Going beyond induction sessions: continuing to keep readers informed

My trainee project is centred around the implementation of a new induction session, predominantly aimed at external readers at the Bodleian Library. As a reference only, legal deposit library, we welcome a large number of external readers, who are usually completely unfamiliar with the workings of the Bodleian. This of course, should not come as a surprise, the terminology, practices and organisation of the Bodleian Library is ‘unique’ to say the least! Inducting readers, many of whom are only staying in Oxford on a short term basis or who will be using the libraries infrequently but over a long period of time, is a tricky task. At the moment, it is a task which has become even more difficult because of the all encompassing changes affecting the New Bodleian. The intricacies and subtleties of these changes have come to the fore this week as I’ve started working in Special Collections, whose massive decant has been underway for some time. The logistics of moving around huge quantities of large, valuable, old material, between different libraries, while maintaining a ‘normal’ fetching service, are difficult to organise and involve so many different departments that it is difficult to keep everyone in the loop all of the time.

All this has got me thinking that however comprehensive induction programmes are, that is all they are.  It is imperative to keep readers informed about operational changes to the library and that got me thinking about blogging, twitter and facebook- Web 2.0 applications I was perhaps too hasty to dismiss, when exploring them as part of 23 Things.

I would be really interested to hear if anyone is planning to run (refresher) induction sessions at the start of Trinity term and to hear about ways libraries are keeping thier readers infomed of changes to services?

2 comments on “Going beyond induction sessions: continuing to keep readers informed

  1. The SSL installed a new reader image on its PCs over 2 days earlier this week. This means that readers must log on to all but 6 Sunray PCs to be able to use them. The readers need to use their library card barcode and the password they use for OLIS.

    We put up a number of posters at the entrance to the library and in the computer areas to inform students of the change a week in advance. We also had meeting to inform all staff about the changes a few weeks ago so that we were prepared to answer reader questions. We have FAQs on the issue desk for staff and FAQs for students at the issue desk and by the PCs.

    We also put a notice about the change on the SSL website, but I’m not sure if many people check that. We have had quite a few confused people coming to the desk. This is mainly because the PCs insist on lowercase letters being used and will not accept overly long password or the login and the password as the same, OLIS is much less fussy.

    My main concern is how students will cope when they return from the Easter break to find the PCs blocked – if we will have big queues forming at the issue desk of frustrated undergrads.

    If the students cannot be bothered logging in they could use the Sunrays to search the OPAC and surf the net. But that means that these 6 computers (the only 2 seated sunrays are outside the library entrace) could be ‘hogged’ by them and prevent visitors from using them.

    We have a lot of visitors using day passes to visit the library and they will now be prevented from accessing resources that they could previously use. I think this could cause disappointment to visitors who come on a day pass once or twice a year.

    We’ll just have to see how the readers react over the coming months!

    Is anyone else installing the new reader image?

  2. Re: the new reader image

    We were the trial library for this so have had in our main computer room for some time now, and a few weeks ago the other library computers were changed too. Of course we still have a couple of sunrays that can be used without logging in but there hasn’t been a problem of them being ‘hogged’ by readers who don’t want to log in/can’t be bothered.

    There haven’t been that many problems, some people have needed password help etc but not enough to cause problems. We also have day pass users but from my experience the impact to them has been minimal. I find most day pass users at this library are here for the books rather than the computers!

    The thing we have noticed is that people don’t log out, which to me seems ridiculous but I guess they are used to a different system. Logging in with individual logins is very standard across higher education and it surprised me that Oxford has taken this long to catch up!

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