News from the Dean: How Student Input Shapes the Library’s Future

In November, librarians conducted a Student Library Advisory Forum to gather feedback on the Miller Nichols Library, the library web site and library teaching.  Nourished with pizza, the students that attended provide a lot of valuable information about how they use the library and what they would like to have happen there.  They even got to design their own ideal library space!  Here’s what we learned.


Students overwhelming found the library helpful.  However, they were generally not aware of all the services they can get in in the library.  They like learning from librarians both in classes and online when they need it.

Web Site

The library web site is confusing and they didn’t always know what they were going to find when they clicked on navigation tabs and buttons.  Library hours were difficult to find as were services.  Mostly they use the library web site to find journal articles, do research and get materials through interlibrary loan.  
They were able to see a prototype of the new website we are designing and comment on it.  They liked the straightforward, clean, tiled look and found it much easier to find what they were looking for.

Miller Nichols Library Spaces

The Miller Nichols Library is partially renovated with more to come.  Consequently, the students found that parts were dated.
In general students like:

  • Natural light
  • Wooden tables (prefer rounded edges - no sharp edge tables)
  • The booths on the 1st floor
  • Having work space around their computer (didn’t like 2nd floor lab)
  • Studying on the 2nd floor (natural light, wood tables, & book stacks!)
  • Having food and drink near.
  • Having space to nap.


Students see as library needs:

  • More color (visually space looks dated. White walls with no artwork is dull, not inspiring)
  • Warmer lighting (not all fluorescent)
  • Better food choices at the cafe
  • Both open tables and closed off desk type spaces (similar to current cubicles but more surface space)
  • Space for napping (this was an important issue)
  • On-site space for “down time”.

What are we doing to address these needs:

  • We have hung some new art to help enliven some of the spaces.
  • The Dean’s Gallery on the 4th floor has its first exhibit, HEMISPHERES up through Feb. 13.
  • We are working to get better food service in the Robot Café.
  • We have added more seating to the 2nd floor, including the cubicles that were on the 4th floor.
  • We will begin the renovation of the 3rd floor that will be the new home for Special Collections and Archives. This work will begin late March and be done for the Fall 2015 semester. New study space will be available on the 3rd floor and we will take the furniture preferences into consideration as we furnish those areas.
  • There are bean bag chairs on the 4th floor if you want to take a nap!
  • We have new galleries that can display student work. Let us know what you have!

We will be conducting a similar feedback session at the Health Sciences Library for the students on Hospital Hill this Spring.