Asking undergrads what they think…

As Diane and I have mentioned in previous posts, Duke University Libraries staff are committed to improving our users’ experiences, and we all know that undergraduates make up a larger portion of this patron base.

This summer, Associate University Librarian for Collections and User Services Bob Byrd and I worked together to create a forum specifically intended for getting feedback about library services and resources from upper-level undergraduates (first-year students also have a newly created board for this purpose).

We put out a call for applicants and were pleasantly surprised by the number of students interested in serving on the inaugural Undergraduate Advisory Board.  Bob and I worked with two of our colleagues to select ten students representing a range of disciplines (from engineering to philosophy and everything in between), both on-campus and off-campus interests and all three classes (sophomores, juniors and seniors).

The board met for the first time in late September and has continued to meet every other Wednesday this fall.  Since September, members of the board have started a blog, posted signs in Perkins/Bostock asking for feedback about the Libraries, helped extend hours of operation for food service in the von der Heyden Pavilion during exams, investigated adding healthy food options to vending machines in the libraries, and explored jazzing up stairwells in Perkins/Bostock with literary and motivational quotations (look for updates this spring!).

In addition to spearheading projects, the board has provided valuable insights on library resources, services and web interfaces — UAB member Shining Li attended a Duke University Libraries bloggers meeting in October to share her perspective on the libraries’ use of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking tools; and just last night, UAB members provided feedback on the recently updated Libraries homepage and suggested ways to draw more applicants for the Friends of the Libraries’ Book Collectors Contest.

We’ll resume our biweekly meetings in January, and members of the board welcome your input on projects that are currently under way.  They’re also ready and willing to provide feedback on library policies and procedures…all we have to do is ask.

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