Library Retreats

Library Retreats

January 14, 2011

"Learning From Our Users"

Why does our Web site look the way it does, and how will it look next year? How do we make decisions about the materials we acquire, and how might those decisions be influenced by the way our users access content? What does our research about our users tell us that we don’t already know, and how does it challenge what we think we know? How does user research help us to deliver better services and to avoid potentially difficult and time-consuming problems? This is the focus of our upcoming Library Retreat, which will be held on Friday, January 14th, from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm, at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center [please note the change to start time].


In addition to hearing about the work of our faculty conducting user studies of all types, you will have a chance to discuss what you have heard and its relevance to your work. Through small group discussion following each presentation, we will have the opportunity to discuss how what we are learning about our users affects our work, and to ask what additional efforts we should take to learn more about how our users engage with the Library and about how to take action based on that information. We look forward to a morning of sharing information about what we have learned about our users through interviews, surveys, focus groups, and analysis of digital collections and service use, and to a lively discussion of how user-centered research such as this can help us to make the best decisions about our short-term goals, our long-range objectives, and our day-to-day work with users on the frontlines.



Colleagues – a reminder that there will be a Library Retreat for all faculty and staff on Friday, January 14th, from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center <>. Our theme this year is “Listening to Our Users,” and the retreat will feature presentations and discussion led by Library faculty on the ways in which we “listen” to our users as part of our process of making decisions about Library services and programs, improving the user experience, etc.


Scheduled to present at the retreat are:


Jim Hahn, Robert Slater, and David Ward on the Undergraduate Student Experience;

Tina Chrzastowski, Wendy Shelburne, and Lynn Wiley on the Use of Print and Digital Collections;

Bill Mischo and Chris Prom on Information Search and Discovery; and

Kirstin Dougan and JoAnn Jacoby on Library-Wide Assessment Activities and the User Voice in the New Service Models Program.


The goals of each presentation will be to raise awareness of the ways in which user-centered research is being conducted across the Library, to highlight the ways in which this research informs our operational and strategic goals, and to explore the ways in which you may incorporate the results of this research into your own work. This retreat will provide a rare opportunity to look across many projects going on in the Library, to consider your own work in light of the results of those projects, to suggest additional areas for study, and to identify efforts that you may wish to join in the future. Each presentation will include time for small group discussion, and we will take the opportunity at the end of the morning to report out on issues and ideas raised in those small groups for the good of all.


The theme of the retreat remains “Listening to Our Users” with the focus being on exploring the many ways in which we “listen” to our users in order to make decisions about Library services and programs, improve the user experience, etc.


We decided on a schedule (below) that will allow each presenting team to discuss their area of user research with an eye toward: 1) raising awareness across the Library of the work you are doing; 2) enhancing appreciation for the way in which assessment of various kinds is informing the decisions we make about Library services (i.e., “how we used this information to make a change to [fill in the blank]”); and 3) encouraging participants to consider how the information you are sharing can be applied in their own work, and to suggest other topics that might be pursued. We decided that each presenting team will leave time during the blocks noted on the schedule for small group discussion of some common questions (below), and that we would have a brief opportunity for large group discussion at the end.




7:45 – 8:00 am – Catering Sets Up Coffee, etc.


8:00 – 8:30 am – Registration/Mingling/Coffee & Pastries


8: 30 am – Opening Remarks (Paula)


8:30 – 9:15 am – Robert Slater, David Ward, and Jim Hahn (Usability and Related Research on the Undergraduate Library Experience; Impact on Web Site and Digital Service Development)


9:15 – 10:00 am – Lynn Wiley, Tina Chrzastowski, & Wendy Shelburne (Use of Collections, Print and Electronic; Impact on Acquisitions Programs and Consortial Programs)


10:00 – 10:15 am – Break (Workplace Wellness Activity)


10:15 – 11:00 am – Bill Mischo and Chris Prom (Log Analysis and Related Research on Search; Impact on the Development of Easy Search, and [something Chris said that I didn’t write down])


11:00 – 11:45 am – JoAnn Jacoby and Kirstin Dougan (Surveys and Other User Research at the Library Level; LibQUAL and NSM and Impact on Library Services and Spaces)


Library Assessment at Illinois

LibQual data and reports

11:45 – 11:55 am – Report Out from Tables; Initial Themes from Small Group Discussions Conducted Throughout the Morning


11:55 am – 12:00 pm – Closing Remarks (Paula)


Discussion Questions:


1)      What have you learned about user research in the Library from the presentation?

2)      What have you learned about the way user research is informing the development of Library services and/or Library decision-making?

3)      How could you use the research you’ve just heard about in your own work?

4)      What else could we be doing in the area you’ve just heard about?