perceptions of libraries

I’m working to replace our enquiry management system with the one that is being used across the rest of the University. For this I’ve spent the last two days with members of the team who look after the new system talking to different people across the Library so that they can get an idea of how we work and we can get an idea of what the new system will do for us. This seems to have been eye-opening for them, as they now appreciate the range of activities that we do and support that we provide students and staff across the institution. They said that when it was first brought up that the Library would be moving to use the new system they couldn’t understand why, as the Library issues books, so what would they need it for?

To me that really shows that there is a lack of awareness within the organisation about what we do, especially within the support units (as opposed to the faculties). As well as a lack of awareness about libraries in general. Overcoming this on an individual basis (as I’ve done with these three people) is one thing, but trying to do it in a wider, more all-encompassing, way is far more tricky and yet more strategically important.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this, but felt the need to write it down…

One comment

  1. I feel your pain, we have the same problem here Clari.

    A lot academic staff seem to have no idea about the services we offer and it’s such a shame. A lot of them have such a negative opinion of the Learning Centres – all they see is fines, queueing, not being able to renew books when someone else wants it, having to come in to sign copyright clearance forms….

    Through liaison and involvement in school meetings, some of the staff are beginning to realise our value and we are able to work with them to help support the students by providing information skills sessions, research support, etc, etc. but like you say it’s a very slow process when you’re doing it on an individual basis.

    I’m hoping our new strategic plans can help make a start at improving knowledge about our department within the University as a whole.

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