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Library Services Student Panel

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Library Services is committed to working with you to improve existing services and resources and to develop new ones.

How does it work?

We invite a sample of students to join via email with a link to a short online survey. Each member is only required to be on the panel for one year and during that time to take part in up to a maximum of four pieces of research.  However, students have the option of opting out of the panel or a piece of research at any time. Examples of the types of research activity include website usability testing, telephone interviews, online surveys and forums.

Benefits of joining

Here are some students talking about the benefits of being a member of the Library Student Panel.

If you would like any more information about the panel, email library-services@open.ac.uk

Your voice, your Library: the benefits of being a member of the panel

  • Working with you as collaborators and co-creators helps us deliver the most up-to-date library services and resources to help you with your studies
  • You can influence which library services and resources are developed and how it is done
  • It is a really good way for us to find out what you want from an online library service
  • You can develop or build on new skills by taking part in online research activities which may help you when you take part in online activities as part of your studies
  • You may learn new things you didn't know about the Library
  • Access an online space to keep in touch with current and upcoming research activities and comment on the Library Student Panel blog. You'll be able to maintain a portfolio of core skills you may have developed or used during your time on the panel to use with employers and at the end of your time on the panel, complete a downloadable 'Statement of Participation' to certify that you have been a member of the Library Student Panel for one year.

You said, we did

Here are some examples of what student panel members have told us and the changes we have made as a result of their feedback:
You said We did
You said you like to study early in the morning and late at night We have added training at times to suit larks and night owls with early morning and later evening sessions
You said you'd like to listen to podcasts on your commute We debuted Completely Shelfless, a new podcast series we are trialing covering topics like accessibility, archives, and ebooks
You said you wanted Wi-Fi when visiting other University Libraries We introduced Eduroam Wi-Fi available to OU students visiting any SCONUL university 
You said Students in Secure Environments (SiSE) could use more support in getting library resources We worked with OUSA and others to develop a student volunteer programme designed to help connect SiSE with library resources
You said the new Library Search was cleaner and easier to use than the old one We moved to the new Library Search interface in August 2018 
You said you wanted to to be able to tell the difference between ebooks and print books in Library Search more easily We have given ebooks and print books different labels in the Search results, and different filters under 'Resource types'
You prefer shorter online library training sessions We introduced new 30 minute sessions
You can't always find your way around the library website We worked with our student panel to make improvements to the website look and feel
Library Student Panel members did not always notice the email updates We are using a much more visual, interactive communication tool
You would like an introduction to the library earlier in your studies We developed the Being an OU Student free course, which includes an introduction to the library 
You said it wasn't easy to find what you need on the 'Services for you section' We have updated the style of the 'Services for students' page to make it easier to find what you need
You prefer to contact the helpdesk using the 'Chat to a Librarian' webchat service We've made this more prominent on each page of the Library website with help available from real people 24/7
You said Library Services should be more visible on StudentHome A 'Library' link now appears as a header on StudentHome and the VLE
You want to be able to save your searches We introduced a 'bookshelf' option for Library Search
You want to feel part of a community We introduced more real-time informal learning and discussion events such as live chats through social media platforms.

Talking to you

Every year we talk to some of you about your perceptions and expectations of the online library at the start of your studies and find out about your experiences of using library services and resources.  We are building these into case studies to help Library staff make better decisions about the services we offer.