Archive | May, 2011

(Non)participation in ALA elections

20 May

Every year after the ALA elections, I feel like there’s a flurry of comments online about how disappointing it is that such a low percentage of eligible voters actually submit a ballot – approximately 1 in 5 people voted this year. It makes for a popular topic of lamentation for a while and then seems to be forgotten until next time. This year, however, after a conversation in the ALA Think Tank Facebook group, Oleg Kagan decided to do something to find out why. In the spirit of #makeithappen, he put together a short survey for ALA members who did not vote to indicate their reasons and what might prompt them to participate in the future. The survey had a good response, thanks to the efforts of various Think Tankers in spreading the word and its inclusion in the AL Direct newsletter. Oleg has posted the results, along with analysis, on his blog. He has also made available his spreadsheets of both the raw and cleaned up survey responses in case anyone else would like to perform their own analyses on the data.
Continue reading

Students as library partners

16 May

Last week I received the latest issue of College and Research Libraries News in the mail, and I noticed an interesting theme arising from the articles. There are several articles discussing libraries working with students on campus on projects ranging from the evaluation of library service to marketing and outreach.

  1. In “Students research the library” , Gina Hunter and Dane Ward of Illinois State University explain how student-led ethnographic research on student use of the library can provide valuable information to help libraries evolve to meet student needs. With the guidance of faculty and librarians, students can leverage their “native expertise” and ability to build rapport with their subjects to gather data about student behavior in the library.
  2. In “Imagine: a student centered library” , Gretchen Gfeller, Desiree Butterfield-Nagy, and Hansie Grignon at the University of Maine describe their library marketing campaign for the Fogler Library, developed by a Marketing team that included student members. One of their projects that was created by this student member was a poster campaign picturing various student groups and their answer to the question, “what did we find at Fogler?” Another initiative invited student comments and feedback on their favorite place in the library in order to gather suggestions to use in redesigning spaces and services to make the library a more student-centered place.
  3. Secrets to successful mystery shopping” by Candice Benjes-Small at Radford University and Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger at Longwood University shares their experience applying the “mystery shopping” concept often used to evaluate retail customer service to the evaluation of service at the library. In collaboration with faculty, they used students in business classes as “shoppers” who participated in the research project for extra credit or participation points for their classes. Using students instead of professional mystery shoppers had the benefit of the participants being familiar with the academic environment and the service expectations of academic library users.

Continue reading