We have textbooks on reserve in my college library. Students want to take them to class when they have left their book at home, or take the 1818 version of Frankenstein home to read. Our reserve policies prevent this behavior. Textbooks and course reserves can only be used in the library for two hours.
Students run through the library gates! I tried chasing a student, and I lost him in the shuffle between classes. I don’t blame him! It is a ridiculous policy. Our students have busy lives, and do not have time to sit for two hours and read Frankenstein, and they may not have the money to buy a copy of the book.
“If you change your mind about yourself and the people around you, it will revolutionize your work.” (Schuster, 2011, January 4)
I think if we realize our students are not thieves but people who want to be educated our policies would reflect our trust in them. Staff checkout books to their friend’s child or someone they know. I am not big on making exceptions. If one person can take the textbook from the library, everyone should be able to leave the library with a textbook. This led to a heated debate with my colleagues a couple of years ago, and I lost.
“You need to listen to and observe your community in order to develop an empathetic focus on people.” (Schmidt, 2010, January 15)
How can we better serve our students if we will not even listen to them? I know they need the book to complete their homework, but I refuse to allow them to take the book home for a night or two to read. Does this make sense? What am I so afraid of?
Wayne Bivens-Tatum says it best
“Making things better for library users isn’t that difficult if we just shake ourselves out of our complacency, forget what it’s like to be a librarian, and remember what it’s like to be a normal person again.” (2010, p. 8)
Every time I relate to a student, and I understand they have come to the library for help I provide better service. We get lazy and are unwilling to change. Sometimes we are afraid to do something different. There are 6 other city colleges in my system; do I dare to be different? The answer is YES! The people we serve are as diverse as the resources we have available for them. I have to think and consider them when I make policies and implement change. My goal is to make a better UX experience for them.
Bivens-Tatum, W. (2010). Imagination, sympathy, and the user experience. Library Journal, 8.
Schmidt, A. (2010, January 15). New column launch: The user experience [Web log post]. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/01/opinion/aaron-schmidt/new-column-launch-the-user-experience/
Schuster, D. (2011, January 4). Debunking the user experience [Web log post]. unmatchedstyle. Retrieved from http://unmatchedstyle.com/news/debunking-user-experience.php
Eager student with hand raised, blogs.lt.vt.edu
Library gates, www.lib.uwaterloo.ca