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On October 19th, 2018, the Information Needs Assessment Project Team visited Wabash College and conducted two of the methods (interviews and library mapping) in our toolkit. A total of 21 students and 8 faculty members participated in the study. You can view the report from that visit here:
Wabash used the INAP report during the process of hiring a new library director. It helped the search committee made up primarily of faculty and administrators to understand the ways in which PALNI can provide support, especially for institutions with relatively few library staff.
- The library is a heavily used study space. Almost all students either studied in the library or mentioned that their classmates studied in the library. Students who initially did not state the library as their primary personal study space still utilized the area for group study sessions.
- When students have a question about a class assignment, they contact classmates, athletic teammates, and teaching faculty. Librarians were not mentioned as a study resource for students, although students frequently discussed using the library building and its resources.
- Faculty members wished that librarians had more visibility outside of the library, and suggested activities such as serving on faculty committees and coming to department meetings.
- As students shared how they used the library building, the first floor was seen as a area for group and collaborative study while the second and third floors were occasionally used for individual study. While students may have a primary study space, they often moved to other areas based on the time of day and their specific needs.
- Students generally did not seek out study locations beyond their dorm buildings and the library. Only when prompted would students even mention a study space beyond these two areas.
- The interlibrary loan services and staff were highly regarded by faculty, and seen as a asset for the needs of the college.
- Teaching faculty feel comfortable using the library building although they tended to not make heavy use of it. In terms of keeping up with research in their field they often look beyond the library for information.
- Jeff Beck was known on a first name basis by all the teaching faculty interviewed, and was frequently used for library sessions with freshmen tutorial classes.
- Utilitarian features were highlighted by students when asked about their ideal study space. Students did not want study spaces to be too attractive or comfortable as that may be too distracting. One student explicitly called for a empty cinderblock room, while others desired spaces that were more practical than pleasing.
- Multiple faculty members wished that there was a place on campus for them to use as a designated office space during sabbaticals.