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.


Past, present and future…

The end of another Semester and we made it through with some success.
I always expect to feel really upbeat and giddily happy at the end of the semester / academic year whereas actually it is a mixture of relief and satisfaction for all we’ve achieved and the service we’ve provided and the students that we have helped and supported.
As we all know the days of the summer break in libraries / universities is very different to what it was and we start almost immediately thinking about what we need to plan for next September.

We started the year with the opening of the Learning Commons which has been a great success.  It has been popular with students and it has enabled us to showcase an example of the learning environment and service that we offer.


And now we are planning for our major refurbishment of the Library building.
Transforming Your Library
Transforming Your library

The enabling works have started and we have library books, journals and other stock are being relocated either offsite or to other floors of the building.  The Ground Floor of the library is closed and access to resources is by request at the Service Desk.
There has been a lot of work done this year regarding library collection management including weeding and rationalising of stock.

Our new Library Management System went live last June and the project was finished by the end of September.  We now have a Library Management Platform working group which took over from the Project Board where we discuss progress and developments to the system.  We’re also looking at what self-service circulation facility we could provide at our Orkney campus.

There have been quite a lot of changes to our IT helpdesk over the last year including a change to staffing and this will continue over the next few months.  This has given us a chance to make some changes to the operational procedures and also to look at short term and long term developments.  We have started to review our IT Helpdesk system and we hope to update this in the coming year.
Changes in staffing have also meant a change to the Service Desk Supervisors roles and much more integrated working between the IT Helpdesk and Library Service Desk – it is definitely a Service Desk now that can answer any sort of enquiry or issue.  We are continuing to work on staff training and upskilling to make sure that staff are confident to provide the help and support for students that is needed.

Communications have been a big part of the year with our blog posts and social media accounts being used on a daily basis to inform and promote a wide variety of topics.


Staffing, VR, Study spaces, refurbishment… #change

Our team was restructured last year in the first part of 2016.  It was successful and the structure of the team is much more coherent now and will enable us to deliver the service more effectively.  We had some vacant posts and some of these were filled.  But as everyone knows, who has been through this process, it is very time consuming.
So by the middle of this semester we were more or less settled and then…the University announced a Voluntary Redundancy Scheme…and so, on we go with that.  It is due to finish at the end of April.  It is a really good deal for those members of staff that can take it and obviously it is important for the University to be in a secure financial position and make savings where necessary.
It will undoubtedly mean more changes but I think that things change anyhow and it’s important to make the best of the good times and be resilient for the changing times.  The other change that is happening is that our Director of Information Services is retiring and there will be a recruitment process to find a replacement.  This is a real shame as he has been great and has been vital to the success of our integrated Library and IT departments as Information Services.

We are at the beginning of a library building refurbishment project that will see the library transformed through out.  The enabling work is starting soon with planning to move stock and plans for furniture moves and optimising study space.  The refurbishment will mean major changes to the learning environment for students and also for staff – we will be moving to open plan working areas.  We have been doing some process improvement exercises to look at how we will be able to do things more effectively in the future.



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.
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 
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.

Semester 2 More than half way…

Semester 2  – Week 10 or, in more general terms, Mid March or ‘2 months done 2 months to go’ 🙂
Semesters as opposed to terms mean that it feels like a long haul between January and end of May – and it is a long time to keep going for 19 weeks.  But then the summer.  However, before anyone mentions that it is quiet in libraries and universities over the summer, it isn’t – it is just a different rhythm and a different focus.
So, back to week 10.  We’re increasingly busy in the library building – we seem to have become the ‘destination of choice’ on campus and consistently have an occupancy of over 550 from 12 noon until late afternoon.  If we count every single study space we possibly have, we have just 613 so there is a high demand for spaces.  The noise levels have also been creeping up and our main floor which has the Service Desk , group spaces, study pods, individual study spaces, social learning seats and a cafe, has become a noisy hub of activity.  We will continue like this until after Easter and then will re-introduce the ‘Making the Most of the Space’ initiative when we monitor the library learning space. The aims of the monitoring are to reduce noise levels in the library and also reduce the practice of students reserving spaces by leaving unattended items.
Our online booking system for individual and group study rooms is still in place and going well. Students have embraced the opportunity to book the rooms online in advance and the prime slots fill up quickly.  We have a few improvements that we can make to the procedure and also we need to monitor how students are using the system – with the group rooms there is potential to book for more than the maximum 3 hours and we are relying on students being fair.
Collecting and collating statistics is ongoing.  We are now in a situation where we are collecting most of the data that we need and can present it to those who need it.  But we need to make it much more relevant and timely (more time needed to be timely….)
From a staffing point of view we have been busy with PDRs (Appraisals) and hopefully these are complete now.  I have spent sometime looking at the objectives to make sure that staff in the Customer Services Team feel that the objectives are relevant to them.  I need to map them to the action plan more effectively in order for staff to be clearer how they can work towards their objectives in a practical way.

