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LibraryWalkabout

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 9 months ago

Exercise to walk around library and make observations as if a student, walking into the library for the first time. Note the good and the bad. 09.13.2007

 

General Observations (true of most floors/areas)

  • signage:
    • not enough of it!!!
      • need far more directional signs for areas/floors
        • each floor sign should say the level, and then list the 3-4 main areas on it, for exmaple: "Basement: bound periodicals, microforms, study rooms"
      • every floor and elevator area (at the bulletin board and at the doors onto the main floor (from the elevator area) should have a large sign with the department name
      • on the opposite side of those doors, there should be a sign reading "elevator" (the elevators are hard to locate, if you took the stairs up)
      • need informational signs about wi-fi (patrons often don't realize it's in the library, or know how to use it)
      • above computer areas, there are some signs that say "electronic resources." this is really confusing--shouldn't the sign either say "public computers" -- or nothing at all?
    • inconsistent in style (should use same colors/text/etc.)
    • inconsistent / unclear in message (the cell phone signs)
    • hard to read (primarily because it's small text / too much text)
    • not posted high-profile enough in high-traffic areas or where people expect them to be
  • furniture
    • all the white tables/carrels look old; the white carrels make me claustrophobic
    • I like the grey tables; don't like the old grey chairs, but love the new ones with "holes" in them
    • the armchairs in the "relaxing" areas are a good idea, but those chairs themselves aren't very comfortable--something softer with a more cushiony, less square look would be nice
  • tiled areas (versus carpet)
    • very loud and slippery to walk on, especially in dress shoes--wish it was all carpeted
  • most of the stacks aisles seem inaccessible to wheelchairs
  • very few offices are labeled with the department and the occupant's name!! (as a staff member and as a student, this drives me nuts)
  • stairwells
    • the stairs always look dirty to me. i have wondered if they are ever cleaned.
    • many floor signs are missing in the stairwell areas
  • materials behind the reference desk seem a little "forbidden" -- as a student, i never knew if i could get them myself or not, and patrons often seem intimidated at walking behind the desk.
  • abstracts/indexes areas and signs
    • as a student, and one who loved the library, i didn't know what these were for a long time
    • therefore, i don't see why they are often the first books you see on a floor (definitely on the first floor--i'd love to swap those shelves with the main reference collection; somewhat on the third floor as well)
  • dictionaries on stacks near the stacks -- i love these on every floor, and loved using them as a student. those locations are really useful.
  • staff nametags are really difficult to read, which only makes them useful as a clue that a person might be a staff member of some kind. i'd rather they were maybe green (or otherwise better "branded" as UNT) and with bigger text, stronger contrast.
  • bathrooms
    • hard to locate on every floor, but especially the first floor (need better signs!)
    • no place to put books/backpack/cellphone/etc.
    • third floor SW girl's door sticks all the time

 

Exterior

  • gorgeous library mall area
    • i love all the benches, and the fact that students sit and read on them a lot--it looks inviting
    • the fountains look great and sound nice
    • i love all the greenery--trees, bushes, plants are all nicely trimmed and look fantastic
    • the brick walkways look very sharp, and are a nice darker color to contrast with all that beige brick in the buildings
  • lots of old, old gum on the sidewalk directly in front of Willis--looks dirty
  • until recently, I didn't see a sign that read "Willis Library" -- now there is a sign, but it's a little hidden behind a light pole and the emergency beacon. i'd rather have it further out from the library, so that it attracts attention from the mall area. or maybe just a second sign on the other side of the walkway would help.
  • trashcans (ones closest to library doors)
    • these are almost always very smelly, even when they don't seem particularly full. i'd rather there were no trashcans right by the door--only the two that are further away, on the brick in the library mall area. those don't smell, and they aren't as distracting. the ones near the door are the main thing I notice as I walk up to the library door (that and the smell).
    • also, there is often liquid trash that leaks from these onto the sidewalk. it's made an ugly stain on the sidewalk, and i hate having to walk through it.
  • the bookdrop is hard to use when your arms are full of books, and using it blocks the accessible entrance... which seems ironic, really.
  • the library hours sign isn't very noticeable, but i know the hours change a lot, so the sign needs to be changeable. no better ideas for that.

