Planning, meetings, opening times, open days, comms and library management system reports.

Monday 24th July

  • Planned meetings re IT Helpdesk system – ongoing maintenance and development
  • Late evening opening – the Library has been open 9:00am-5:00pm Monday to Friday during June and July.  From 31st July we open 9:00am-8:00pm Monday to Thursday and  9:00-5:00 Friday (closed weekends).  This is mainly because exam resits take place in the first two weeks of August.  For staffing, some of the semester only part time staff come in and work extra hours and some daytime staff cover the rest.  We keep these opening hours until start of semester when we are open 24/7.
  • There are campus Open Days starting 30th September – we usually have an Information Services stand at the event so it means working on a Saturday.  It is a good event to be involved in and it is great to have the opportunity to talk to prospective students and their parents.
    There are student ambassadors who show people round and we are just updating the information that we give to them telling them about the Library and Information Services.
  • I’ve had various enquiries from around the University about using spaces in the Library and Learning Commons especially for enrolment and welcome events.  It’s about finding a balance between the space being available for open access use by everyone and making areas available for specific activities or events.
  • IT Helpdesk – we have staff off on holiday this week so I covered the IT Helpdesk phone and tickets at lunchtime
  • We have a cross team meeting once every 6 weeks between Academic and Learner Services and Resource and Facility Services.  We take it in turn to take the minutes/notes although this gets out of sync sometimes so I pick it up.  With meetings like this that are internal to our dept and mainly operational, I’m in favour of us having notes and actions from the meeting rather than minutes as basically I don’t think we have the time or resource for the latter.  Also I type them up on a laptop while the meeting is going on as it saves time.  It is good to have opportunities for discussions between teams and helpful to keep track of what is happening with new developments.
    Topics discussed this time included the role of the role of the IS/Library reps, journal requests, book repairs, requests for book orders, law reports review and resource subscriptions.  We also discussed the library refurbishment enabling works.
  • Comms – posted to Information Services social media accounts.  Mainly about the enabling works in the Library and the access to spaces and resources.  Also followed up various people about posters and banners.
  • Library Management System reports – spent a couple of hours with our Systems Librarian looking at Alma reports.  What I would like is a personalised dashboard  although once we’ve been looking at it most of the reports that I am interested in are in the standard Fulfilment/Circulation or Inventory dashboards.  It’s good to dedicate some time to system rather than people stuff and have a look at what we can generate which is useful and relevant for service development.  There are some issues that need looking at as far as the user/patron data that is fed into the LMS from our University student information systems and how we can  use this effectively.

 

UCISA SSG Conference 2017 #ussc17

The UCISA SSG conference was held in Bristol last week 5th, 6th and 7th July.  I attended the first two days and found it interesting and informative. It is always an excellent conference and manages to be both inspirational and useful which is no mean feat for an education or an IT conference.  It is the people that make it a success and the theme of the conference was ‘It’s not about technology, it’s about people…’

I like the UCISA SSG conference as there is a good mixture of sessions in the main hall for everyone as well as some break out sessions.
The sessions that I attended are listed below in the table and the link to the programme with copies of the presentations is here

I didn’t take a lot of notes but did tweet – here is the Storify of some of the interesting tweets from the conference

My main takeaways from the Conference were:

  • Learning is about people, getting together to think – technology can support and augment this learning
  • Technology has got to be useful and easy to use – Unified Theory of Acceptance and use of Technology
  • Incorporate systems such as attendance monitoring into apps that students want e.g. online timetable
  • Successful IT work behind the scenes keeps systems working invisibly – how do you measure success?
  • Students do have laptops but don’t bring to Uni so want to borrow Uni laptops
  • Not all students are the same – different cohorts, different individuals, different requirements and expectations
  • Learning spaces are important – the set up and usage needs to be optimum for lecturers and students
  • Students want face to face IT support…available all the time…and near by….and online support
  • Values are important – shared values and the sharing of values – they create a culture
  • It is, all about the people and about supporting people with technology

There was an illustrator at the conference who brilliantly captured some key moments
ucisa illustr

The Bristol badge bash! (how gamification will work)
Gareth Edwards, Head of IT, Engineering Science, University of Oxford
Welcome
Drew Cook, UCISA Executive Vice Chair, Lincoln University
Reimagining traditional higher education in the digital age
Neil Morris, Director of Digital Learning, University of Leeds
Unhappy is the land that needs a hero 
Stuart Rance, Service Management and Security Management Consultant, Trainer and Author, OptimalServiceManagement Ltd
Partner showcase- Laptop loans – an incredible journey from mediation to automation
Wayne Winterbottom, IT Support Manager for Computing and Library Services, University of Huddersfield
SSG Room 101
Kerry Pinny, Academic Technologist, University of Warwick
Francesca Spencer, IT Services Project Manager, Leeds Beckett University
Sally Bogg, Head of End User Services, Leeds Beckett University
Partner showcase – Enable your HIED institution to transform services and cut down costs
James Norman, UK Public Sector CIO, Dell EMC
Setting the standard – how a standard interface for your teaching rooms can make people happy
Graeme Hughes, Head of Faculty IT, Lancaster University
Panel session
Chaired by James Woodward, Client Services Manager, Manchester Metropolitan University
Sebastian Barnes, Leeds Beckett University
Sara Henderson, University of Sheffield
Adam Kearns, University of Bath
James Smith, Director of IT Services, Birkbeck, University of London
If Disney ran your university. A fun and informative exploration of some of the things
that you would do differently

