Thursday, June 07, 2007

Trusted Network of Friends

I was looking at a presentation about a photo diary study they did at MIT from Computers in Libraries. Really cool project and very well written. One of the observations they made was that students ask questions first of people in their trusted network. Libraries and librarians are not part of that trusted network. One of my colleagues was telling me a story about a friend of her son's. She (the friend) is a grad student at a big research university and needed an article. She emailed her undergraduate friends, one of whom is the son of a library staff member. Her son forwarded the email to his mother, who is my colleague in the library. So of course my staff member answered her reference question. Did the friend ever go to the Big Research University Library. Nope. Did the friend ever go ask anyone at the Big Research University Library? Nope. "I didn't even think of going there". Wow. We are so not part of their circle.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Less is Sometimes More?
I got a really interesting email yesterday from someone setting up a group study room in their science library. When I worked at Texas A&M (TAMU) we used to reserve rooms for students and it was a living nightmare. Students would want us to settle arguments about who was supposed to have the room reserved when. At one point we limited the number of hours a day students could reserve the room, so then they would make up names. It was horrible. I vowed when I created two group study rooms here in Carlson that I would NOT go down that path again.
We don't make reservations for students. Period. The room is first come, first serve. The room cannot be locked from the inside and they have big windows. There are blinds, but even when they are closed, we can see in the room.
We do reserve the room for faculty who have weekly "workshops" associated with their classes. In fact our rooms are so popular for these classes that they're pretty much booked solid every afternoon and most evenings until 9 p.m.
So why are we having such a good experience and my experience at TAMU was so dreadful?
Fewer rules?
Maybe because we have lots of big tables where students can study and work in groups even if they can't use the rooms?
All I know is that our group study room policies work like a charm.
Knock on wood.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's a very small world

How weird was this??? I went to my THIRTIETH college reunion this weekend. I meet a women who was also a biology major, so I at least vaguely remembered her. She casually mentions that her daughter goes to the University of Rochester. But wait, not only does her daughter go to the UR, I have met her!! She won the Carlson Art Purchase prize and we are going to hang her painting in the library. How weird is that??