Staff issues survey for new Sawyer

From Tuesday to Friday last week, librarians and staff from the Center for Educational Technology (CET) administered a survey to evaluate student perceptions of the new Sawyer library.   

“We undertook this point-of-use survey in hopes of learning from a larger number of students on those and other topics as we begin to think about our policies and services in the future,” David Pilachowski, director of libraries, said.

Christine Menard, head of Research and References Services; Nicole Prokop, head of Access Services and Tamra Hjermstad, Media Studios and technology coordinator, developed the questions and compiled the survey, which was distributed on all carrels and tables as well as the services desks on each floor.    

“We decided to create an end-of-first-year Sawyer questionnaire as a way of assessing students’ experience in the new space,” Menard said.

The survey had questions about the use of study rooms and whether or not groups should hold events in the library.

The group decided to conduct the survey on paper instead of online so it would “be easy to find and fill,” according to Menard. In addition, Menard explained that the staff was only interested in responses from those students who use the library. “We did of course consider the impact of using a paper survey, but felt that for our goals it was the best format.” In addition to the survey, the librarians have received informal feedback from students and other community members throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.

Before the new library was built, the library staff also made a concerted effort to reach out to students for feedback, according to Menard.

“Early on we conducted focus groups with students, we did campus tours asking students to show us their favorite study spaces, we conducted direct observation studies to document how students were using spaces in old Sawyer and for two years we also tested study carrels and furniture on the main floor of old Sawyer, and students were encouraged to send feedback and comments,” Menard said.

In addition, throughout the planning process, students served on the furniture selection committee and the Library Committee.

The librarians will tally the results later this week. According to Menard, the feedback that the librarians receive from the survey will inform future library policies.