SCONUL Winter Conference 2014 #sconul2014

On Friday November 21st I attended the SCONUL Winter Conference 2014 which was held at the Royal College of Physicians, St Andrews Place, London.
It is the first time I have attended the SCONUL conference and it proved to be an interesting and informative day.
The conference was entitled ‘The Visible Library: Demonstrating our Value’ and the aim, according to the conference programme, was to  address the need ‘to define and articulate the value of the library to both internal and external stakeholders’.  The outputs from the discussions on the day will form a basis for a SCONUL advocacy toolkit.

The introduction and welcome was given by Liz Jolly, Chair of SCONUL and Director, Library & Information Services at Teesside University.

The keynote was given by Graham Henderson, Vice Chancellor of Teesside University

‘Opportunities & Challenges for the Modern Academic Library: A VC’s perspective.

It was a very interesting presentation and useful to hear a view about the purpose of academic libraries from a different perspective, from the perspective.  He talked about Teesside University and it’s role as the ‘Opportunity University’, the ‘can-do’ university driving enterprise.
He explained that the library needs to be a hub of the university and a place for all students to get work done.  It should be a triage point for all.  
So, what are the challenges:
1. To respond to the increasingly diverse support needs of a wide spectrum of users within a finite resource envelope (All users – UG, PG, graduate employability, non confident)
2. Copyright – equivalence for partner locations
3. Access to research
4. Balancing the cost of resources to support teaching and research without burden on teaching funding
5. Embracing social media as an asset not threat
6. Access to sufficient finance and resources to provide staff, space and resources (fewer books on shelves does not mean less resource but more)
There is a need to get more people to understand the changing role of academic librarians – therefore express in employability , research impact, retention.  Update the perceptions about libraries – they are about innovation in L&T and not just content.  He used the phrase ‘responsive repositioning’.
It is important to nurture the fact that the library is more than just ‘another support department’ -it has a critical role in academic processes.  I think this is an important point to note and a key message that needs to be communicated in a positive way.

The next session was crowd sourcing narratives – this was discussions in groups about the perceptions of Finance Directors, VCs, Academics of Librarians / Libraries.
I was in the Finance Directors group.  
The positive perceptions included:

