Claire Ridall, Nik Young & Sarah Ward
‘have your say’ is a library initiative that engages students and helps us develop a continual dialogue with them. It provides an authentic picture of students’ expectations. It’s used to spot trends and can act as an early warning system. Data is used to inform and maintain excellent student support.
‘Have your say’ developed from a short-term library project exploring how students prefer to get help wherever they are working (in learning centres, elsewhere on campus and off-campus). Now we analyse and routinely use data from student comments in everyday business to inform minor as well as major service changes.
‘hys’ uses a variety of methods to seek student views through social media (hys blog and twitter), digital signage, events in cafe areas on campus, via flip chart boards, posters, online forms, paper comment forms and in person. Indirectly we do it through staff/student meetings providing library staff with FAQs and responses to ‘hot topics’, links with other teams and the Students Union. ‘hys’ is not just about gathering student comments, it is a continuing dialogue which champions the student experience in relation to library services and resources.
Tools like Sprout Social provide demographic and analytical information to engage and target the ubiquitous nature of student lifestyles. Prize draws, lollies and canvas bags are positive incentives for students to engage, as students approach us before we can ask them! Over 7,000 student comments have been collected, coded and analysed from across each faculty. We have taken the library to students across the campus by talking to 750 students at the last ‘hys’ event and digitally, reaching 720 blog views in a month, and 1,600 followers on twitter. Opportunities such as asking students to help us spend £40,000 on the books they would like us to add to our collection have reached full time, part time, distance learners and international students, receiving suggestions from all four faculties and from PHd students.
Changes informed by student comments include
• learning centres opening 24/7/365
• courtesy emails to remind that books are due
• improvements to the MyPC booking system
• longer café opening hours