Last month, over 500 Tech Library users participated in the annual spring Library survey and provided important feedback to help improve library services and collections. Several of you provided comments or asked specific questions about some of the library’s services. Since you took the time to share your thoughts, we would like to take the time to answer some of the questions and share our plans to improve in the areas which are in our control, and identify areas not in our control. Below were some of the most commonly asked questions.
Q. I have a difficult time finding library resources and using the databases is very confusing. Do you have any ‘how to’ guides for finding resources or ways to make searching for information easier?
A. The Library has access to several databases, journals, books, and other materials –so many, in fact, that it can be very difficult to know where to begin searching. Here are some of the resources we have to assist students and faculty on how to use the Library:
1. Video Tutorials: The Library website actually has an entire page devoted to tutorials for most of our commonly used databases. Here is how to get there: library.atu.edu > Help > Database Tutorials. Many of these tutorials are YouTube videos with step-by-step instructions. We also have library tutorials on how to use the Dewey Decimal system, the Library Catalog, and Interlibrary Loan Services. These are all located at library.atu.edu > Help > Library Tutorials. We plan to add two new videos: “Intro to the Tech Library Online Resources” and “Search Efficiently the Online Catalog with Subjects” for the fall 2013 semester.
2. Instruction: The Library also provides personal and group instruction throughout the year, at the library or in a classroom elsewhere on campus. Students can schedule one-on-one instruction with Sherry Tinerella firstname.lastname@example.org, 479-964-0571 or a Library Tour with Beverly Cooper at email@example.com, 479-498-6041. Faculty can also contact Sherry Tinerella for classroom instruction or library tours. For more information, view our Information for Faculty page (library.atu.edu > Services > Information for Faculty). We are also implementing a new faculty-oriented instructional session before the fall 2013 semester begins, in addition to new subject guides for students.
Q. It takes a lot of clicks to get around on your website, and I have a very hard time finding anything! Can you make navigation better?
A. There is a horizontal menu on every Library page, but many links lead outside of the Library site, and thus the navigation becomes different. To ease finding, we are creating a Tech Library sitemap with an alphabetized list of all library services and tools. Coming soon this fall!
Journals (print and online)
Q. How come the Library does not have more full-text journals and articles?
A. Academic journal prices are very expensive. We evaluate our journal subscriptions yearly and base our selection on factors like field specialization, feedback from faculty, cost, budget constraints, electronic availability, and usage. A balance of cost of subscription per number of uses is a strong indicator as to whether we keep or cancel journal subscriptions. In other words—use it or lose it.
If you cannot find a particular article or journal title, Interlibrary Loan services can, in most cases, assist you in acquiring the article. Copyright and other agreements may restrict usage, so we may not be able to satisfy all article requests.
Students are also encouraged to suggest journals titles by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using our online suggestion form located on our “Contact Us” page (library.atu.edu > Services >Contact Us). Faculty members should send their requests directly to their departmental library liaison or department head.
Q. The Library is too loud, and there are not enough quiet places for me to study. Can you make the Library a quieter place?
A. While we cannot be everywhere at once, our staff will be more vigilant in enforcing our existing noise policy. We also have a new service desk on the second floor, next to the Music Lab, to help monitor noise levels during the day. In addition, we are creating new signage to help remind students of designated quiet zones. Designated quiet zones are located in the southeast corner of the first floor and the eastern half of the second floor. If you hear someone being excessively loud, please feel free to notify staff.
Q. Will you extend the Library hours to 24/7?
A. Over a quarter of all 328 comments suggested extending hours or have 24/7 hours as the most important way to improve one’s Library experience. However, in order to extend our hours, we need additional funding for the extra Library staff, computer services, and campus security—even for just a short time period like finals.
Q. It is too cold in the winter time and too hot in the summer time. Can you make the temperatures more comfortable?
A. Temperature controls are set by campus administration in an effort to save energy.
Q. Why can’t we have food and drinks in the Library? What about vending machines or a coffee shop?
A. This is also something set by campus administration policy. Food and drink can bring additional problems to the Library from insects, stains, and equipment damage.
Q. Where did our study rooms go?
A. This was another common response, and it is also out of our control. As Arkansas Tech grows and buildings undergo renovation, available space for displaced offices has become a serious problem throughout the campus. The study rooms in the Library help alleviate these temporary shortages, and eventually, these study spaces will return as the other buildings are completed. In the meantime, reserve the remaining study spaces early, and we will do our best to accommodate your group.
Thanks to everyone who took the survey and provided feedback. For additional comments or collection suggestions, contact us at email@example.com. Students also have the opportunity to voice their concerns and questions through their Student Government Association: firstname.lastname@example.org.