Susanne Clarke, Bournemouth University and Tammi Sinha, University of Winchester
HELP! Observations from meddling with Student Support
James Smith, Director of IT Services, Birkbeck, University of London
Adding Value with Values 
Alistair Reid-Pearson, IT Manager, University of Huddersfield

 

December update

December update – we’re nearly there at the end of semester.
Last day of exams is 16th December so that is the final day for students.
Then we have a week of ‘normal’ working up until Friday 23rd December.

So, things that have been happening:

Monitoring of the study spaces

Managing the Learning Commons

Staffing – new posts for Customer Services Assistant and Customer Services Supervisor

IT Helpdesk documentation and procedures updated

ELISA visits and ACLIP programme

CSE networking

Week by week – Semester 1, LMP, IT Help, loans and reservations…

The day by day weekly summary has become, temporarily, a week by week monthly summary as time to reflect during the first few weeks of semester is scarce.
Added to the usual frenetic activity has been continuing work on the process of procuring a new Library Management Platform (LMP).  During September there was scoring and evaluating of tenders and then recently there have been demonstrations by suppliers which again need scoring and consensus scoring. It has been a lot of work with working groups, internal and external groups and meetings and a lot of concentration. But it has been very interesting especially the involvement with other institutions and universities as part of SCURL to create a framework for using in the future. The process around tendering has been interesting too and it is good experience.
Anyhow, back to the beginning of Semester which went well.  We had the usual situation when some changes and improvements especially to do with the building were only ready at the last minute but everything was ready.  We had a stock relegation programme in place over the summer which involved clearing a lot of unused paper journals and this has created extra study spaces.  We’ve also gained another room for silent study so increased our study space by approx 70 seats.
Our new Principal visited the library on Monday 7th September along with other invited staff and everything went according to plan – a successful afternoon and it was a great opportunity to show off all the good work and the good service we provide.
http://informs.hw.ac.uk/2015/09/08/the-principals-visit-to-the-library/
Semester began on 14th September and we were busy with enquiries right from the start.  We get a lot of IT related enquiries in the first couple of weeks mainly about passwords, WiFi and email. Basically students want to get set up to access the university system as quickly as possible preferably on numerous devices.  All the information is online but many still prefer to come to the library IT help desk for face to face help, advice and assistance so it is good that we provide online self help, telephone, email and personal help.
Library related changes have involved the short term loans (3hr loans) and reserved books.  There has been a major change with these in that they used to be kept behind the Service Desk and issued by staff but we now have them on open shelving near the self issue kiosks and students can access them themselves at anytime 24/7.  We are monitoring the situation as we go along but we haven’t had any major problems so far (despite concerns by some staff).  The system is not perfect but can be modified if need be once we have reviewed it at the end of the semester.  I’m confident that it is going to work…
24/7 opening of the library started at the beginning of semester and will continue up until 18th December. It is now established that we are open 24/7 for all of semester time and revert to 9-5 during holidays.
Other things:
Lapsafe lockers for students to charge their laptops
New rota for Service Desk staff in order to get a better insight into use of staff resource
Room booking software for study rooms still going well and can be accessed from OPAC machines so easier for students to use.
Change Advisory Board is still proving useful for keeping up to date with communicating changes.
We had a good visit from Edinburgh City Libraries showcasing their ebooks, emagazines etc. and lots of students signed up so that was interesting and a great collaboration.
Social media updates continuing and I’ve been doing stuff for ELISA and CSGUK but that’s another story.

Student views about using the library and IT help #libraries #IThelp #feedback

At the UCISA SS15 conference, one of the sessions was a presentation by a student, Emma Anderson, from the University of Leeds.  The presentation was entitled ‘It’s not just Facebook and Twitter.  How students use technology in their everyday lives’.  It was an insightful account of the student experience and interesting from our point of view, as ‘providers’ of the service as to how it is interpreted and used which is not always how we anticipate that it is going to be accessed.
I blogged about the presentation here http://bit.ly/1LbG9aV 
As providers and developers of the service whether it be a IT helpdesk service or library service or any student facing service in a university, we aim to maintain a complete and coherent physical and online facility that serves all parts of the student journey and experience.  From a students perspective, they want to dip in and out and take what they need, where and when they need it – to take the parts that are relevant to them whether it be a online resource or a study space.
The interesting areas to look at further are concerned with number of devices, what different devices are used for, that a variety of devices are needed, that study spaces need power and space and that social media is a small part of studying but a large part of life.
I drafted a survey which was based on these areas and tested it out on three students (not from Heriot-Watt University but 2nd/3rd year UG students).  I asked them a series of questions based on Library and IT Help Services and facilities.  I asked them to answer for the particular institution they had attended but it was not intended as a reflection of a particular University, rather their experience of university life. It was carried out in a fairly informal setting and included some ad hoc answers and information.

