Beyond the Building: Taking the Library to Our Users

Dartmouth University
October 2004

Trading Places -- Personalized Library Services in Non-Library Spaces

presenters: Steve Hiller & Gordon Aamot University of Washington

there isn't much data about libraries doing outreach in non-library spaces. Some data is presented and a few conclusions drawn. [I didn't have my laptop out yet, this was a fascainting presentation about the decline of usage of "regular" library services and doing assessment of how libraries are coping with it.]

Radio Radio! -- Using Unusual Means to Reach Patrons

presenters: Emily Alling & James Miller - Babson Library Springfield College

radio show web site complements radio show offerings

regular radio show mixing library topics with music & interviews. local radio station advertised via library web site and in the library. Got library time off, hard to evaluate success, very interesting presentation

Virtually Yours -- The highlights and lowlights of Wesleyan University's experience providing live chat reference within a consortium of small academic libraries

presenters: Kendall Hobbs & Diane Klare - Wesleyan

live chat consortium 1.5 FTE "live chat"
same or greater use than email - drop-off during mealtimes and SATURDAYS
assessment to determine whether students were getting this information that they were seeking.
adjunct to traditional reference or a substitute?
"mixed message" some students use service as adjunct BUT that was what the librarian wanted to find.
"why don't patrons ask for help?" 27% don't want to go to library building ALSO librarian looks "too busy"
82% of people who clicked on "live chat" didn't know what to expect [email? webchat?] people use live chat even IN the library
most student thought the service met or exceeded expectations

what we learned "we don't like it but patrons do"

first gen software was used for co-shopping experience originally

pushing vs escorting [you see what student sees]

"text messaging eliminated a lot of technical issues"

MANY questions were local Wesleyan-specific

Hard to get collaboration going and maintained but as an individual library it worked okay. Maybe cell phones are the answer instead of chat?

Knowledge management possibility? didn't use.

Why go with a paid service "well we got a grant..." but then they couldn't' continue the project at the same level because of funding. still doing some level of virtref

Promoting the Library's Collection with a Book(cart)mobile

presenter: Sarah G. Wenzel MIT

Open-ended question on the library survey revealed that students didn't know where they libraries were or what they had. "students didn't know the humanities library existed" "students didnt' think that the libraries would have anything they'd like to read"

made posters and bookmarks highlighting the humanities collection "but they were static" it wasn't just that they didn't know they had books, they didn't know MIT had a humanities library!

Book(cart) Mobile

leisure & rec reading, manga, music, books on tapes, bought more audiobooks took it outdoors to health and wellness fair "think wind"
3 hours per day two days "before long weekends" [good for students and staff] 3 times per semester
minimal staffing [2 people minimum, at least one circ, one reference/reader's advisory]
"I dream of a motorized heavy duty book cart" 4 hours total time
gets students to pick books "on the theory that students know what other students want to read"
got other libraries to contribute, esp for themed events
full support of music library and bring CDs and DVDs "the most popular thing we offer"
arranged extended loans with circ staff - good collaboration
"we bring a laptop & bar code reader" backup excel spreadsheet in case wireless goes down
"this is our new IP address please enable us to check out books from all libraries" good collaboration with IT staff
"do not desensitize the books when you check them out or you have to sensitize all the ones you bring back"
mailing list for book(cart) mobile
hard to not get too fancy "we could have a halloween bookmobile... it's important to not let ourselves get carried away"
75 browsing interactions per session, 10 items circulated mostly CDs
"the cookbooks tend to go"

MIT Libraries' Information Intersection on the Stata Center Student Street

presenters: Patty Durisin Barbera & Tracy Gabridge - MIT

"very interesting new space that we have at MIT libraries called the information intersection" Stata Center designed by Frank Gehry
compsci, AI, linguistics, W3C etc
"student street" community space between the two towers
"major route through campus"
libraries were proactive and visionary and asked for "quite a large space"
asked for 2000 sq feet BUT got 169 [13 x 13]
3.5 years from proposal to actualization
purpose of space
1) outreach point for MIT libraries "creative" "experimental"
2) collaborative space for anyone int the MIT community
3) access to the MIT network, only public computing area [?]
NOT STAFFED first come first serve
this led to decisions about computers "MIT community only"
logo is screen saver for the computers, on doors, on signage & policy statements
feedback link on main page
needed new sexy name because people already named it "the chimney"
decided on Information Intersection after an all staff meeting

web page

20 foor high red wall can be seen from a distance

uses walls for displays/art from archives & other places
"Community book exchange" "take one leave one" "within a few days of bringing in a bunch of books there's already good turnover" books were registerd on "do our books take interesting journeys? could we use that?
blackboards everywhere in the student street space
public PCs started out as windows
were hacked within days. people broke into cabinets with computers, hacked in and installed linux on the public computers. "benign hack" "message to us"
right now they have 1/2 linux & 1/2 windows and are checking usage
"interesting way to create controversy... and people will know about you"
put on events "Photos with Tim the mascot" [part of libraries orientation] email digital pix to students. 200 photos in 3 hours.
"most unusually we found out that our space was used as a henna tattoo parlor during a campus celebration...."
computers time out after 10 minutes, quickie access to internet, no word, no desktop apps

Taking it to the Streets

presenters: Leslie Homzie [Brandeis] & Jeff Kosokoff & Dana Mastroianni - Harvard University

synopsis: roving librarian & roving reference pilot.