Play according to the rules, evidence based, operational efficiency, good project management, corporate players, the library as student space, solution focused and pragmatic, strategic enablers.  
The negative perceptions included:
Do well in NSS so don’t need to invest, cost too much and rising (content, space, procurement practices) the view that ‘everything is free on internet’, different systems used for library as for finance.
Each of the tables in the group came up with much the same answers which is reassuring in one way but in another it means that there are common problems that haven’t been solved (if it is possible to do so?).
It was agreed that the perception is that libraries are good for engaging on open access.  Also an agreement that there is a need to put forward a business case in the right way, to align it to institutional strategies (not too parochial and don’t be too precious about library).  Finance Directors want resilience and financial robustness and a good business case.
This was a recurring theme throughout the day – the need to put forward the case for libraries in a language that can be understood by those you are communicating with, use their language and present the case in the terms that others understand and can align with their priorities.
After lunch there was a reflections session which brought together the ideas from the crowd sourcing sessions.  The SCONUL Chair and Strategy Group Chairs summarised the narratives and explained how these linked with the work that the groups were currently undertaking and future plans.
The positive perceptions were that libraries are an important part of the University’s brand and are valued as provide access to resources.  
The other points I picked up from this feedback and reflections session (and these are from my notes so not comprehensive)
Demonstrating our value – libraries are inspirational spaces from social to silent (I liked this)
Libraries have a good understanding of student behaviour 
But how do we make something visible when there is nothing wrong?
Reputational challenges
1.Cost of content 2. Copyright and licensing 3. Open access
SCONUL are having a content forum – ways to advocate the cost of content.  
Working with jisc collections etc. will produce a RDM briefing
User experience – concentrating on:
1. Graduate attributes 2. Supporting researchers 3. Supporting learning and teaching 4. Organisational skills and professionalism 5. Library space – is there a need for them these spaces to be anything other library spaces?
Shared services
1. Collaboration v competition between institutions. Need to give examples of shared services successes
Performance and quality
1. Data used appropriately for hard advocacy 2. SCONUL stats widely recognised – data is useful – how do we use that evidence base to build reputation 3. Use evidence for advocacy and to create strong business cases 4. Toolkit to help present business case 5. Link to jisc co-design
The next three sessions were based on case studies.
Margaret Weaver Head of LiSS University of Cumbria 
‘Leading for Value Added’
She explained that they had had feedback from staff that they wanted better communication so they planned and facilitated a strategic conversation between the library and the University leadership.  They prepared by producing a poster presentation to show what their team offered to university and it had to be data rich. They aimed to show their value, their corporate value as a service and to show how they deliver innovation in practice. They produced infographic style posters with performance data including research support, graduate employability, academic support, learning resources, personal development and recruitment and conversion.  
This was interesting as it was from a wider perspective i.e. as Student Services and Library and therefore may be easier to present more comprehensive evidence of the student experience.  Also the use of infographics to present data and information – sometimes you have to use different formats to present a case and a visual representation is effective.  We used infographics when I was at Middlesbrough College to demonstrate data and trends and found it engaging for students and staff. 
The next presentation was given by Andy Priestner, Information and Library Services Manager, Judge Business School, Cambridge.
He talked about using ‘Ethnography for Impact: new ways of exploring user experience in libraries’.
They decided to use ethnography in addition to surveys as surveys often have closed or leading questions and are self reporting – does this give an accurate picture of what students are doing in the library?
He explained about three ethnographic techniques that they have tried:
1. Behavioural mapping – map routes through library space, where students went, what they did.
Heat map. Desire lines. 
Most traffic going straight through – use ground floor in order to walk straight up to first floor
Users are quieter the fuller the space
 2. Show me round. Students guide us around the space.  This showed that some users are failing to access key services.  Workspaces – more desks and desk spaces.  2 tribes – upstairs and downstairs with different needs. Kiosk terminals – not popular
 3. Cognitive mapping
Students use different libraries for different purposes. Most people are regularly on the mover and use variety of research environments. Library services are complex so need to use ethnography
There is a link here to his presentation on Slideshare
And a link to the #UKAnthrolib blog
The next presentation was by Lorraine Beard, Head of Digital Technologies and Services, University of Manchester.  She talked about the Eureka student innovation challenge. 
Some of the projects that have come out of the partnership with students are a facility to reserve study spaces and click and collect book reservations.  
The things that were found difficult were: 
PC desk availability
Finding a book
Sharing reviews
Student well being. Sleep zones (yes, sleep zones in the library…)
The quick wins they have introduced 
Textbook rescue
Living plant project
Book trolleys
Ear plugs
Umbrella stands
There were some really interesting ideas and it was very much student experience focused.  It shows how difficult and different it is to see it from a student perspective when you are providing the service…
The final presentation was by Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind
It was interesting to hear about how a charity such as Mind promotes itself and it’s cause and raises public awareness.  He said that it is important to concentrate and advocate the difference you’re making to people you are working with. In the case of Mind they were promoting it as much more important than just as a subset of NHS health. Should this be how we think of libraries – more important than just being a subset of the university?  There were some useful points about changing peoples perceptions and using the passions of those involved to create engagement and secure funding.
The main takeaways from the event for me were:
1. You have to use the ‘correct’ language for the situation and the audience
2. Presenting a business case is vital – it has to be robust and aligned to the institutional strategies
3. Academic libraries do lots of good things, they are valued – it’s not that they need to do anything different to the ways they are developing already – just need to engage and inform other people
4. Economy, effectiveness and efficiency are the important factors
5. Use the student experience – map developments and outcomes to it – e.g. “the library does ‘x’ and this leads to increased recruitment and retention”
6. Collect feedback – map behaviours – use data 

