There’s a massive libraryland industry organized around figuring out what students want from us in terms of space, collections, services, etc. We survey, observe and focus group them to death. And that’s great and incredibly valuable. But sometimes I think we might have a tendency to see what we want when we’re observing and they might have a tendency to tell us what they think we want to hear when we survey or focus group.
Personally, I like to do Twitter searches. It’s an interesting way to find out what they’re saying and thinking about us when they’re being candid and brutal and don’t think we’re paying attention. So I do searches on Steacie, Scott Library, YorkU, YorkU Library and others to gather some intelligence.
I like this one I saw today:
i will never understand how people misread the sign scott library and somehow see student centre instead. HUSH UP!
Or this one (TH refers to the Tim Horton’s coffee shops):
I swear that Yorku has implemented a “must have XL TH coffee” as 90% of students here are complying. Ah early mornings at the library.
Of course, we’re in our exam period right now, so that really skews the results towards quiet and caffeine, but it’s still very interesting and enlightening. Most of the time they bitch and moan, saying nice things and bad things, calling us out, pointing out where we fall down and where we could do things differently. They also reveal some of their own unrealistic expectations, a bit of a sense of entitlement, some student-to-student nastiness, some purposefully naughty behaviour.
Try some searches on your library — I’d love to hear what students are saying in other places too!