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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

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 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 Introduced new 30 minute sessions
You can't always find your way around the library website We are working with the student panel to improve the library website navigation
You couldn't navigate the 'Selected resources for your study' easily We have included drop-down lists of databases, journals and ebooks under the subject headings
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 are talking to colleagues across the University to see how we can introduce the online library earlier in your study journey
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
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.
You would like a more holistic, joined-up approach to studying at the OU and for Library Services to be more visible at the start of your studies Librarians now take part in events such as Fresher's Fair, Student Hub Live and engage students in live Facebook events such as 'getting yourself set up for study'

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.

Last updated by Debbie Sheehy; 1st December 2017