Monday, October 16, 2017

Quality Study Area for JCU Students

From the suggestion box:

Why can't JCU simply create a no-food area? Other peoples stinky food and intense study does not mix. JCU sits on numerous acres for the placement of picnic style tables and chairs and yet still, numerous eager studious persons are forcibly held to ransom by uncaring unthinking, foodies. People can eat anywhere they want, all throughout the JCU campus, but studies can often only be performed in the computer study areas.

Please consider all students and create a foodie-free area. One silent zone area or some new silent foodie-free area must be offered. It is not fair to discriminate against the studious who prefer to study in a noise-free, stink-free area.

Best to create a food eating area. inconsiderate students currently are able to be rude to others and this is simply unfair.

Eating is an activity of community. It is where people chat and discuss personal, daily ongoings with friends and family. It is like walking, strenuous exercising and sleeping; all different to the information thought process of creating.

JCU must consider all students and all students will find comfort in the knowledge that food may be eaten where food eating is taking place. That place is not in the study confines of a library.

Library response:
Thank you for your feedback about food in the library.

The library aims to provide comfortable, welcoming and secure spaces for study, research, work reflection and interaction, and an environment that is inclusive and diverse. In keeping with this the library has developed zones (collaborative, quiet, silent) and required that only cold food and covered drinks be consumed in the library, on the condition that it does not disturb other library users. The library actively manages these spaces, aiming to respond to client needs, such as the expectation of being able to drink and eat in the library, with the expectation of being able to study in a quiet, odour-free space. Being able to consume non-smelly and non-noisy food and covered drinks is a common feature of many university libraries. JCU Library staff are available to help ensure the library continues to be a pleasant experience for everyone. If you are having specific issues with students eating food in the library please contact a library staff member (in person or via chat) at the time and the staff member will attend and address the situation in accordance with the library’s guidelines.

All the best with your studies.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Digital Microfilm Reader in Mabo Library

From the suggestion box:
Can the digital microfilm reader be moved to a quieter location in the Mabo Library please? The current location is noisy. Many students frequent the line of computers to the right of the machine. Others congregate and conduct group work on the tables nearby. Noise is persistent on weekdays. A secluded, quiet location anywhere else in the library is preferable to the immediate proximity of the reels.

Library response:
Thank you very much for your suggestion to move the digital microfilm reader. We have now relocated the reader to the northern side of the building - at the end of the row of computers near the wall (close to the record collection and with a gap between the last desk space with a computer), in anticipation of that space being a quieter area for research using the microfilm reader. Please let us know how that space works out for you.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cairns Library Upgrades

From the suggestion box:
I'm curious to know if the Cairns library will be upgraded into a modern learning space in the foreseeable future? I'd like to see study nooks and pods installed that are conducive to learning. The toilets would also benefit from a renovation. Also, it would be handy to have an ATM on site.

Library response:

Thanks for your questions and ideas.
We are pleased to let you know that Cairns Library is scheduled to have a refurbishment of its Ground Floor, commencing the week after Study Period 2, 2017 exams and completing prior to Study Period 1, 2018. The refurbishment focuses on creating flexible, technology-enabled, learning-centred library spaces, including individual and collaborative learning. The toilets won’t be included in the refurbishment but we will pass on your feedback to Estates. We will also pass on your feedback about the ATM to Estates and the JCU Student Association. All the best for your studies and we hope you enjoy using the refurbished Cairns Library next year.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

High chairs for benches at Cairns Campus Library

From the suggestion box:
High chairs for the benches on the second floor would make studying easier because we are able to access power points and sit at a place that is relatively quiet.

Library response:
Thank you very much for your suggestion to purchase high chairs that can be used at the benches (with power points) on Level 1 of the Cairns Campus Library.

We are keen to improve this space for students and are aiming to have appropriate seating installed as part of a building project that is scheduled to start mid-year. We will keep everyone informed about the scheduling of the improvements.

Your feedback is very timely and will assist us with our project proposals so thanks once again for taking the time to supply it.

Monday, April 24, 2017

More power points please

From the suggestion box:

Please get the power points fixed. Very frustrating when you have to try 8 power points before you get one that works. Also, more power points by big tables. 4 power points for 3 tables of 8 is not enough and there are tables with no power points anywhere near them.

Library response:

Thank you for your feedback.  Can you be more specific about the areas you feel require additional more power points?

In regards to certain power points not working, are you referring to the power points along the southern wall on the first floor? There are power distribution issues in this area that  are exacerbated when students connect devices that are not compatible; this trips all the power points along that row out. Unfortunately this is a common occurrence with the only solution being to have an electrician reset them.  We report this weekly so if you notice the power points are not working please report it to staff at the InfoHelp desk.

As you can understand the age of the building makes it difficult to add further infrastructure (i.e. additional power points) in certain areas.  When we create student spaces we do our best to ensure that furniture is situated near power points.

There are also lockers in the InfoCommons that have dedicated power and you can borrow mobile chargers for your laptop/phone at the InfoHelp Desk.

