Your gateway to a wide range of online information resources
Library Services is committed to working with you to improve existing services and resources and to develop new ones.
Twice each year, 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.
Here are some students talking about the benefits of being a member of the Library Student Panel.
Transcript for "Reasons for joining the Library Student Panel"
Being given the opportunity to provide feedback will help to improve the library website. I have
some knowledge of website development so if there’s anything I can do to help improve it, then I
When I saw the invitation I thought it coincided well with the module that I’ve been studying. I’ve
just finished a module in technology-enhanced learning which a lot of the work used technological
tools for distance learning. It seemed like a good opportunity to try out the tools you might use to
conduct the research.
I think it empowers students to feel as if they are able to influence or provide a voice for the
University. In other words, I am not alone and anything I say can be taken into account.
The invitations to take part in research activities have been regular and they make it clear that I
can opt out which I’ve had to do on two occasions. They are not too frequent so I don’t forget
about you and they are well-paced.
The advantage of being on the panel is that it introduced us to the Facebook groups and I keep
an eye on that. You can see what’s been posted and what the conversation is all about.
With the panel you can question a little bit further, it just gives an added element more than
It was really useful to have that live experience of that sort of interaction where you can’t see
each other face-to-face and you rely only on auto cues. It was great to have something up-todate and see how well it really worked.
I’ve taken part in two activities, one was with groups of other students in an online forum. it was
a different way of expressing my opinion. Having done it I realised there was a fair amount of
change in the way the library website was structured so that was quite a new thing.
Music starts to play introducing:
‘Some of the ways your feedback has made a difference’:
Library web page ‘Services for You’ with the overlay ‘You helped create a new ‘Services for you’
Library web page showing the ‘My Bookshelf’ facility with the overlay ‘and you helped us to create
‘Panel members said: the webchat service should be more visible’:
‘So we changed this’
Library web page showing helpdesk block before the changes have been made
‘to look like this…’
Library web page showing updated version of helpdesk block with image of male
‘We use eye-tracking software to show us what you are looking at’
Library web page being used with eye-tracking software
‘and online interviews or focus groups to ask you for feedback’
Library web page showing ‘My Bookshelf’ facility
Music fades out
So anybody thinking of joining the panel, I would say just take every opportunity, it will make you
use the Library.
If you would like any more information about the panel, email firstname.lastname@example.org
|You said||We did|
|You were flexible about online training run-times.||We’ve tailored our library training sessions to allow for more in-depth teaching on trickier topics as well as short sessions for quick introductions.|
|You wanted more training on digital skills.||We added new ‘digital capabilities’ topics added to expand our programme.|
|Some of the menu headings on our website weren’t quite clear.||We are improving the menu headers and making sure pages are easier to find.|
|The Library needed to do more promotion of our fabulous library training sessions.||We ramped up promotion of our live and recorded library training through social media, which has increased attendance and views.|
|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 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 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 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 said you'd like to listen to podcasts on your commute.||We created Completely Shelfless, a podcast series we trialed covering topics like accessibility, archives, and ebooks (now in hiatus).|
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.