Case study

From questionnaire to a new group study space

Central Library of the MU Faculty of Arts

For

Students

Time

1.5 years

Number of people in the team

6 people

The team from the MU FA Central Library had long sensed what afflicted the students - they missed a place for group study and place where they could get some refreshments. In order obtain convincing arguments, the librarians decided to map users’ needs by means of questionnaires.

After several months of analyzing the data and designing of possible solutions, they created a basement space for students’ use. The result is a cozy environment for group study, which even includes a shared kitchenette.

The procedure employed by the library

It started with a questionnaire

First, the librarians needed to map the ways students used the library at the time and whether it fulfills their needs. The questionnaire consisted of 10 questions in order not to discourage students from completing it. It was created in a simple and freely available Google Forms. It was sent via bulk email to all students of the faculty with 1.635 responses (16% of all students) in 5 days. A team of six librarians spent roughly a week on evaluating the responses. In spite of the fact that the last question was open-ended, the categorization revealed that a significant number of users agreed on a single demand.

x 70 I am missing relaxation zones

x 45 I miss books in the book stacks

x 43 I miss a place for group study

Read about the results of the questionnaire investigation

 

The questionnaire was followed by a poll

The library also needed to verify which of the changes proposed in the first questionnaire are the most interesting ones for the students. Based on this, they could decide on which changes to prioritize. This is why the questionnaire was followed up by a poll, which consisted of 8 question addressing the possible changes in the library spaces. Google Forms were used once again. The bulk e-mail was responded to by 998 students.

65 % missed the group study space

59 % missed lockers

56 % missed space for relaxation where they could speak aloud

53 % missed individual study spaces

Look at the results of the poll

 

Opening of the group study space

The one problem that afflicted most of the users and that was possible to do something about was the absence of the group study place where one could also relax. The basement of the library was a suitable place for this purpose. The librarians equipped it with furniture and and kitchenette for library employees with basic appliances was made available to the public. Thus, the basement became a popular place.

The Library of Ideas as an inspiration for future innovations

“The Library of Ideas” is a variation on I Wish This Was... method which is well-known in Czech libraries. A box resembling the library building serves as a tool for systematic collection of feedback. It also exists in an on-line form which can be found on the website of the library.

Keep in mind that...

  • Questions in a questionnaire have to be formulated clearly and intelligibly, avoid the use of foreign words and terms. Clearly formulated question asks about one thing only. An understandable language will ensure that users will not think about the meaning of the question, but rather about their answers.
  • Bulk e-mail might can be the best means for collecting a large number of responses. Since you do not have control over who will eventually complete your questionnaire, use a couple of identifying question - these ensure that you can easily find out, for example, if the ratio of the students enrolled in full-time studies and combined studies who responded matches the actual ratio of students on the faculty.

What users say about the change

  • “Thanks so much! Now the library has everything I have always wished for.”
  • “An amazing thing, this corner, thank you, library!”
  • “This is what I missed. Thank you!”

Methods used

When you need to collect a lot of opinions in a short time

When you need a quick feedback

When you want a creative means of collecting the feedback

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