College Library UX Research
At the time of my arrival, the college did not have a library collection development policy, formal circulation system, or documentation of library procedures in place. The library was underfunded and underutilized by the students. The plan was to investigate the library to find the problem areas and then recommend solutions to the school’s administration to improve library resources and services.
Library Collection Audit
Method: Each item in the collection was evaluated one by one using the CREW Method for Weeding Library Materials (Texas State Library & Archives Commission).
Results: After the evaluation was complete, it was discovered that only a little over 20% of the collection was considered fit to stay in the collection according to current academic library standards.
Recommendations: The outdated or unusable resources will have to be weeded out of the collection and a comprehensive collection development policy will have to be developed. This would involve researching what supplemental materials that students and professors require for their academic work.
Library Collection Diversity
Results: The evaluation found that the majority of the library collection fell into one subject classification (social sciences), and nearly the entire subject was evaluated as outdated.
Recommendations: A library collection that caters to one specific area of study leaves many students out of quality primary resources they may need for their class assignments. Having a more diverse collection can expose students to other subject areas that are different from what they are accustomed to. More importantly, it can also help students find information to strengthen the quality of their assignments. Many students have also expressed interest in having books to read for leisure since almost the entire library collection is primarily academic.
Library Usage Data
Takeaways: The survey found that students are more likely to only use the internet in the school library due to the lack of useful resources. I have conducted information literacy instruction seminars and taught research skills for students, however, professor expectations for students to perform at a master’s level is very low and professors need to be held accountable for making sure that student’s work adheres to the university’s policies on academic integrity.
Database Usage Data
Takeaway: According to the data retrieved from ProQuest for the past year, very few students use the school databases for their class assignments. This is an indication that students do not regularly use scholarly sources in their work. This would also suggest that students maybe be plagiarizing and/or using sources that are not peer-reviewed. As mentioned, steps have been taken to make sure that students are taught how to use the databases and the professors have been informed about being more accountable for academic integrity.
Takeaways: The library is located in an open area near the student lounge. The lack of useful resources, and constant distractions that students have to endure while using the library can dramatically affect a student’s library experience. Students would benefit from tutoring sessions and more professor involvement.
Observations: The process to print a single PDF document takes an average of 8 steps to complete. If a student leaves out a step, the entire process would have to begin again from the beginning. Many students forget this process and often have to ask me, the librarian, for assistance. Another drawback of this system is the inability for students to see how many pages are left in their account and no way to purchase additional pages. Students are allotted 200 pages per academic quarter. Students typically run out of pages around mid-quarter and resort to asking their classmates or me for our user codes.
Recommendation: PaperCut is a low-cost print management system where students can print documents and easily monitor their page usage, which can also help limit waste.
Site Map for the proposed new library website
A sitemap for a website page for the library. The current website does not contain any useful resources for students, faculty, and staff to use. I have also recommended that the database location should be moved from their student account to the future library web page.
I researched other academic library websites and created a mockup design for a potential homepage for the school library. I wanted to make sure that the design was simple and had a clear call to action, focusing on research, learning tools, and general information.