 

Lower Level

  • elevator access seems difficult for wheelchair
  • hard to find the vending area; also need to advertise it on the ground floor.
    • "snack lounge" is not really descriptive of an area with just three vending machines
    • the sign is crooked above the door
    • if the door opens and you're using the far-right vending machine, you get hit by the door
  • mix of computer cases and models for public use--makes everything look second-hand
  • it's easy to locate periodicals alphabetically by title, but also hard to browse by genre
    • therefore, I only come downstairs when I can't get an article online, and I really really need it
  • microform cabinets are mis-matched, reader machines look old (again, looks second-hand)--also looks "difficult" and makes me not want to use microforms because they are confusing
  • office and staff are a bit hidden
  • study carrels look nice, and I *love* the powered carrels
  • I don't notice the sign/map as I come down the stairs or as I exit the elevator area--it doesn't face either area, the print is small, and it's not a colorful sign.
  • As a student, I didn't know what the study rooms were, or really that they were even there, much less how to request one. I'd have used them several times if I'd only known. Need to advertise them on the ground floor.
  • the plants in the microforms area are "friendly" looking; I like them.

 

First Floor

  • when I first walk inside , I feel direction-less and confused (I did as a student, anyway)
    • not enough read-able signs (besides the third-floor sign that catches the eye--it's large, green, and branded--all our signs should be like this!!!)
    • can't see the reference desk. this is by far the most glaring error in Willis to me (second is the lack of appropriate/readable signs)
    • when i walk up to the reference desk, i still can't see the staff behind their monitors--they need to sit higher, or the desk should be higher, or something.
    • not sure what the checkout desk is for; two or three of the people working this desk are friendly and attentive, but more of them are bored or non-friendly-looking. i wouldn't ask them questions, most likely.
    • the stairs in the middle make me wonder what floor i'm on, since there are clearly stairs going down one floor--and there aren't signs to tell me which floor this is.
    • the elevator isn't visible--so when i get up to the second floor, i wonder how to get to the third/fourth floors.
    • can't see the "reference" sign when i enter (i'm short and there are bookcases in front of it)
    • i don't know how this library is classified, so i don't know where to start. a big sign like "how to find books" might help, with a brief explanation of how to use LC and where to find each section in Willis.
    • no one's looking up and offering to help when i enter (again, the reference desk needs to be closer!)
  • the CyberCafe
    • it's hard to notice when you enter Willis. The poster on the easel helps, but it doesn't give directions for where the cafe is.
    • smells nice, and is a relaxing environment
    • i like the reading corner and the computers for personal use
    • a few big boxes are standing outside of the storage area, but they're not too bad
  • the scanner isn't very visible, so i didn't know it was there until i'd worked here for several months
  • the copiers are hard to locate
  • there are parking/library maps and brochures about the library on the checkout desk, but most of the time i don't notice them on that big white space. those on the right side of the desk aren't displayed in a way that makes them easy to see--the stuff on the left is a lot easier to notice.
  • reserves
    • it's a quiet area to study -- i really enjoyed this space as a graduate student
    • i like that the glass separates it noise-wise, but still lets in light and doesn't make the space feel cut-off at all
    • it's hard to locate, though
      • "reserves" sign on the glass above the door is almost unreadable
      • no directional signs pointing to it from anywhere else
      • as a new student, i'd have no idea what "reserves" meant
      • as a new student, i didn't know how to use it at first--that you had to get a call number from the catalog, then ask for the item at the desk
      • i didn't know that reserves had the Wall Street Journal or current newspapers until i worked here
      • i didn't find where the periodicals in the "A" and "B" sections were until recently--and I've been using that space as a student for seven years
      • as a new student, i don't know to look for periodicals in reserves
      • as a new student, i'm also not sure what "periodicals" means
  • learning center (W136)
    • there is another space on-campus called "The Learning Center" that is a place for students to get tutoring--that's confusing
    • it's a great place to use computers as a student, but sometimes it seems intimidating (unless other students are already in there using computers)
    • love the chairs and new set-up; it looks very nice and inviting, roomy
  • when i notice the card catalog against the far wall, it makes me wonder if there's something in there that i won't find on the website
  • the displays near the front are always very nice, and i enjoy them; i like that they change every few weeks or so
  • inter-library loan -- i may not know what this is as a student; maybe a fun sign to advertise their services: "Need something you can't find at Willis? Ask us!"
  • circulation and its sign is fairly visible, but it would be nice to communicate to patrons that this is also security, lost/found, etc.

 

Second Floor

  • The middle stairs are confusing--they end, and then you wonder how on earth you get to the third and fourth floors.
  • I love the book poster by Jeremy Moore--it's very nice and fitting.
  • I love the big window reading area with armchairs and plants. It's one of my favorite places in the library, and I almost never see it empty.
  • Where's the copier on this floor?
  • Love the powered brown carrels.
  • Like the grey tables, not the old grey chairs.
  • The "H" section is laid out very confusing on the floor--I've had trouble using it, and a lot of trouble explaining it to patrons.
  • What is "the story of securities" display?
  • I like the LAN sign on the door--it's clear and noticeable.
  • dislike the old white carrels--they are ugly and cramped-looking.
  • need art on the two brown walls in the northeast corner.
  • don't notice the bulletin boards--too small, too many pieces of paper with too much text.

