Meeting User Needs

Meeting User Needs

Diane M. Fulkerson (University of South Florida Polytechnic Library, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0234-2.ch002

Abstract

Determining how a library can meet user needs can be accomplished through different methods. Libraries can use focus groups, surveys, or other means of assessment. Liquid+® is a survey available to all academic libraries from the Association of Research Libraries. Most libraries who administer the Liquid+® survey can use the survey results to do additional internal surveys with users or to meet with small groups of users to improve their services.
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Assessing and meeting the needs of users are the topics of discussion in most academic libraries these days. User-centered and student-centered libraries are the goal of all library renovation projects. The question to answer is; how do libraries know if they are meeting the needs of their users? The only way to know for sure is to ask users directly. In 2007, Georgia Institute of Technology was one of three recipients for the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) annual Excellence in Academic Libraries award. Throughout the design and implementation process, Georgia Tech met with users from across campus to learn about their vision for the library. In the end, numerous focus group sessions and a partnership with Georgia Tech’s Office of Information Technology transformed the library into a space that people want to use and come back to day after day (http://www.lita.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crlnews/2007/mar/07awardwinners.cfm).

Robert Fox and Crit Stuart in a 2009 article in EDUCAUSE Quarterly provide an in-depth look at the renovation and transformation of the Georgia Tech library through collaborations other departments on campus, students, and faculty (Fox and Stuart, 2009). The renovation of the Georgia Tech library resulted in the creation of an East and West Commons and each of the commons provides different services. The West Commons provides over 100 computer stations, a presentation practice studio and a multimedia center. The West Commons was designed in collaboration with the campus Office of Information Technology (OIT) but without input from students and faculty (Fox & Stuart, 2009). The East Commons was designed and created in collaboration with students and faculty.

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