Librarians Want to Know

We hope you know that librarians are here for you – we are in the business of supporting research at all levels, assisting students, faculty, and everyone in the Duke community. In an effort to improve the services we provide, we are trying to better understand the research habits and needs of different groups at Duke. This is where the User Studies Initiative comes in. We are trying to get past our own preconceived notions about what our users need and base decisions about library services on empirical evidence. The User Studies Initiative is a staff development effort, providing librarians at Duke with the tools and know-how to conduct effective user studies.


On Monday, March 8th, a group of Duke librarians presented this work-in-progress to colleagues from across North Carolina at the annual LAUNC-CH Conference. Their talk, Know Thy User: Duke Libraries User Studies Initiative, demonstrated to other librarians the feasibility of conducting effective, targeted studies to better understand users’ needs and wants. Diane Harvey and Yvonne Belanger provided the big picture view of the initiative, and Emily Daly, Linda Daniel, and Shawn Miller discussed studies they are currently working on. To read more about the presentation, see Diane Harvey’s post on the new Instruction & Outreach blog.

What do you wish the library did that it doesn’t? The User Studies Initiative is an ongoing project intended to generate a culture of continual assessment and improvement of library services. Let us know what you think!

Written by Alice Whiteside

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