2017 brings big improvements to Lee Library

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Ryan Turner
Finance senior Michael Gadberry said he enjoys using the new Lee Library carrels for his personal study. Gadberry works with Library Receiving and helped move the study carrels into the library. (Ryan Turner)

The Harold B. Lee Library will have many improvements this year, including new study carrels, single-user study rooms, a TA review room, a family-friendly study room and a single service help desk, according to HBLL Assessment Librarian Holt Zaugg.

Study carrels

One of the main reasons for upgrading the study carrels was the changing needs of students, according to Zaugg.

Lee Library Public Relations Manager Roger Layton said the study carrels are wearing out. Much research, including building a few prototypes, went into learning what upgrades students would prefer.

Lee Library Assistant Facilities Manager Debbie Christoffersen said the study carrels and other upcoming improvements are all possible because of feedback from library patrons who ask for spaces that meet certain needs. She said observations of features and students in other academic libraries have made improvements possible as well.

Christoffersen said the old carrels are over 50 years old and have been long overdue for a replacement.

“They are getting to the point where they cannot be repaired when they break. Legs and side panels are coming off, and their fragility makes them difficult to relocate,” Christoffersen said. “Those carrels have served us and thousands of students well over the last five decades, but their lifespan is pretty much done.”

Jamas Wible is a BYU junior studying finance. Wible said he uses the new study carrels about every other day. He used the old carrels but now enjoys the features the new ones have. Each new study carrel has outlets, built-in lighting, a whiteboard and a moveable footrest.

“They’re cool because they have comfy chairs, good lighting and a good amount of space,”  Wible said. “They’re in a really good spot, and it’s very quiet.”

Single-user study rooms

Layton said private study rooms prototypes have already been installed in the periodicals section on Level 2. The rooms will be small and adequately fit one person in need of a quiet space to study, but who is also concerned about disturbing others.

TA review room

Zaugg said the TA review room is a prototype implemented to test the usefulness of having a designated area for review sessions.

“There are a number of TAs on campus that struggle to find a consistent space for conducting reviews of classes, so this year, we’re letting TAs book the room and hold sessions,” Zaugg said.

The room is the size of a regular classroom and holds about 20 to 25 people, according to Zaugg.

He said posters in the TA review room and the single-user study rooms invite patrons to provide feedback through a survey for a chance to win a $20 gift card at the end of the semester.

Family-friendly room

Zaugg said construction for a family study room on the third floor will begin this semester and is estimated to be completed in September. The room will be open to all patrons but will be geared toward those with children.

Most of the data collection and analysis was conducted by Sociology 404 students and a Europe in the Middle East graduate student.

The family room will allow students with children to study without disturbing other patrons, according to Layton.

“It will have video, active games, computers and group study rooms. It will have a room for moms that want to nurse. It will have all-enclosed family bathrooms so that parents don’t have to run down the hall to change a diaper,” Zaugg said. “It’s all self-contained. It’s going to be a really sweet room.”

Zaugg and Christoffersen said research for the family room involved visiting libraries of other academic institutions, such as Utah Valley University and University of Utah, and observing what did and did not work.

Single service help desk

The Information and Help Desk and Circulation Desk on Level 3 will be combined to create a more efficient comprehensive service help desk. Zaugg and his team will be prototyping where the desk should be located by setting up a temporary service desk.

Zaugg said this issue was brought to his team’s attention after a study they performed revealed most people have issues finding a service point on the third floor when entering the library. The study also revealed most people don’t even know about the interactive library map, according to Zaugg.

Other improvements

Zaugg said in addition to these improvements, the library administration has discussed bettering the quality of other services and features, including Wi-Fi coverage, Research and Writing Center employee training, the effectiveness of the television monitors that display advertising, and even library security and its interaction with patrons.

He said he wants students to know when the library staff asks for feedback, they are listening and  act on the feedback.

Library improvement ideas often come from the Library Student Advisory Council, which meets twice a month to discuss the library, according to Layton. He said its ideas influenced the music zone on Level 2 and the study bars on Levels 2 and 5 that look into the atrium and the quad, respectively.

Layton also invited students to submit suggestions through the feedback link on the library homepage, by visiting the library administration office in HBLL 2060 or by speaking to a librarian.

Zaugg said seeing students enjoying the library’s features brings him great satisfaction  because the features meet their needs and help them succeed in their schooling.

“There are a lot of hidden gems in the library,” Zaugg said. “We hide things really well, but we’re trying to make them more visible so patrons can use them.”

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