Customer Services Group UK Conference CSGUK2014 #csguk2014

The CSGUK Annual conference was held in London at the Magic Circle on Friday 14th November 2014.  The title of the conference was ‘What does excellence really look like? Tangible examples of quality in Customer Service’
The welcome and introduction was given by Erin Caseley, Chair of CSGUK.
The keynote speaker was Ian Creagh, Head of Administration and College Secretary, Kings College London. He talked about the organisational culture for award winning customer service.  
Culture is the climate and practices that exist in organisations including the subcultures.  These cultures and subcultures are fostered within teams and change over time.
Organisational cultures depend on:
1. Size of the organisation and how far it is spread worldwide
2. Technology – a new system can change how the culture operates
3. Diversity
4. Age – the age of institution and its history
It’s necessary to reflect on culture and subcultures in order to enable action in organisations and also to reflect on values.  Empowerment is vitally important – nothing gets done in organisations unless teams are empowered. 
He then talked about strategy and how it is difficult and takes time.  He gave the example of Apple in 90s where there was a need to cull manufacturing lines due to duplication and a waste of effort.  There was a need to remove barriers and obstacles and so choices were made.  
There should be a focus on market orientation rather than process orientation.  Universities tend to focus on the products that they think students want but instead should be market oriented. Market focused service delivery.  But market orientation means change – it’s necessary to change and be dynamic to respond to customers This gives us a link to our customers.
He went on to say that values really count – values, integrity and leadership behaviour. Take a value and look at what it means – to do this and not do this. 
Empowerment – this is difficult as Unis are hierarchical.  You have to think about clarity of direction and the team who are going to deliver need to be involved in creating the strategy. It is important to have a rewards system and celebrate the successes.  Also to be able to try new things without blame if they fail.  An interesting point that Ian mentioned was ‘conflict tolerance’ – permission to conflict so that improvement can take place.  
Kings College initiatives were mentioned – CSE and ‘fit for kings’.  A world class services for a world class university.  The quality of service we give to our customers begins with the quality of service we give to each other.  ‘Real Talk’ Kings Future transformation programme – facilitating conversations about strategies and change. It is necessary to talk about things that count – identify issues – go through issues in a constructive way and move through it. 

The next presentation was ‘Compliance Plus’ Culture presented by the Libraries Customer Service Team Kings College.  
There were 6 members of their team represented.  Their Customer Service Manager explained how you have to empower staff to make decisions.  There has been a shift in culture from process focused to customer focused  – to be ‘Responsive, inclusive, knowledgeable, friendly’. They have a Team Plan which provides a clear vision and roadmap (which they talk about all the time). Everyone is working towards the same aims and objectives and there is an opportunity for all staff to be involved.  
One of their Senior Library Assistants talked about ‘Freedom in a framework’ which means they have the freedom to make decisions.  Staff are responsible for decision making based on the ethos of being responsible and providing a consistent and fair service ‘What can we do to say yes?’  They, as staff, are empowered to do what they think is right, to use their initiative in a no blame culture.  There are guidelines rather than rules and they do what they think is right within the framework. The Team Plan gives objectives, expectations and opportunities.
Their Library Shelver spoke about how everyone matters and they are empowered to contribute. There is an expectation on all staff and they are trusted. 
The Library Operations Manager explained about the shared vision and the values and commitment to change.  The focus on customer service experience.  The team goals are embedded in PDRs. Their recruitment processes focuses on recruiting for personal qualities.  The advert text is self filtering and they conduct competency based interviews.  The interviews include role play to assess  for customer service skills and there is a behaviours matrix for probation.

One of their newer Library Assistants also spoke to give an insight into how he had found the recruitment and induction process and the positive approach to new members of staff.

