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Library annual report

Students at the heart of our library

We work with our students to develop our services. We carry out a variety of evaluations, assessments and observations to understand our users and the impact we have. We listen to feedback and respond positively whenever we can to continually improve access and our students’ experience.

Using user experience research to improve services

Customer journey mapping

Over the last year the Library has performed customer journey mapping exercises to gain insights into how students and researchers use our services. Through observational studies, photo studies, diary studies, and focus groups we’ve learned:

  • which are our most popular types of seating
  • how students navigate using our signage
  • what aspects of our service students don’t expect or anticipate
  • what students really think about desk hogging.

We’re also running a longitudinal study to understand how the use of Library services changes as students progress through their time at Leeds.

Library Advisory Panel

In 2018–19 we launched the Library Student Advisory Panel, open to all students to join. Students sign up to be consulted about service developments or to participate in customer research. The panel recruited over 240 students in its first year.

The student voices on the Panel give us insight into issues as varied as the development of Minerva module areas; changes to the Skills@Library workshop programme; the refurbishment of Library spaces and the implementation of the new Library Search.

Welcoming new students

All students

New pop-up sessions introducing the Library to new students ran at the start of the academic year. Staff actively engaged with students to answer queries, for example to help them find a book or to demonstrate how to use the self-service units. The sessions were a success and were well used by students.

International student tours

We provided friendly orientation sessions for new international students. The small size of the tour groups gives the students the space and confidence to ask lots of questions and they are very appreciative of the opportunity.

Lifelong learners

Working with the Lifelong Learning Centre we recognised that lifelong learning students tended to study at the Centre in the Ziff Building and were avoiding the Library. We created informal welcome sessions to make the Library less intimidating, so the students can make the most of their time at Leeds and feel part of the wider student body. As these students often use the Library outside of core hours, we made sure the sessions ran at different times, in the evening and at the weekend. Feedback from these sessions is very positive.

If you’re shy, our enquiry desks can be daunting to approach. The pop-up format is more friendly and makes it clear that we are here to help and answer any questions.

James Booth, Customer Services Assistant

Improving services through customer feedback

Lidded drinks and hot water on tap

Being unable to bring a hot drink into the Library was a cause of dissatisfaction and did not match with student expectations. Students are now able to enter the Library with both hot and cold drinks as long as the drink has a secure lid to avoid spillages. The response to this change was overwhelmingly positive. We took this opportunity to support the University’s “Plastic free by 2023” campaign and encouraged the use of reusable cups.

We asked international students what we could do to enhance their student experience. Hot water provision was one of the most regular responses. As a result there is now a hot water dispenser at the Edward Boyle Library.

Improving access through collaboration

Improvements to services and facilities are transforming the service we offer our disabled students. Based on feedback from our students, we added more equipment to our accessible study rooms. We created detailed maps of the rooms and equipment available in the libraries. We are working with Disability Services to find further ways to improve our service, and run training sessions for their personal assistants, mentors and tutors.

We offer personalised tours and induction sessions to all of our disabled students at any time of year.

Andy Jones, Customer Services Assistant

Minerva engagement data: working to reduce student non-continuation

Student outcomes data shows a rise in non-continuation. Our Learning Technologies Team worked with colleagues in faculties and Educational Engagement to investigate how student engagement data from Minerva links to student outcomes and success.

The pilot used reports from “Analytics for Learn” to focus on first year undergraduate students at risk of non-continuation in semester one. It considered data on engagement and module scores within the VLE and reviewed the availability and accessibility of the data sources.

The working group found that the data was effective at identifying students who may benefit from additional support and sparked work to evolve processes to improve the student experience.

In 2019–20 the reports will be run in real time at an institutional level and supplied to Student Success and Support Officers in each faculty to enable individualised support.

Working with the library to develop reports using Minerva data has been transformational in the approach to understand and address the barriers faced by some students.

Louise Banahene, Head of Educational Engagement

Helping to reduce stress at exam time

Timely information on study spaces

A new approach to exam communications aimed to reduce stress by giving students seat availability information in each library at this extremely busy time. We created an analogue solution using whiteboards that were updated hourly with how many seats were available. This gave students a snapshot of space across all the libraries, so that if the library they were in was full, they knew where to go next to find a study place. There was high engagement with the boards and fewer space complaints from students, despite an increase in student numbers.

Mindfulness colouring

Mindfulness colouring was piloted at the Edward Boyle Library to support student wellbeing during the summer exam period. We collaborated with LUU and Student Counselling to provide information on topics such as low moods, sleeping problems, drop-in session information, and also included the exam support from Skills@Library. The pilot was so popular with students that more materials were needed.

I felt like we made a difference to those who needed us at this stressful time. From the first day it attracted people to the table to colour, other took a pot of pens and some colouring sheets away. Some left their coloured pictures on the desk which was nice to find the next morning.

Gilly Langley, Customer Services Assistant