Campus Life

Richard E. Bjork Library wants student’s feedback on their spaces

Written for The Argo by Alison Hacker

The library is initiating efforts for students to take a survey about how their spaces are used. The survey will give faculty members an idea of what students want to see more of in the library and whether or not specific needs are being met. 

“As librarians, we’re always trying to get more information and understand what is going to get people to use our services,” said Joyce DeStasio, the Public Services librarian on campus. Their main focus is to analyze how the spaces in the library are being used, how people use them, and if there is an opportunity for improvement. 

Questions from the survey include: 

  • When and how frequently do you visit the library in person? 
  • What do you do at the library when you’re there? 
  • Does the library have too little or too much space dedicated to quiet study right now?

The library held a tabling at the Campus Center Coffee House on Wednesday to give students a chance to take the survey. Surveying is something that is used all over campus for the university to gather feedback from students. However, the library has made changes in how they go about their surveys. They want to make these forms short and efficient in order for students to finish them in a timely manner, while also gathering information that will help them in the future.

In fall 2021, the library made changes to their website after obtaining feedback from students about their web design. A common theme along with web design included the library’s spaces. In the past, staff would survey students about all aspects of the library like customer service and library collections. Since then, faculty-initiated surveys to be more specific so that they can narrow their focus on a certain area.

Christy Goodnight, the Interim Director of the library, wanted to survey what students expect when they visit the library. 

“We did it intentionally for people that use the library and then people that don’t use the library. There are two sets of questions that are very different for those two groups,” Goodnight said. 

The survey gives everyone a chance to express their opinions on the library’s spaces, whether you visit or not.

Goodnight conducted a study with her library colleague, Eric Jeitner, on the quiet study spaces over the course of a year with the help of student workers. They drew a map of every seat in the quiet study area and would check off a seat if there was someone sitting in it. The study was done at certain times of the day, every single day. They found that there was a popular spot: the seat with windows that has a view of Lake Fred, in the corner, with natural lighting. 

On the other hand, the lower levels of the library are almost never full of students. It has compact shelving and not much seating, so staff did not bother including the lower levels as an aspect in their survey, considering not many people are down there in the first place.

The library would love to hear feedback about their spaces. The survey is open until March 14. Here is a link to the survey: