Linking Library Spaces to Users' Needs and Preferences
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00000804/00001
 Material Information
Title: Linking Library Spaces to Users' Needs and Preferences
Physical Description: Conference Papers
Creator: Butson, Linda C.
Norton, Hannah F.
Tennant, Michele R.
Botero, C.
Conference: Annual Meeting of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association, 2011
Abstract: Question/Objective: In order to inform remodeling plans for our 36-year old Health Science Center Library space and improve library services, users’ needs and the characteristics of library spaces which they value were identified. Setting or Participants: Faculty, staff and students of the University of Florida’s Health Science Center. Methodology: In the fall of 2010, the University of Florida’s health Science Center Library conducted an eight-question survey asking students, faculty, and staff what they want and need in an ideal library space. Survey results from 320 respondents were analyzed. Focus groups were conducted beginning in April 2011 and will continue through early fall. Findings: Users are keenly aware of the advantages and challenges of our current library space. Respondents offered numerous suggestions for potential improvements; most frequently related to computers and technology, group study spaces, and furniture. The Library has used the results to confirm decisions regarding library space use. We created additional study rooms, purchased new furniture and consolidated the library collection and removed stacks from the first floor to allow for new and innovative uses of the space. Survey results have been used to communicate with the administration of the Health Science Center about the Library’s goals and our users’ needs. Conclusion: Patrons at an academic health science center have diverse needs within library spaces; eliciting their input is vital to any renovation or building planning. Assessment must be ongoing to assure that users are actively engaged with the library.
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Hannah Norton.
Publication Status: Unpublished
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution License. This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as they credit the author for the original creation.
System ID: IR00000804:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:

Butson_and_Norton_SCMLA_space_presentation_2011 ( PDF )

Full Text


LINKING LIBRARY SPACES TO USERS’ NEEDS AND PREFERENCESLinda C. Butson, Hannah F. Norton, Michele R. Tennant*, Cecilia Botero Health Science Center Libraries*and UF Genetics InstituteUniversity of Florida


BackgroundThe 36-year old Health Science Center Library is the only library on campus that has not undergone significant renovations.


BackgroundGiven support from our library dean, the opportunity arose to begin planning for renovation of our space.Any renovation requires substantial input from our users about their needs and preferences in order to remain a space that is well-used.


GoalsTo identify user needs and the characteristics of library spaces which they value.To assess the library space needs and preferences of our students, faculty, and staff in order to inform HSCL remodeling plans and improve library services.


MethodsAn IRB-approved study design consisting of 2 phases:Phase 1: Fall 2010Electronic survey distributed to all Health Science Center (HSC) students, faculty, and staff320 responses receivedPhase 2: Spring –Fall 2011Focus groups of HSC students, faculty, and staff7 focus groups conducted with a total of 23 participants


Survey8-question survey created in SurveyMonkeyDistributed viaEmail listservsfor HSC colleges and departmentsProminent link on HSC Library homepageDemographic questions and 3 open-ended questions:What do you like about the HSC Library’s current space?What is missing in the HSC Library’s current space?What would you like to see in an ideal HSC Library space?


Survey Results: Demographics 9% 16% 11% 27% 25% 9% 3%Responses by College Dentistry (9%) Medicine (16%) Nursing (11%) Pharmacy (27%) Public Health and Health Professions (25%) Veterinary Medicine (9%) Other (3%) n = 308 18% 53% 8% 19% 2%Responses by Status Undergraduate Student (18%) Graduate Student (53%) Staff or Resident (8%) Faculty (19%) Other (2%)


Survey Results: Library Usage 25% 38% 16% 14% 7%How often do you use the HSC Library’s resources from outside of the library? Every day (25%) Every week (38%) Every month (16%) Less than once a month (14%) Never (7%) n = 303 14% 39% 17% 22% 8%How often do you come to HSC Library? Every day (14%) Every week (39%) Every month (17%) Less than once a month (23%) Never (8%) n = 302


Survey Results: Open-ended questions 0102030405060708090Miscellaneous Services & collections Quiet & sound insulation Space to relax Study & meeting rooms Furniture Ambience Lighting & windows Copiers & printers Computers & technology Group study space Individual study space Study space generalNumber of Responses What do you like about the HSC Library's current space? What is missing in the HSC Library's current space? What would you like to see in an ideal HSC Library space?Responseswere assigned to multiple categories where appropriate. n = 200


Our Response So FarCreated 7 new study rooms from storage and unused office space –painted and equipped with whiteboards.Increased number of public computers.Purchased new tables and chairs.


What We’ve Done So FarConsolidated our print journal collection to one floor (third floor), moved our monograph collection to the second floor, opened up the first floor for study space. Before


What We’ve Done So FarDuringAfter


Focus GroupsRecruitment:All participation was voluntary.Notices were posted in the library and distributed on listservs.Library staff invited patrons at the library directly prior to focus groups.Three librarians facilitated the sessions.Participants included graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, library staff and student assistants, non-UF users.A standard list of questions was used to direct the conversation during each focus group session.


Focus Group Themes


Theme: Study spacesOur patrons appreciate the space for group study on our first floor, a space to talk.Quiet is highly valued in our library, and our patrons understand that the third floor is designated for quiet, individual study.“Ideal learning environment… has to be a mixture… you have to have some loud spaces like the ground floor and you have to have quiet areas in the same location so you can move around… like basically how it is here.”


Theme: Computers & technologyOur computers are a highly valued resource.More computers for groups and individuals would be useful.We need to be sure there are enough power outlets throughout our space. “…we use this library for the big screens… to look at the, the anatomy pictures or things like that”


Theme: Ambience and comfortPatrons described our space as being: bright, comfortable, clean, modern.They also described it as: not appealing on the eyes, old, too much white, not inviting.Suggested improvements include: plants, art on the walls, glass, wood, reading and floor lamps, carpeting, rugs, more homey feel, painting the walls soft colors“there was a very institutional prison-like quality about the library, and I think you’re gradually breaking that down”


Theme: FurnitureThe library needs more comfortable seating, particularly lounge-style seating.Big tables are preferred to some of the smaller ones. “[my ideal learning environment has] comfortable chairs and places where you can just kind of relax while you study”


Theme: Study and meeting roomsMore study rooms, particularly group study rooms would be appreciated.Study rooms could be bigger and all contain computers.Study rooms are not fully sound-proof. “more group study rooms are needed because a lot of times I would come in… and you wouldn’t have any study rooms available.”


Lessons LearnedPizza may not be an adequate inducement for participation in a focus group. Users did not know about many existing services and facilities. The library needs more marketing of what we do offer.In addition to our primary Health Science Center population, undergrads and those from outside UF use and value our facility.


Future ActivitiesContinue focus groups and recruit more participants through collegesRecruit faculty participation Plan for marketing of facilities and servicesLook at lighting, art and color in the library Visit and review other libraries’ space arrangementsIdentify furniture to be purchased when money is availableGive users the opportunity to draw their ideal library space