I’m not going to do a point-by-point of everything I did last week, because I did quite a few small things filling gaps between big things (sorry, I’m also not making much sense this morning!)
Main things I did last week:
I created a guide of handy hints for communicating with international students for library staff. This will be used later in the year in conjunction with international training that we’re working on for staff in September. It was fun to make and looks relatively pretty as far as library handouts go. Everyone was very positive about it when we had an international group meeting later in the week.
I helped two colleagues with filming some international students talking about the library. I wasn’t expecting this to need 3 members of staff, but it really did. We asked them questions such as ‘what advice would you give to new international students?’, ‘what’s your favourite thing about the library?’ and ‘how is the library different to your library back at home?’. My job was to do the filming, and without a tripod or anything of a decent height to put the camera on, I had a terrifying time trying to keep the camera still (we had one student who talked for 20 minutes…!). At some point we will edit our footage to make a short video to sit on the front of our international students page on the library website. I was going to do this with Kirsty the next day, but haven’t been feeling amazingly healthy and wasn’t really up to the task when she’d scheduled it for, so that is yet to happen. I suck.
I also attended an induction group meeting, where we talked about updating the induction presentation that a lot of the subject librarians use when giving their inductions to new students. We discussed whether using pictures of a puppet sheep using the library was a bit outdated, but agreed that it was never in fashion in the first place so probably doesn’t matter. There’s also talk of putting together some self-guided tours, which sound like a good idea.
I attended some Excel training that Sarah had put together for ASG. It started out pretty basic which was good because my knowledge of Excel is very minimal. I’ve already used some of the things I learnt in the session since then, so this is pleasing. There are more exercises from the session that I didn’t get through at the time, so I’m hoping to work through those in my own time at some point this week.
The most time-consuming thing of the week this week was my project. It got sent out to all students registered as disabled at the University first thing Monday morning, and I have been thrilled with the response rate – when I had suggested to Sarah that I might get 50 results she had laughed at me, but a week on and I’m at 74. Which is brilliant given it’s not term time! I also sent out a survey to library staff, and have had 20 results so far. I’m hoping for a few more because it was fairly focused on customer service, and only 4 customer services people have responded. I may have to start nagging. I’ve also made a survey for University staff members who may have something to contribute either for themselves or on behalf of their students. I’m waiting for this morning’s staff briefing to be sent out so that I know it actually made it in! So yeah. Survey mad. The results are really interesting, and certainly the library staff one is confirming what I was expecting. I’m not going to give away anything until I’ve written my report up though. I have a lot of number crunching to do 🙂
On Friday I ventured all the way to Sheffield to visit Sheffield Hallam’s Adsett Learning Centre (the library… I’m still not entirely sure why it isn’t called a library…). I went with the last remaining graduate trainee left in Leeds, and there were also a couple of Bradford staff there too. We were given a presentation on the learning centre and how they had done a heap of research when refurbishing it so that they could provide the most efficient learning space possible. It was good that they’d given us this presentation, because it helped us to understand the space as we walked around in the tour afterwards. One of the points that gave food for thought was that whilst they had been planning spaces for individual work and group work, their research had presented the idea of ‘alongside’ working, when people are at the library with a friend or two working on their own work but may want to confer – I remember I used to do this as a student sometimes but never managed to get anything done – but this brought a different type of learning style into the mix. The building was pretty shiny inside, and you could tell that they’d really given it a lot of thought when getting furniture designed and when laying everything out. There were a lot of different spaces for different levels of noise (which appeared to be working, from what we could see), and the thing that stuck out for me the most was the group study areas. There were a range of different rooms and booths, some of which were bookable, whilst others weren’t. They were laid out really well, and catered for different group sizes and different learning styles. I liked the booths a lot. I also liked the dedicated room for video games. I did nearly have a heart attack though when we were shown the self-service laptop cabinet – the students can literally take a laptop for use in the library without having to sign it out for put it on their card or anything. Apparently they have “only” had 2 go missing so far, but I’m not convinced on the idea personally… (always the pessimist!)