Students Speak on the “New” Library

The library continues to collect data for its Library 2.0 transformation. Recently, our librarian, Elena Heilman, placed a large white board in the library to survey students on what they liked and did not like about the current state of the library.

white board with responses

Let’s go over the responses.

  • Students liked having access to critical technology tools (computers, printers, WiFi, power outlets for laptops) and would like more, better, and updated equipment.
  • Students enjoyed the quiet space of the library for studying and wished other students took the library more seriously (i.e. refrained from loud conversations, talking on cell phones, smoking outside, eating, and using computers for non-academic purposes).
  • Students wanted better seating and more meeting spaces.
  • Students wanted the library to have extended hours, open in the evenings and on weekends.
  • Students wanted a designated area for eating, socializing, and drinking coffee.
  • Students liked library services and programming, such as the Computer Lab, the Success Center, tutoring, and art shows.
  • Students felt the staff/student workers were helpful.
  • Students wanted more resources in the library, such as books, etc.

What’s interesting to note in these responses is that, basically, students want the library to be a library. They want resources, technology access, quiet, and good places to study. This flies a little in the face of conventional Library 2.0 wisdom (as defined in a post from two weeks ago) that the library becomes a party central of sorts, a place where technology rules, socializing is a key activity, and staff is invisible. On the contrary, at Yuba College at least, students like the staff and the help that they provide and while technology is important, studying is the key activity of the library, students feel. And sometimes studying isn’t a solitary activity. Sometimes students like to gather and discuss, debate, and get in a laugh or even a smoke.

So what does this mean for Library 2.0 at Yuba College? The jury is still out, but the responses beg a couple of questions: 1) Should the library become a “mixed use space” with areas designated for socializing, quiet study, and group discussion?; and 2) Where should the library concentrate its already tight funds: On more books, extended hours, or technology equipment? These are not easy questions to answer, so the debate and analysis will continue as Yuba marches towards its vision for the library of the future. And many thanks to those students who took the time to contribute to the discussion!

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