The next presentation was by Judith Andrews from Birmingham City University and was about 
Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) for Excellence

The purpose of CJM is to map the journey and identify key processes that the customer encounters. It is important for CSE, in order to enhance services from a customer point of view and also to collect information.
They had spent a lot of time and put a lot of work into the development of CJM methodology.  They are a multi-campus University so need to apply processes consistently.  They built on business process mapping (trained by Talis) and introduced the customer element.  They used a flow chart of a process and then introduced the customer with the effect of reducing the negative flow of the process. Judith explained the way that they had introduced CJM – initial training sessions with senior staff including scenarios.  Then introduced to Senior Library Assistants. They then moved to a swim lane mapping approach followed by a public trial of the methodology with Weslink.  Then it was rolled out to frontline staff.

They mapped everything eg self service reservation, borrowing laptops.  Issues were identified and actions taken to address them. Individual appraisal objectives were given to senior staff so that they owned the process and then the training was enhanced.

How to map a customer journey:
1. Produce a scenario
2. Brief staff how it works
3. Then have to let the staff member or student get on and fill in a template. They walk through the process . Then results come back and use flip chart and post its to show problems or issues. Then produce ideal map and this produces the actions. They also include the emotions – how do users feel if they are using your service?
It is important to work with students because “we can’t be 18 again or unlearn what we know about libraries”. They set up two pilots with students to test the CJM methodology.  They learned how the student researchers applied the methodology.  The projects confirmed the value of mapping with customers.  
Staff were involved by carrying out the initial mapping and it raised awareness of the problems encountered by students.  Staff were involved in the development of scenarios.  The outcomes of the student projects were shared and involved in creating action plans. Staff continue to lead student CJM.
Benefits of CJM:
It helps with planning 
Looking at it from student view perspective leads to reduction in complexity. 
Remember need to validate – don’t use just a small sample of students.
Introduce concept of ‘super mappers’
Emotions – valuable as shows impact of service and changes on users.
Can use results of CJM for library Learning and Teaching Team. 

The next presentation was by Lynn Sykes from the University of Sheffield about the Thelma Award.
Some of the elements that counted towards the awards were:
Investment in Study Spaces
National Fairground archive – showzam
Digital Leadership Alma Primo
The Thelma bid was a cross service bid and involved lots of staff.  Customer Services have streamlined processes – requests, variable loan, auto renewals. Variable loans – the length of loan depends on the level of usage – it’s a week loan unless someone else has requested it then it becomes a two day loan. Books move round quickly which is essential and staff need to be flexible as they work at more than one site, more than one job, in more than one team.   
They have knowledgeable staff  who facilitate efficient referral at the Helpdesk including telephone, email and social media enquiries.  There are service desks at each site for face to face enquiries. There is efficient enquiry management and queries are logged and referred systematically. 
Lynn explained how they have standard answers for questions which are in a searchable word document based on a google site and searchable database. Everything that is requested is recalled, everything else is auto renewed.  There are no fines but if the item is not returned then the account is blocked (this is the library account not IT account)
The next presentation was by Jenny Share from Leeds Beckett University.  
Customer Service Excellence –  Making it Real.
They have achieved CSE for the whole university which is impressive.  
The University had a new strategic plan in 2010 which aimed to promote and embed a customer focused culture.  A  KPI was set to achieve CSE by 2015. The first step was to identify customer groups eg potential students, current students, alumni, staff. Then research best practice.  Followed by a gap analysis which helped  with the identification of next steps and quick wins.  A crucial step was to engage staff.  It was difficult to engage academic staff but was helped by the fact that communications about CSE came from vice chancellor.  Then they concentrated on process improvements The applicant experience, student inductions, fees, financial and student debt advice.  Then graduation and leaving the university.   Staff recruitment and CRM.   Other initiatives were  – mystery shoppers, communications guidance – what’s your view feedback scheme.
The accreditation process involved the selection of an assessment body and building a relationship with assessor.  Pre-assessment visit, then desk based review of the evidence and then the actual assessment. They used a lot of real examples of current practice and planned events to do so.
CSE makes a difference in the following ways:
Cultural – institutional pride and celebratory culture
Reputational – of the University
Practical – enhanced customer experience, better understanding of customer service, better business process work, skills development, genuine learning from assessment, support for other initiatives – helped to evidence
Strategic – keeping CSE alive, continuous improvement
The workshop that I went to was a CJM workshop and was useful as a discussion forum and to look at the practicalities of how you would take a topic and try to map the process.  I talked to some delegates from University of Hull and they gave me some useful feedback about things they have implemented in their library including the room booking system
The final presentation was by Shepway District Council – Karen Everett – Customer Services Manager.
It was useful to hear about CSE in a non-library setting.  She explained how it is important to understand the customer journey.  They used customer focus groups and mystery shoppers.  The feedback from mystery shoppers went to the focus group.  It enabled better relations between teams and services and staff were involved in all processes.  Their service is based on triage when people come into building so they are dealt with promptly and directed efficiently.  Complaints are dealt with consistently.  
All in all it was a great day – extremely useful and informative.
My main takeaways from the day were:
1. To achieve CSE you need to have staff on board and they have to be positive and engaged
2. Different institutions have different cultures and subcultures and you have to take these into account and develop them to succeed
2. You need to plan ahead – there is a lot of work involved
3. Involve your customers – become customer focused not process focused
The venue, the Magic Circle, was interesting and appealing and, as you would expect, all the delegates were friendly and happy to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Changes and developments to the library space HWU

