Tell us what you like! Getting student input

At Massey University Library we are reorganising some of the student areas on level 1 of our building on the ManawatŇę campus. As part of this project my colleagues on the project team are gathering feedback from students about what types of furniture they would like.

Their method for gathering feedback is straightforward and simple – and utterly brilliant.

A display has been set up to gather the feedback. There are visuals for the different furniture options and a short description for each. Nothing too wordy here:

photo (11)


Students can vote for the furniture options they would like:

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They also have the option to add other comments on post-it notes:

photo (12)


And this has to be my favourite post-it ūüôā

photo (2)In addition we have also given students the option to comment on our Library blog, Library Out Loud, and via our Facebook page.



We so do not want to be the socks

Yet another snappy video from Arizona State University – this time showing how students can connect with the¬†Library to give feedback. I love the analogy with birthday presents – if you don’t tell someone what you want, you’ll end up with socks ūüėČ

Twitter (yes again) – how Christchurch City Libraries are getting it right

A link to a recent article on the Stuff website was posted to the NZ-libs discussion list in what I felt was a bit of a “cautionary tale” type warning. The post prompted an¬†interesting¬†response¬†from the team at Christchurch City¬†Libraries. Marion Ogier,¬†Content Manager, ¬†Digital Library Web Team, replied with a description of how they trialled Twitter, got it approved and went on to use it as part of their¬†social media¬†strategy. I thought it was such a good outline of what good practice can look like I asked permission to reproduce it here:

Christchurch City Libraries is using Twitter¬†and we haven’t found any pitfalls yet. The process went – play, learn, trial, learn, corporate approval.¬†Team members played with Twitter as private individuals and explored its potential. A plan was then drawn up to describe how we could use Twitter to communicate with the community about the library. Library management and then the wider council management approved a three month trial.¬†After the initial trial, we recorded what had been happening and made a case for continuing permanently. Approval was granted and its been full steam ahead.¬†All six members of the web team contribute tweets on a daily basis, and we use our initials and faces so people know who said what. Tweeting happens seven days a week.¬†We schedule tweets across a month or a week if we promoting a particular resource e.g heritage photos with a summer theme, interesting clubs in our Community Information site and so on.¬†We promote new content and resources and point¬† to things people may not realise we have. A great example recently was our guide to Christchurch street and place names which ended up being referenced on TV 1’s breakfast show thanks to some Twitter conversation.¬†We also respond to people’s comments and queries, join in conversations, and are proactive in following Christchurch people.¬†The results have been very positive and we have had great feedback.

 Some of that positive feedback also came via the NZ-Libs list. Clearly their policy of going the extra mile and promoting community groups via Twitter is winning them fans and supporters. The response below is again reproduced with permission of the author, Richard Mahoney:

To add to the feedback … I’m a co-founder of Hounds 4 Homes, a¬† charity rehoming¬†retired racing greyhounds. Last week I was telephoned¬†and emailed by one of the Christchurch Library Web Team. It was time¬† for the annual check and update of our details in the CINCH (Community¬†INformation CHristchurch) database. This year, though, was slightly¬†different. Having adjusted our details the web team was planning¬† — with our permission — to schedule a tweet, sending out into the¬†aether a few details about what we are up to and giving a link to our¬†site. Naturally I was pleased that the Library was going to such¬†trouble and making such a constructive use of web resources. But they¬†did more than this. They were so well organised that I even had the¬†chance to review the copy of the tweet. If ever anyone tries to¬†convince local rate payers that they are not getting value for money¬†or that decent, informed library staff are somehow superfluous … ūüėČ

Well done Christchurch City Libraries!

Business using social media to connect with customers

Another article on businesses using social media  was published in The Dominion Post today (you should be able to click on the image below to read the whole thing in the Library Press Display viewer). Some interesting bits: 

  • Telecom’s Twitter account has been live for 2 years and now has more than 6000 followers – “it is not a controlled marketing stream” but features tweets from a team of technology enthusiasts. It has however been used to deal with customer queries during the XT outages
  • Telecom: “From a business point of view, there’s a brand benefit, better communication with customers”.
  • Pro-Twitter Telecom staffers did face cynicism from those in the company who “didn’t get it” – but they have had an “oops, sorry” response when the benefits of Twitter as a way to connect with customers became obvious
  • Air New Zealand sees social media as a “channel to gain valuable customer feedback and as a channel to share brand messages”
  • Air NZ have dedicated staff working on their social media accounts including @flyairnz¬†and @airpointsfairy
  • Air NZ see the biggest benefit of social media as the speed of customer feedback. It will be a massive growth area in the next 2 years for them “especially in the way we do customer surveys and gather insights”

It appears that Air NZ at least isn’t nervous about making quick decisions about utilising social media and getting on with it – the @airpointsfairy account was “set up after an idea from the internal team that went live the same day”. Quick work!¬†


The Dominion Post
16 Apr 2010

Gathering feedback from students

At Massey University Library we’ve been gathering student feedback in two areas recently. We’ve run a focus group to gather¬†comments about a knowledge management in research series run by one of my College Liaison colleagues – a¬†series¬†targeted at staff¬† and students. (I was planning to take the focus group but circumstances meant someone else stepped in and took it for me). I think my colleague has got some good pointers as to how he can revamp the sessions.

Secondly we’ve been asking for volunteers to test some online tutorials¬†that we are devising – these will be available to be loaded into the University’s Moodle offerings for specific papers. Students are asked to watch the¬†tutorial that has been prepared (usually about 4-5 minutes), and then work through an exercise to see what they picked up from the tutorial. We record what they do, and their comments as they work through the exercise. Their reward is chocolate ūüôā

Meanwhile Brian Mathews has also been gathering student comments on next-gen library catalogues.

No-one is claiming any of these qualitative research efforts are robust in terms of sampling  etc but they all help in gaining student perspectives!