Participation scares some librarians

Last Friday I received a call from a Foundational Studies instructor that was inquiring about a library session for her Reading and Writing classes. We talked about inviting the Chicago Public Library to do a library card campaign on campus. She offered to work with to design a lesson plan and co-teach. She was willing to do anything to help her students.

I suggested we survey students to find out if they would want us to invite the Chicago  Public Library to our college. My library colleagues said we did not the same resources as other institutions.

First why not ask students what would help them? Many of our students are recipients of financial aid, and many do not know the Chicago Public Library is an option for research. I believe the more supportive we are of our library users the more they will support us. When we need our students to speak out and tell administration how important the library is to their academic careers. If we are there for them they will stand up for us without hesitation I know as a former online librarian that students can live without a physical library, and successfully complete their research.

This assumption and complacency is dangerous, and does not consider the future of the library.

I have created many online surveys to get feedback from faculty and students, but have not had the support to ask, what do you want in your library?

It will help me determine if my thoughts and projects for the future are on track.

I look forward to my library evolving and accepting the feedback and participation of our college community.

4 responses to “Participation scares some librarians

  1. @reinawilliams You wrote,
    “I suggested we survey students to find out if they would want us to invite the Chicago Public Library to our college. My library colleagues said we did not the same resources as other institutions.”
    Why didn’t they want you to get the students opinion? Did they feel the Chicago Public Library brought in resources your library couldn’t provide? Or did they just feel it unnecessary to ask their users for their opinion? If it’s the later then that’s too bad. Do you have a suggestion box in your library? I’ve seen some library’s have this and I wonder if it works well for soliciting opinions?

    • @jormonde I wish it was a fear of competition but my colleagues just do not think it is necessary to get feedback from our students. We do not a suggestion box, but I would like to put a comment box at the reference desk. Since I am not at the reference desk anymore it is hard to know how everyone is performing.
      Funny you mentioning the Chicago Public Library because I called the nearest library to the school and spoke to a librarian. She said since our students were adults and they did not have a lot of staff they would need to visit the library individually to get their library cards. She said if they came in as a group they would not be able to give everyone library cards due to staffing. So this idea is out the window for now.

  2. Wow… I read with interest your post and now the rest of the story as a comment. I was going to urge you to keep trying to get the librarians to survey the students or hold a focus group or some such. Now I read that CPL can’t handle the influx of folks who want cards. That’s too bad. You are on the right track. I hope things get better for budgets at CPL and everywhere.

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