The Library is my Google

Oliver Obst, Head of the Medical Library, University of Muenster, Germany writes about a day at his library focused on making his current library services fit for the future.

On 16th July 2012, University of Muenster Library of Medicine staff spent the entire day testing how it provides services to its researchers. Under the motto “Fit for the Future”, the team worked intensively on ways and means to improve current library services, particularly focussing on how to improve the current information needs of the over 1,500 faculty researchers and physicians.

 

Learning from experience

We were pleased to secure the expertise of Vanessa Proudman to lead the workshop. An experienced knowledge and project manager for leading European academic libraries, Vanessa has also worked as Programme Manager for Europeana.

The team began by working out what a typical working day of selected medical faculty looks like and where, over that day, the library currently offers its services.

Strengths and weaknesses

Library staff then mapped the current complete service offer to a Venn diagram, highlighting the library’s strengths and weaknesses. The team used this later in the day as a basis for further development plans and service discontinuation.

The researcher’s viewpoint

A role-playing exercise closed the session on the current status of library services, with staff putting themselves in the researcher’s shoes to observe how they communicated, perceived and interacted with the current library services.

Results from this session were joined with other findings of the day – to be discussed later in the afternoon – as a basis for future improvement plans for the library.

“The Library is my Google”

Finally, the team had a brainstorming session to develop a slogan to reflect what the library would like to be known as by its researchers in the future. Some of the statements thrown up were: “The Library is my personal literature adviser”, “The Library is absolutely indispensable” and “The Library is my Google”.

To the next level

Wrapping up, the library team shared their impressions of the day, which included being impressed by the amount of knowledge they held collectively and how much they had learnt about the researcher’s viewpoint. They were excited about the things ahead and keen to take things forward in the future proposed that afternoon.

 

 

Thanks go to Katrin Bendix who captured the moments so well on camera.

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