During the summer we are having changes made to the library space to increase the number of group study spaces available for students.  The current group study room has been extended by knocking a wall through into a meeting room.  The whole room is being revamped with new ceiling and floor, repainted walls and new furniture and fittings.  There will be five group study tables with six seats with integrated plasma screens.  There will also be two six seater study booths with plasma screens.
In order to make space for the group study tables and booths we are replacing the Service Desk.  The old desk had been in place since the 70s and although acceptable and functional, had a large footprint.  We are getting a new Service Desk and it is going to be located nearer the entrance and stairs to provide good visibility.  
So far the building work is going well and we are on schedule I think – next week should see the arrival of the new furniture so I’m looking forward to seeing the new Service Desk. Then will be the challenge of becoming operational from the new desk and we have already been discussing in our team how workflows and processes are going to work.
The other improvement that is being made is to the individual study rooms – the flooring has been replaced and they are currently being painted  It is definitely an improvement and the rooms are in high demand.

More information is available on our Information Services blog which I’ve been posting updates to

HWU IS library improvements July
HWU IS library improvements August

Selecting a seat in a library…

In the corridor, next to the rear entrance to the library at Heriot-Watt Uni, is a birds nest, a swallows nest.  The corridor is open at one end and leads out into the gardens.  The swallows come here each year to nest in the same place on top of a narrow sign next to fire alarm which rings loudly at least once a week when tested.  Students and staff pass by to come into the library although it’s not the main entrance.

A couple of metres away from this seemingly cramped and noisy corner are acres of beautiful trees and places to nest which would be relatively quiet and undisturbed.  Yet the swallows choose the corridor and successfully have chicks which thrive and fly away.

This made me wonder if there were any comparisons with the sort of spaces that are chosen by students to study.  I’m not suggesting that they should perch in inhospitable places but there is an element of self selecting and it’s not always possible to predict which spots suit which students.
We have recently done a quick survey asking students what spaces they want in the library and the demand was equal for group study space and individual space, equal for silent space and for discussion space.  Also interestingly, the same students wanted each of these kinds of spaces at different times.  
The library here is very busy and is vibrant and dynamic (in other words it does get noisy).  We don’t really have enough space yet students find the space that they need and continue to study in the library.  The silent floors are usually silent and we get very few complaints or comments about noise levels on these floors.  The entrance floor is noisy yet some students choose to work in that environment doing individual work and carry on quite happily.  The top floor which has PCs, printers, study spaces and books and journals is an eclectic mix that ebbs and flows through the semester. 
We do monitor the learning space to ensure that students adhere to the noise zone requirements and eat food and drink in the appropriate places. We do monitor the study tables and remind students not to leave items unattended and not to reserve seats (empty nests?). But we try to be flexible and respond to the needs and demands of students. 
The challenge is to provide a variety of study spaces and learning spaces so that students have a choice and can find a place that suits their needs when they need it.