Please get back to us if you have any more suggestions.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Make the Library TalkBack Board more accessible on the website

From the suggestion box:

It took me some time to find the Library TalkBack Board on the website. A link should be placed in a more prominent position. It is important to keep the lines of communication open, and it is important for the Library continue to support this form of feedback.

Library response: 

Thank you for you feedback. There are a lot of competing demands for space on the Library website. You may be aware that you can click on Get Help to access Library Feedback and Suggestions, this includes a link to previous feedback (on the Talkback Board). A link to the Talkback Board is available from the About tab which appears on every library webpage.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Clash between group study rooms and silent study spaces

From the suggestion box:

While I recognise the rights of students to access both group study rooms as well as silent study spaces (particularly on the 2nd floor), I find that it is a clear clash that there are group study rooms in fact located on the 2nd floor of the library. I frequently use the 2nd floor for the 'silence' it enforces, but often find it very disruptive to listen to large groups speaking very loudly/chattering/laughing. Quite often they are so loud that I can tell they're not even using it for study purposes. The isolated individual study rooms for students on both the east and west sides of the library are often particularly affected by this noise. Is there anything the library can do to resolve this situation? My only suggestion might be to have Library Rovers monitor these areas more closely to ensure there is bit more of a considerate noise level used? Thanks!

Library response:

Thank you for you feedback. Today after we received your message library staff  addressed the noise issue on the group study room. We do recognise that the location of group study rooms backing onto silent study cubicles on the 2nd floor of the Mabo library is a problem. Our InfoHelp rovers do walk around all of our spaces and rooms and report to InfoHelp desk staff any noise issues so that they can be addressed as quickly as possible. We will review the signage in those rooms to make it clearer that these are quiet study/conversation spaces and any loud conversations should be taken elsewhere.

Feel free to use our LibChat service (linked on the Library homepage) to alert library staff to noise issues so we can send someone straight up.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Atmosphere in the Library

From the suggestion box:

I am deeply disappointed that the same issues of noise and food use continue to be a concern each year, and very little seems to be done about it. "Quiet conversation" on the 1st floor is often hardly that. It is also disturbing that students continue to bring in coffee, chips and other goods and sit near the books. There is a clear need for signage and greater acknowledgement that the individual student must be aware of the study needs of other students and members of the public.

Library response:

Thank you for your feedback. We do empathise with your concerns and are investigating a number of ways to reduce food and noise in the library. As you can imagine the library is a high traffic area and this means that the facilities are often "well used" .Staff regularly talk to students about the type of food they bring into the building and encourage them to use suitable areas including the additional outside seating and kitchenette which is available. We are working on finding other ways to encourage students to behave in a more community minded manner (and this includes thinking about appropriate signage and other methods which may be more effective).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Designating the Second Floor of Mabo Library as a Food Free, Drinks with Lids only Area

Library suggestion box:

Food wrappers, food crumbs, and food and liquid residue, is found on computer desks/electronic/areas devices and in the individual and group study rooms. Bookshelves have food scraps left on them. There are associated strong smells. Noise from food consumption in the total silent areas. Ants regularly seen on desks. Food consumption appears to promote social conversation. Existing allocated cleaning regimes are not able to adequately address this problem. Therefore an equitable and achievable solution could be the one suggested above.

Library response:

Thank you for your feedback. We do empathise with your concerns and are investigating a number of ways to reduce food and noise in the library. As you can imagine the library is a high traffic area and this means that the facilities are often "well used". Staff regularly talk to students about the type of food they bring into the building and encourage them to use suitable areas including the additional outside seating and kitchenette which is available. We are working on finding other ways to encourage students to behave in a more community minded manner (and this includes thinking about appropriate signage and other methods which may be more effective).

Would like to see the library catalogue (Tropicat) easier to locate

From the suggestion box:

I would like to see the library catalogue (Tropicat) easier to locate rather than hidden away in "Books, DVDs and More". This is especially so for the younger library users that may be unaware of the library's rich physical resources.

Library response:

We have had this idea suggested to us on occasion in the 5 years (or so?) since we stopped referring to Tropicat on our home page. We had several reasons for doing so, the most important was that our usability testing (done with undergraduates and based on the ideas of Steve Krug 'Don't Make Me Think' and the methodology described in his 'Rocket Surgery Made Easy') showed clearly:
  • That the term 'Tropicat' held no meaning for the vast majority
  • Even those that understood that it was our librarian label for 'catalogue' (yet another library term) didn't realise it was what you searched to find non-book resources like journals and videorecordings
At the same time One Search (Summon TM) had become an easy way to search not just the 'catalogue', but also journal articles, ResearchOnline @ JCU, LibGuides, NQHeritage, our suite of databases and even the fulltext of books, like you were searching Google, with one simple search.

We are format agnostic - we believe the value and utility of the content are the prime considerations (its ROI if you will). The container doesn't doesn't detract from the value, but it can hamper the utility, as anyone who remembers closed reserve collections of print materials will attest.

