Category Archives: Services

Stay Safe Out There

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If you’ve recently been in or around PCL (and you’re a college-age student at UT), you’ve probably noticed the increased activity, especially in the hours between midnight and 4 a.m. Those late-night denizens of the central branch library at the university are a result of the expanded 24/5 service — 24-hour, 5 day-a-week — that went into effect in mid-October as the result of work by Student Government to raise the necessary funding.

While those late hours are a good thing for the students who need a place to put in dedicated study time (or for those who waited until the eleventh hour to get started), it also means that individuals will need to traverse the campus to get to and from the library in the middle of the night, a less than optimal prospect.

Student Government, however, was also able to improve this situation.

The organization developed SURE Walk, a student-run volunteer group that provides walks to and from campus to students, faculty and staff of the university, with the help of both male and female student volunteers selected from university sanctioned organizations across the campus. You can read more about it here.

The program has existed for a few years now, but SG recognized that the bulk of increases in requests would likely come from the space they fought to keep open, so they’ve decided to move the operation to the place that makes the most sense, and will be working out of the PCL, providing an extra measure of safety (and relief) to students (and parents).

SG representatives will have a small kick-off party tonight (11/14/12) at 8 p.m. in the UFCU room at the PCL, so come out and support them for making life a little safer on campus.

Tip Jars in the Library?

We all know the cliche, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so in age of YouTube and TwitterLibrary Instruction Services decided that collapsing our text-heavy web pages into succinct and visually stimulating comics and videos would help bridge new media, instruction-on-demand, and quick reference for our time-strapped undergraduates.

The idea for these short light-hearted videos evolved over time to incorporate comics instead of actor librarians; we’re slightly camera shy here and creating comic alto-egos mean we’ll never have a bad hair day. Staff in Library Instruction Services scripted the vignettes, and our Library Assistant and resident-artist Elise Nacca and Graduate Research Assistant Krystal Wyatt-Baxter used a free version of Bitstrips to create characters and dialogue incorporating the scripted scenarios.

Since their release in September 2010, the Tip Jar posts have covered topics such as how to use Google Scholar, narrowing a topic and placing it in context , finding E-Books and more.

Creating this digital content means that it’s easily distributed and re-purposed depending on student and staff needs. For instance, Tip Jar instructional videos are integrated with a collection of videos created by students from our 2009 Library Video Contest to be used in the Undergraduate Studies First-year Interest Group program as a way to introduce the students to library services in a fun and flexible way. We’ve also included these videos within our online research guides for course-integrated instruction or during a reference exchange over our Ask A Librarian chat service.

The posts run every other Monday on our News For Undergraduates Blog, which also incorporates events, resources, and items of interest for the University of Texas undergrad community. Stop by and get a tip from us!

Cindy Fisher is the First-year Experience Librarian, Library Instruction Services.


Survey says…

LQlogoWithText copyThe Libraries have fired up another round of the LibQUAL+ survey hoping to get some solid feedback on the quality of service around the branches.

This will be the eighth time we’ve randomly queried students and faculty about their perceptions of resources, collections, service, facilities and the like, and the program has been ramped up this year in order to generate higher response rates. We’ve scaled to the LibQUAL Lite version of the online survey to keep it short and simple; the current version takes about 5 minutes to complete, hitting on a smaller sample of the core questions.

We’re also trying to get in front of people with signage in conspicuous locations, and offering some carrots to the student participants in the way of automatic entry – upon completion of the survey – into drawings for one of two 16GB Apple iPads or an Amazon Kindle. How’s that for motivation?

Invitations to 4,800 current students and 1,200 faculty went out last week and the survey ends April 16, so if you’re here at the University of Texas and think you might have overlooked the initial solicitation, it might be worth taking a moment to check. This minute imposition is one of the primary ways we get real, quantifiable data directly from our users regarding the ways we can improve the Libraries for everyone, so let your voice be heard.

Coming soon to a library near you…

av_retrieval_graphicThere are no more excuses to be made for not getting knee-deep into the Libraries’ music collections.

The Fine Arts Library (FAL) has officially launched a retrieval service for its combined collection of audiovisual materials. Now users can have CDs, DVDs and other media shipped to the most convenient library branch for pick-up in around a couple of days.

I happened to be working with our Social Work & Government Librarian, PG Moreno for an article in our print newsletter, when I noticed that he had a box set of Stax/Volt Records singles on his desk, and I immediately became covetous. Continue reading Coming soon to a library near you…