Q1 Do you know how to contact the IT Helpdesk at your University e.g. if your email wasn’t working or a password needed changing
A1. No, would go to library service desk
A2  Looked up information online
A3 Yes, have office at back of library.  Also can search website for email or telephone contact

Q2 – In the Library building – what are the 3 most important things that the library provides?
A1. PCs, books, study space
A2. Study space, PC, printing
A3.  PC, printing, cafe/food area

Q3 – What sort of study space do you prefer to use or that you would like to see available?
A1. PC desk space, comfy chair, be able to whisper to the person next to me.  Also group space.
A2. Reading room, books, lots of desks, sit with friends but lots of space so don’t feel crammed in and not people moving in and out of the room all the time.
A3. Sometimes PC, sometimes space with no computer but a power socket.  Silent space e.g. alcove with partitions.  Not enough group space to practice presentations.

The following question they just answered together in general
Q4 – How many devices do you use?
Have phone, ipad, laptop plus use PC
Sometimes if using PC for work then use iPad to look stuff up at same time i.e. research for essay
Don’t often take laptop into Uni so need PC at Uni
Wouldn’t use laptop and PC at same time but use either of these plus ipad or phone
Study spaces away from PCs need plug sockets for ipad
Sometimes print out lecture slides beforehand and annotate during lecture as this is easier than making notes and matching up afterwards

Q5 – What do you use the Library Service Desk for?  What would you go and ask about?
A1.  If can’t find a book.  Pay off fines.
A2  If can’t find a book.
A3 To hand in lost property.  Haven’t had to ask about books as bought text books and look online.

Q6 – What about using Self Service issuing and return for books in library?
A1. Good as quicker and don’t have to talk to library staff! Also said good in case the book is a reference book and so you wouldn’t feel daft if the machine displays a message saying reference only rather than being told.
A2 Good as same system as at another library so knew how to use.  Good as gives a receipt showing date of return.
A3 Quick and simple.  Good for out of hours.  Good for short loans.

Q7 – Communication – what do you think about receiving emails from the university?
A1 Just skim read.  Has to be relevant to studies.  Don’t read if about general university wide matters.
A2 Has to be quick and urgent with a relevant subject line.

Q8 – Communication  – using the portal for communication
They were all both positive about this and gave explanations of how it worked and what the interface looked like.  They had a good understanding of how it worked and how to access their respective VLEs.  They seemed to consider a VLE as perfectly acceptable and didn’t want anything more sophisticated or snazzy.  The main reason for using the portal was to access the VLE and to receive notifications.

Q9 – Should the university use Facebook for communicating with students?
No to Facebook – although there should be a university Facebook page and a Library one – so I think what they meant was they would like to be able to view a University Facebook but don’t want to interact with staff or lecturers.
They used Facebook groups for collaboration with other students
e.g. Revision group
e.g. Group work – could use a Moodle forum but would have to log in so Facebook group easier and useful for chatting and making changes to presentations.  Use with other students but not lecturers.

It was an interesting discussion and does reflect quite accurately some of the results we have had from quick surveys at Heriot-Watt Uni about the purpose of visiting the library and what facilities are the most important.  It has given me some good ideas about surveys that can be carried out next semester especially with new students starting in September and also as part of customer service excellence.

IT Helpdesk Customer Services Team

The IT Helpdesk is part of the Customer Services Team in Information Services. So far I have spent quite a bit of my time working on matters to do with the Library Service Desk and the Information Assistants, I now need to concentrate on the IT Helpdesk. The IT Helpdesk is physically located in two different buildings – the IT building and the Library building.  In the IT / Information Services building two staff work full time on the IT Helpdesk and they process telephone and email issues/tickets.  In the Library we have a  IT Helpdesk which deals with enquiries from students as personal visits / face2face.  This is staffed by one person plus the Information Assistants and is situated at one end of the Library service desk.
The challenges are how to manage the two parts of the IT Helpdesk as one service and also how to manage and integrate the IT Helpdesk with the Library Service Desk to make one Customer Service facility and one Customer Service Team.  To add another factor, the switchboard part of the university telephony service is also going to be incorporated into the Customer Services Team and one of the telephonists is going to work on the IT Helpdesk.
There are three areas that I’m working on – firstly to look at ways of working together as one team and and consider how the skills, knowledge and experience can be shared.  Secondly looking at the processes and procedures and how we can document them so we know what we are doing and have a consistent approach. Thirdly how we can record accurately the activity at the different points into one system.
This is against a backdrop of a variety of people with varying levels of experience and expertise.
Today we had a meeting to discuss how we are going to standardize some of our procedures and document them effectively.  Also how we are going to provide training for those within the team and new members of the team as they come on-board.
It’s a start and we have had a few discussions to get to here.  I don’t want to lose sight, myself, of the bigger picture – that this is a Customer Services Team that has a broad remit and the potential for exciting developments.