So we put One Search on the home page with a simple 'Start Here' label. It does everything the catalogue does and a lot more beside - plus in One Search a simple click on 'Library Catalogue' filters your search results to only be those items found in Tropicat.

Fundamentally our mission is to aid the teaching, learning and research activities of the university, and the evolution of those activities means print books are just one part of the increasingly diverse information needs of our clients. Meeting those needs has meant our acquisition of resources has had a major evolutionary shift - to the point where 95% of our materials budget is spent on online resources. Tropicat was never designed to manage that sort of content (either administratively from our perspective, or in delivery from your perspective).

So, while we freely acknowledge that for a certain set of needs Tropicat is the answer, ours was a 'greatest good' approach - particularly for clients unfamiliar with libraries and library resources (an additional rationale being that those who were familiar had the skills to dig down to the catalogue if that was what they required).

Those could be considered brave decisions at the time, but usability testing afterwards, and the use of analytics, have shown us that they were the right decisions for the majority of users.

But usability and the user experience (UX) are a constantly changing feast that requires constant monitoring, analysing and testing with a view to heuristically improving our web presence.  Feedback like yours aids that process, thank you for taking the time to make a suggestion.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

InfoHelp Service

From the suggestion box:

Would like to give Shannon Harmon a shout out, always a smiling face at the desk. Extreamly knowledgable in responces when asked about referanceing or any other matter. Thanks shannon, you've saved my sanity many a time.[sic]

Library response:

Thank you for you wonderful feedback about one of our librarians. I'll be sure to pass to pass it onto Shannon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Will JCU library expand it's databases?

From the suggestion box:

Whilst I do understand the need for certain finances and demands, I feel that the JCU library would benefit from expanding it's online resources and databases. In particular, by expanding the general fiction and non-fiction genres and connecting to databases such as BorrowBox and OverDrive fiction and non-fiction collections. Even connecting with programs such as those at QUT (, such as those where one can borrow from other university libraries if JCU does not have the resource one may be looking for. I really believe that if JCU could expand their library collection as a whole to include more resources of different medias from all sorts of genres, students may feel more inclined to use it not just for academics, but for every point of interest. The university of which I previously attended had a broad range of resources and databases which every student could access and which, as a whole, benefitted the library and the university in numerous ways. I may just be a young, far too up to date student but I'm most probably not the only one with this idea and I would only rave about it if such a expansion could be made to the JCU library. Thank you for your time in reading this and regards.

Library response:

You are correct that finances and the requirements to provide information resources for learning, teaching, and research requirements are the main drivers and highest priority when the Library makes decisions on purchasing online resources and databases. We do purchase a selection of general fiction and non-fiction each year although these are normally in print, as well as a selection of films.

When making purchase decision we also take into consideration online resources and databases that are already freely available from other sources. There are a number of resources available on open access or via national and state libraries which supplement the information resources the JCU Library provides directly.

One example is BorrowBox which is freely available to all Queensland residents through the local public library network. It is a straightforward process to register online to gain access to eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines. I have included the link to CityLibraries Townsville registration form, however let me know if you are not in Townsville and I can send you the link for your local library.

Thank you for your suggestion. We maintain a desiderata list of resources suggested for purchase and you can also send in requests using the Purchase Request form.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Room bookings - On the half hour

From the suggestion box:

 Sometimes people wish to meet from say 9.30 to 11:30 and we would need to book the room from 9 till 12 to make sure it is available but we can't do that because the room booking is on the hour, and we can't book more than 2hrs at a time. Also, it would be good if we could book two hours at one time, rather than going in and out of the system.

Library response:

We are aware of the issue you raise about the Meeting Room Bookings System forcing 'on the hour' bookings. We agree it is an issue and we asked the vendor to add it to their development queue prior to going live with it. They said it was on their development list, as is the ability to book sessions of variable length rather than in one hour blocks. If you are interested in why we changed the booking system read on - if not delete me now. The previous system (MRBS) was open source software running in-house on a Linux server and required a fair bit of systems knowledge to maintain, knowledge which pretty much sat in one person’s head, mine. The original developer (and the community of users) were no longer developing the system and the security risks increase over time if software isn’t constantly tweaked against new threats. We are increasingly moving our systems into the cloud to reduce costs, improve functionality and to avoid internal network issues (planned and unplanned) and getting uptime as close as we can to 100%. The new system (part of the same suite of products that brings you LibGuides and our chat reference service) has the advantage of not requiring any in-house hardware or software maintenance nor any systems admin expertise, so now we can spread responsibility for maintaining it to more library staff so that if I get hit by a bus the system won’t fall apart. It has a number of advantages over the old system and a couple of disadvantages (the chief one being what you inspired to provide us with this feedback). I will let you know when it the developers implement this improvement (or more likely you’ll discover it has suddenly appeared one day). Many thanks for your feedback, it is much appreciated,