Easy Ways to Make a Difference

At some time in your life at UofL, you may have received a survey from one of the departments in the library.  [It’s even more likely that you’ve participated in a survey from another department.]  When they’re done right, surveys can provide a low cost opportunity to sample a population’s behaviors and attitudes. Currently, we’re analyzing the text responses from the last major survey in 2012. With almost 3700 free-form responses, it’s been quite a task!  But, we’ve finished analyzing the faculty responses, are about 2/3 of the way through the graduate responses, and eager to start on the undergraduate responses.


While surveys provide valuable feedback, often times, they don’t explain why a behavior happens, or clarify/contextualize a response.  For this purpose, the University Libraries utilizes focus groups, observation studies, and advisory boards.  Many times, these qualitative studies require no more than an hour of your time. And, most times we give an incentive for participation!

Currently we have:

  • Completed focus groups with 2nd year medical school students
  • Conducted observation studies in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room
  • An active Libraries Student Advisory Board

Upcoming studies include:

  • Library website usability study
  • Archives and Special Collections focus groups

Why does it matter?
For the Libraries
Collectively, the findings from of each type of study give us a more holistic understanding of user needs & expectations. This, in turn, informs changes that we make to the libraries and their resources.

For you
This is an opportunity for you to not only share where you’ve had successes (or failures) with the libraries and its systems, but share insight as to how you think it can be done differently. I know you’re bursting with ideas! You’ve used other libraries, other sites, and had lots other experiences that have developed your creative muscle.

Additionally, by sharing through these formal channels, your voice will be heard by those empowered to make changes. In fact, we already have implemented changes that came from your suggestions – we’ve increased the number of electrical outlets, increased hours during finals, and most recently created more quiet study space with our 4th floor renovation.

How do I get involved?

  • If you haven’t already done so, connect with us on our social media pages
  • Keep an eye out for our calls for participation – we’ll post them on social media and via other avenues on campus
  • Respond to that call – time involvement can be anywhere from 15 minutes up to an hour

We want to learn from you; we want to listen; and, we want to make your experience better.

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