July 4, 2014
During Fall 2013/Spring 2014, a planning committee at our library undertook a pilot project called Mobile Librarian Outreach.
The stated goal was as follows:
Enhance student success by expanding the library’s point of need information services to classroom and departmental common areas outside the library’s physical space, thereby providing face-to-face research support and increasing librarian/student contact.
We partnered with English/Speech teachers and set up shop in a busy hallway where these classes mostly occurred. The pilot ran for six weeks, twice a week, between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We did minimal advertising, but did have a large, stand-up sign (see image) to identify us.
Although well planned, sometimes scheduling between the library space and our outreach was a challenge. We also had issues overcoming negative feelings about the project from a small group of staff. Additionally, we need to work to make our assessment questions a bit better. Overall, though, we believe the project met its goal.
We were asked to do both a Formative and Summative Assessment of the project. Here are some results from our Summative Assessment. We gathered data in the following ways:
- Student and faculty surveys
- LibAnalytics data gathered via Springshare
- Observational data
- Self-assessment rubric results
- Comparison to the library’s 2nd floor Reference Desk
We surveyed both in classrooms and also in the hallways during the last week of the program.We also surveyed faculty via print and SurveyMonkey.
Questions answered: 124
Average length of transactions: Over 55% of transactions fell into the over 5 minute category (many around 15 minutes)
Student satisfaction with the service was high. Eighty-two percent of students who used the service would use it again, jumping to 92% for those students who originally noted that they received the help they requested.
Faculty also overwhelmingly support the continuation of the mobile librarian program (84% in Fall, 100% in Spring.)
Not only did we assist a good number of students, but a question for any future continuation would be to research how many of these students would have been non-library users. Would these students have come to the library to have their questions answered, or did we fill a gap and assist in success merely by being at the immediate point of need?
We are working to see if there is potential to make this a sustainable service in the future and doing some research in how we can branch out beyond the original group to offer service to other disciplines.
I believe our success owes much to our meticulous planning, the smart group of librarians on the planning committee, and our hard work that focused on faculty/student needs. Keeping our constituents at the forefront of our thoughts kept the heart of the project in service.