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Compass Newsletter Masthead
   Volume III, Issue 1
October 2006   

Joint Falvey and OPTIR team investigates how you use the library

On June 30, the Library Service Environment Committee, a joint VQI project of Falvey Library and the Office of Planning, Training, & Institutional Research (OPTIR), presented to Falvey Library staff members results of a six month long study. The purpose of the study was “to examine service delivery areas to ensure the services provided meet the needs of library patrons” and “to explore whether the physical layout of the public service delivery areas is conducive to providing, in the best possible way, the services that patrons need and desire.”

The idea for the study originated as a result of an offer by OPTIR at the VQI Enhancement Team leaders planning meeting in August 2005 to assist University departments in defining and enhancing work processes.

Three OPTIR staff, Dane Hewlett, director of training and organizational development, John Kelley, executive director, and Jim Trainer, director of planning and assessment, joined eight members of the Falvey staff, Jeannine Ahern, Teresa Bowden, Diane Brocchi, Luisa Cywinski, Margaret Duffy, Elizabeth Murphy, Susan Ottignon and Merrill Stein.

The committee used a number of data collection methods, including soliciting staff suggestions, conducting focus groups and surveys, observing those using library services and benchmarking visits to other libraries. Some of the data collected noted important characteristics of modern, patron-centered libraries, such as open public floor space on the entry level, more public seating areas and stations, increased areas for collaborative work and study, and designated quiet study/work space.

OPTIR contributed its expertise in analyzing work processes, data collection (such as surveys and focus groups) and the study of best practices.

The committee produced a report with a number of recommendations for staffing, space utilization, computers and technical equipment, print services and signage. Currently a transitional committee is working on the implementation of these recommendations. (See Director's Watch column for related comments.)

Contributed by Dane Hewlett and Miriam Blimm, OPTIR