9. Skype phones at Dublin City University Library
  10. 10. ‘ pods’ at Glasgow Caley
  11. 11. InQbate CETL at Sussex
  12. 12. <ul><li>Developed in 2006. A user survey touched upon how our users felt about it. </li></ul><ul><li>This study that looked at what students were doing (instead of what they tell us they are doing!). </li></ul><ul><li>Used ethnography as the method of inquiry, undertaking over 40 hours of participant observation. </li></ul>Evaluating Open 3
  13. 13. Traditional ethnography
  14. 14. Findings…
  15. 15. <ul><ul><li>Students were working in groups. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Groups generally ranged from 3 to 10 students. Larger groups tended to use the study rooms on the periphery. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often noisy, but noise didn’t necessarily mean they were slacking! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whiteboards popular. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Laptops used for group study – not PCs. </li></ul></ul>Collaborative Study...
  16. 16. Group study at PCs…?
  17. 17. <ul><ul><li>Very popular with students working solo. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People like to have the space to spread out. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quite territorial about space individual space! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many students make quick visits to print off work, or check e-mail or the VLE. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People seem to like the social nature of the space. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food & drink </li></ul></ul>Individual Study...
  18. 18. Some areas more popular than others. People who want to stay a long time gravitate towards the back of the library Threshold spaces near the café and the main entrance less popular – noisier.
  19. 19. <ul><li>Self-governing space. Generally effective. </li></ul><ul><li>Users often move to threshold space to make noise. </li></ul><ul><li>Reluctance to ask others to quieten down. </li></ul><ul><li>Rare to witness someone being really disruptive. </li></ul><ul><li>Sunday and Monday nights strangely lively! </li></ul>Intrusions & Interruptions...
  20. 20. <ul><li>Mostly male students working in the area. Far fewer female students. </li></ul><ul><li>Real mix of home and international students. </li></ul><ul><li>An ‘undergraduate space’ – most users appeared under the age of 25. </li></ul>Diversity
  21. 21. <ul><li>Mostly male students working in the area. Far fewer female students. </li></ul><ul><li>Real mix of home and international students. </li></ul><ul><li>An ‘undergraduate space’ – most users appeared under the age of 25. </li></ul>Diversity
  22. 22. <ul><li>Library materials – electronic well used, but not many books in evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Cable clutter’ – difficulties plugging in laptops. Students bringing their own extension cables. </li></ul><ul><li>Printing seems to confuse people! </li></ul><ul><li>Unattended PCs </li></ul>Other observations...
  23. 23. What next…? How can we improve?
  24. 24. Expand!
  25. 25. Adaptable spaces…
  26. 26. Quick access PCs
  27. 27. New online services?
  28. 28. New offline services...?
  29. 29. <ul><li>We’re popular! </li></ul><ul><li>Stay aware of what other spaces are available on campus </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t stop developing Open3 </li></ul><ul><li>Keep an eye on what other universities are doing </li></ul><ul><li>Keep asking staff and students what they’d like to see next. Get people involved. </li></ul>Conclusions
  30. 30. S Got questions…?
  31. 31. References Quote by Brian Lang from Lang, B., 2001. Library buildings for the new millennium. In : Bisbrouck, M., ed. Library buildings in a changing environment: proceedings of the eleventh seminar of the IFLA section in library buildings and equipment, Shanghai, China, 14-18 August 1999. Munich: K.G. Saur, 2001, pp.11-17. Quote by Barbara Doyle Welch from What is a library? in Transformations: The liberal arts in the digital age , [accessed 10/02/2009] A journal paper based on this project has just been published: Bryant, J., Matthews, G., and Walton, G., ‘Academic libraries and social and learning space: A case study of Loughborough University Library, UK’. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, ( 41), 7-18. The MSc dissertation is available online via the Loughborough University Institutional Repository .
  32. 32. Image Credits... <ul><li>Title slide: By Joe Crawford from Wikimedia Commons . </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries as social spaces. Background image of Devon College by jisc_infonet from Flickr . JISC have a great library of images of new learning spaces on Flickr. </li></ul><ul><li>Definitions: Background image by marinegirl from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Is this a space for undergrads? Background image of the Upper Reading Room at the Bodleian Library by SBA3 from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>About the project: Background image from Wikimedia Commons . </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in HE: Background image by marinegirl from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>How are other libraries adapting? Background image of the Faculty of Philology Library at Berlin Free University. Designed by Norman Foster. Picture by svenwerk from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Skype phones at Dublin City University Library by jisc_infonet from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Pods at Glasgow Caledonian University’s Saltire Centre by jisc_infonet from Flickr . inQbate at the University of Sussex by jisc_infonet from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Postcard by postaletrice from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluating Open3: Image by marinegirl from Flickr . </li></ul>
  33. 33. Further thanks... <ul><li>Findings: Image by bradjward from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative study: Image by jawcey from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Group study at PCs: Image by author. </li></ul><ul><li>Individual study: Image by cellphonesusie from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Intrusions & interruptions: Image by cellphonesusie from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity: Image by cellphonesusie from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Other observations: Image by marinegirl from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>What next: Background image by Wrote from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Truro College Learning Resource Centre by jisc_infonet from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Warwick University Learning Grid by jisc_infonet from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Screenshot of Northumbria University’s PC Terminal Availability screen from the Northumbria University website taken using FireShot add-on for Mozilla Firefox . </li></ul><ul><li>Offline services: Image by cellphonesusie from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions: Image by presta from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Ask! Image by UVM Libraries from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>References: Image by solja from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Image credits: Image by marinegirl from Flickr . </li></ul><ul><li>Further thanks: Image by thepretenda from Flickr . </li></ul>