How did you use Course Collection and Holds?

White ghostly imagined people sitting at wooden desks. Shelves of books in background.

After refurbishment, Course Collection and the Hold Shelf will return to the Library building and look something like this.

In spring 2017, whilst it was still in the Library building, we surveyed how students used the Course Collection and Holds Shelf. Here’s what you told/showed us could improve things now, whilst both collections temporarily occupy the URS building, and provides insight for their return to a refurbished Library building.

Research methods

We used two different techniques: we collected your opinions using a graffiti wall asking what users of the Course Collection liked about it and what they felt could improve it for them; we also did some behavioural mapping – observing how the space and services were being used. Although Library Refurbishment plans were already established, we felt observational techniques could inform whether plans were on the right track and give us practice on evaluating use of the new spaces for after refurbishment.

Results confirm refurbishment plans

You told us that you liked the Course Collection’s quiet, warm environment, conveniently close to the main entrance, toilets and café (for that all important caffeine fix!) Our observation exercise confirmed this, showing many users chose the space to work quietly – something we weren’t expecting! The planned Library refurbishment includes new toilets and refreshment areas throughout the building, so should bring this convenience to several study areas.

You also told us you’d like more study spaces in the Course Collection, and more sockets. Observation showed that the most Course Collection popular seats had plug sockets for laptops etc and/or were by a wall or divider, suggesting you can concentrate better when you can’t see anyone working opposite. Library refurbishment will deliver more Course Collection study spaces, all with sockets. There will also be individual comfy study carrels to accommodate that desire to study undisturbed.

Hold shelf improvements

A surprise to us was that a third of those went up to the Hold Shelf didn’t collect a book. It was really useful for us to discover where we could improve your experience of finding your hold and understanding what to do. We have now displayed flow-chart posters beside the Hold Shelf to indicate what to do if you do not initially find your hold, and added more labelling to the Enterprise Library catalogue where books are on hold.

Map of Course Collection annotated with coloured lines and arrows

UX technique employs coloured lines on a map to indicate how different people use an area

Our experience of ‘User Experience (UX)’

Observing how library spaces are used has been both fascinating and incredibly useful. We’re reassured our refurbishment plans will improve your experience of using the new Course Collection space and we’ve gained insight into where we can make service and system design more straightforward for you. We’re hoping to use observational techniques in the future to continue to improve library services and spaces. If you’d like to know more about User Experience (UX) techniques at University of Reading Library, please contact Natalie Guest:

Natalie Guest, Library user Services and
Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Library survey winner announced!

Congratulations to Sadie McCullough, who won £25 of Amazon vouchers in a prize draw for students completing our Making the most of your library survey.

Sadie receiving her prize from Helen Hathaway, Head of  Academic Liaison and Support

Sadie receiving her prize from Helen Hathaway, Head of Academic Liaison and Support

We wanted to find out how useful this guide is for Library users, and are pleased to report that 84% of survey respondents thought it contained useful information. We also received some useful feedback on which elements of the booklet are most valued, and the types of information you think should be included. We will be reviewing the booklet for the next academic year based on your feedback – thank you very much to everyone who participated!

You can take a look at our Making the most of your library guide online, or pick one up at a Library information desk. If you have any comments or suggestions to contribute regarding the booklet, please email the Library’s Marketing Co-ordinator, Rachel Redrup.

– YiWen Hon, Liaison Librarian 

UG Student Wellbeing Survey visits Library

Students using a computerUndergraduates! Here’s a chance to meet representatives of the University’s own Student Wellbeing Project survey on the Library’s Ground Floor, 12:00-14:00, Friday 30 January and ask questions or complete the survey.

What is Reading’s Student Wellbeing Survey?

Each term, the Student Wellbeing Project asks undergraduates of all years to anonymously complete a five-minute (mainly tick box) questionnaire. Your input could help shape University policy. First, second and non-final third years: don’t wait until your final year to fill in the National Student Survey. Tell us now about anything which may enhance or constrain your academic ability, like finances or housing arrangements. This spring’s survey will be live from Monday 19 January to Friday 20 February.

Where can I find out more?

Find the Student Wellbeing survey on the RISIS Web Portal or contact administrator Max James,

Rachel Redrup, Marketing Co-ordinator

Our website survey prize-draw winner is …

Web Manager Jackie Skinner presents Matt with his £50 Amazon voucher

Undergraduate Matt David is presented with his £50 Amazon voucher by Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager

…Matt David, an undergraduate studying Classics. Many thanks to Matt and everyone else who filled in our questionnaire about how you use our website.

What you said

We were very pleased that nearly everyone else felt a winner too when using the University Library website! Over 92% said that they always, or mostly, find what they are looking for on our site.

A representative mix of you Library users responded: over 64% were undergraduates, and the majority of these studying sciences or arts and humanities subjects. You said the sections of the homepage you use most frequently are the Enterprise catalogue search box and the E-resources links, closely followed by the opening hours and links to your Library account. We will ensure that these are the most prominent elements on the revised homepage.

You made varying comments. One person said  ‘I like it how it is – please don’t change it too much!’, whilst another felt that it ‘just needs to be a bit clearer to find links and have a facelift’.

We will be taking all the comments into account as we work with the University’s Digital Development Team to help deliver an improved, attractive and intuitive Library website later this year.

Can you help us focus in more?

Please can you tell us more at a focus group on Wednesday 18 March at 2pm? We would love to hear your views. If you can make it, please email the Library Web Manager, by Friday 14 March. Thank you!

Jackie Skinner, Library Web Manager