 

Third Floor

  • I love the arched window area, particularly the one on the front side of Willis. It's hard to find a seat there because it's a popular study spot.
  • however, the window is usually dirty.
  • needs to be signage to point to photocopier.
  • need sign that points to N's and P's more clearly (larger sign: "Library of Congress Call Numbers: N - P").
  • Patrons often wonder what the Oral History department is, and if it's something they can use/access. It'd be nice to have some of this info on their sign.
  • The locked carrels are nice, usually quiet, but students don't realize they can use the empty ones, and also that these are the only powered carrels on our floor (sign would be great).
  • I like the subject titles above the call number ranges on the aisle ends--it would be great if these were a little larger/more visible, but they are really nice.
  • love the big clock on the southwest side--it's easy to read (far more so than the one in the middle of the floor).
  • often get the question, "Where are the rest of the P's?" There is a sign on the floor with the last shelf, but apparently people aren't seeing it.
  • Patrons complain that they don't understand and/or can't find all the call number schemes. Better signage might help a little bit.
  • "where is room 370?" Maybe a sign near the elevator exit pointing toward DPU that says "Room 370: Digital Projects Lab."
  • Why is the card catalog here? I think it confuses some patrons.
  • I love the big colorful floor map that's extremely visible as you exit the elevator. It's useful, it looks nice, it's big enough to read, and patrons use it all the time.
  • I like the large "Info Desk" signs. As a student, these were some of the few signs I ever noticed and used.
  • I'm impressed by how attentive and friendly all our staff is on the service desk.
  • Students don't know where the microforms are (or how to use them). Better signs would help with the "where."
  • Students don't know where maps are. They routinely need to make copies of them, but we don't have a color copier or a large-format copier. Thus, they have to check maps out for 2 hours and go to a copy shop. To me, that's a barrier to access.
  • Patrons seem unclear about whether or not they can check out GovDoc material.
  • The display cases and bulletin boards aren't very noticeable, except for the colorful display directly across from the elevators.
  • Patrons notice and regularly stop at the posters on our office windows and the document ones (constitution, etc.). I always loved the Constitution one as a student.
  • area to the right of the main office door is very blank--needs some interest.
  • the main office door needs a big "Government Documents" sign.

 

Fourth Floor

  • Northeast corner is very cluttered with materials and furniture--I don't quite know where to look.
  • Reference desk staff--mixed reactions, mostly attentive/friendly.
  • Card catalog: it's big and bulky--are we expected to use it? If not, it's taking up some very valuable floor space that the music library needs.
  • Where are the bound periodicals for music? I honestly don't know.
  • The front display case is an odd shape--it's kind of difficult to look at the objects in it, although it has a very nice display in it. It seems short, even to me.
  • The Sandborn Room is gorgeous. It would be nice if it had a larger, more formal sign.
  • I love the "music scores" and "music books" signs--they are large enough to read, and clearly communicate where materials are. It would be nice if they conformed to some kind of standard sign style--but they are among the best signs in the library.
  • The Rare Book Room needs a printed sign above the door (the paper one is a little hard to read, and being to the side is odd). A "Welcome" sign of some kind would be nice, too--as a student, I assumed the closed door meant I couldn't go in. Maybe hours posted to the side--right now it looks "forbidden."
  • Similar thoughts on Archives, but they do have their hours posted, which helps. They also have a large sign, but "archives" to me as a student meant the same thing as "rare books"--I like that on the door it specifically says "University Archives." It would be great if the large sign said this, too.
  • Archives is gorgeous and has a wonderful atmosphere, very friendly staff.
  • Audio Center
    • the sign needs to be above the door and larger
    • label all the office doors
    • card catalogs again--are these used?
    • nice windows/plants, well-lit area
    • signage with "What" and "How" directions would be great--I walk in and I have no idea what to do there.
    • nice bulletin board with colorful, relevant postings
    • I think I'd only venture into the Audio Center if I was a music student, because otherwise I'd have no idea what it was or even if it was meant for student use.
  • popular fiction and geography: hard to find; I didn't know these areas were here as a library-loving student; you can't easily browse these sections, and they need larger signage (as well as directions to this section on other floors)
  • copier needs directional signage
  • bulletin board at the elevator lists all the areas on the fourth floor, but doesn't give directions. a floor map with arrows would be fantastic here.

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