"even high quality scholarly papers are not irreplaceable" people will accept lower quality information if it's easier for them to find
"can we do what people think they are doing without us .... with them? show them how to do it better"
needs are unplanned
Harvard roving kit: laptop, LCD projector color printer, mini-drive, disk drives, carry-bag [printer was NEVER used "I printed exactly two pages, it was instructions for the librarians"
librarianship is about going someplace & figuring out where that is based on LOCAL CULTURE
limited roving reference to where wifi was available, near where the on-campus dining commons was - has a reference area in the dining hall. good news and bad news. lots of contacts but noisy and not always conducive to reference. librarians felt that travelling kit was heavy, too much set-up and take down time.
tried different strategies for different semesters
a LOT of staff hours for a relatively low number of questions
"are we making new connections to non-library users, or are we serving the same patrons in a different location"
not very optimistic but they had some suggestions for future attempts

Brandeis: small library, 4000 students, two libraries
new campus center opening in 2002
drop in workshops didn't get a lot of turnout
moved to the atrium area for lunch time drop-ins
"it's a fancy computer center that we call a library" benefactor wanted a NYPL reading room type of place, got this instead
liked harvard's dining hall model
librarians complaining about carrying laptops at brandeis as well, apparently
ALL librarians must participate - mandatory
promotion: poster, email lists, online calendar, article in newsletter and campus newspaper

"my hope was that 80% of the students don't go to the library and we just needed to go to them... that's not what happened"

more long questions asked
more goodwill, high "wow, neat" factor
at harvard "what are you doing here, get out" [b/c they're on their break and here's a librarian]
contact with new constituencies ["undergrad houses are notoriously hard to crack"]
ALSO: staff have gained expertise "staff learns to use wireless laptops" [this librarian still uses the word "lavatory"!]
Harvard is not doing this anymore, there were staffing issues and probalems with motivation. "we didn't think hard enough about why we were doing it and it probably wasn't planned out well enough"
"we would probably do it more randomly... go and find some people"

Brandeis is still doing it but is also understaffed & outreach initiatives may suffer

The Live-In Librarian's Tips for Taking the Library to the Dorms

presenter: Karen Antell - University of Oklahoma

Karen & her husband are also residence folks, living with 900 students in the dorm. They are NOT RAs, not rule-enforcers "if we had to enforce the rules we would not be able to develop neighborly relationships with the students"
"faculty in residence" program at UO
many students at OU come from small towns it's good for them to get to know professors in a one on one basis
there is an apartment in the dorm with a giant living room that can accomodate 70 students
the living/learning environment is sort of a new trend in housing, housing staff do programming in different areas including educational programming
dorms do 16 programs per semester and partnerships are cruicial to successful programming
library related programs:
"conversation in observance of banned books week" - guest speaker, display of books to start discussion "that book changed my life, it's been banned?!"
"african american fiction book club" NOT as useful, thursday is a party night "the complete idiot's guide to the library"
not hugely popular but good for those who show up. walking tour of the library and BI and computer tour, then back to the dorm for refreshments
"research rescue"
one on one term paper help, very popular
laptops & wifi in the dorms
once you start doing library oriented programs people request them
- always INCLUDE FOOD [maybe this is wy we have problems in traditional libraries?]

Maximizing the Library Presence in Course Management Systems

presenter: Susan Fliss & Jeff Bohrer- Dartmouth College

CMS stands for course management systems to these folks
-two newish librarians/IT folks, they are in the same facility [academic computing & the library] so many opportunities for collaboration
- how to integrate libraries and course management systems
- librarians can provide just-in-time support WHEN they are learning
"another door into the library"
they use Blackboard CMS at Dartmouth ECAR study supports "good feelings" students have about CMSes [I find it suprising but what the hell do I know?]
200 courses available per semester
- handouts include ways you can directly embed the librarians in the CMS [add the librarian under staff contacts, participate in discussion lists/boards, making surveys available through the course or quizzes, show up in online groups where students are located "library advisor being attached to each groups"
- keeping notes for classes available online even after f2f classes
- tab on Black board has a "my research" tab, big internal debate of calling it "my library" or not, sounds like the librarian lost that argument
- looking into Refworks integrating with Bb
- IT guy had no idea librarians were interested in the education/instruction world [?!]
- the IT guys are happy if their services are transparent, the librarians are happy if their services are VISBILE
-"it gets worse before it gets better, keep the goal in mind"