Winter 2012 Survey
SLAC survey findings
The Student Library Advisory Council (SLAC) advises Kennedy Library on behalf of Cal Poly students.
Student feedback and SLAC (the Student Library Advisory Council) inform and inspire the library's priorities and improvements. In January 2012, SLAC e-mailed a survey to 20% of the Cal Poly student population asking about what they want from their library. A total of 915 students responded and here are the highlights.
» Download and read the entire results of the survey (PDF)
70% want 24-hour access to whole building
The number of students who want 24-hour access to the library is really impressive! Currently, the library's 24-hour spaces log 50,000 visits each year (during fall-spring, an average of about 1,200 students per week), compared with an average of almost 36,000 students who visit the library each week during our main hours.
- The main library's current hours are the longest in the CSU system (116 hours per week!). In 2009 we tripled the size of our 24-hour space and in 2011 we added a 5-6 pm hour on Fridays and Saturdays.
- The library will continue to research options for longer hours in the coming year. Some libraries have implemented 24-5 open hours (open continuously Sunday through Friday). Going to 24-hour access is expensive though, with the cost estimated at $150,000 - $250,000/year for added staffing and security.
68% want more group/collaboration rooms
Collaboration and group study rooms are another high priority for students. The library's group study spaces are unique at Cal Poly and meet needs of students across all colleges.
- Today the library offers eight large "fishbowl" collaboration rooms on the second floor for groups of three or more students. They can be reserved online. We also have two first-come smaller group study rooms on each of the upper levels (total of six). In addition we have two graduate-students-only study rooms: one for quiet study (Room 401), the other for collaboration (Room 301). That's a total of 16.
- We're planning a renovation of the third floor that could double the number of collaboration rooms available, creating 16 new fishbowl collaboration rooms on the third floor. This is a big project! The library will be working with SLAC and other student and campus groups to plan a third floor learning commons, possibly in summer 2013.
68% want more individual study spaces
Neck-in-neck with student demand for collaborative space is the request for more private, individual study space. Students need different spaces for different types of work.
- The library has space for 2000 chairs, but over time we've lost about 200 to breakage. This spring the library is purchasing 200 new chairs to complete seating at existing desks and tables on the third, fourth, and fifth floors. The library is also adding a long canvas awning outside the second floor windows along the atrium. It will provide shade and protection from the weather that should improve the quality of seating both on the balcony and inside along the window.
- This summer the library will add more new furniture on the balconies of the third, fourth, and fifth floors. In addition, the library is exploring opportunities to open up some space for smaller, quiet reading areas for individual users on the fifth floor. Our goal is to add another 50 new individual seats.
59% more stationary computers
Most Cal Poly students own laptops, but they also want access to desktops. Reasons include: carrying a laptop around on your bike is hard; accessing the software ITS installed on library computers is important; working with bigger monitors is great for group work, and printing with ease is convenient.
- Today the library offers 260 desktops and 40 laptops. The library can't add desktops because of limitations on the number of network drops, and on the budget that ITS has available for public computers.
- ITS and the library will be experimenting next year with some promising technology that may - over time - improve computer login/startup time, and allow us to use existing computers to access campus software. It may even be possible to deploy additional computers wirelessly! It'll take some research and testing before we'll be there. Meanwhile, we'll update another 50+ computers including 20 laptops this spring and summer.
57% want later hours Friday and Saturday nights
Students like the new 5-6 pm hour on Friday and Saturday nights, added in spring 2011. They'd like even later hours… up to 24-hour access! (See 70% want 24-hour access to whole building, above.)
- To stay open later on Friday and Saturday, the library estimates it would have to increase staff by at least one position (for back up and other reasons).
- As the library researches 24-hour options, we will also look at staffing and service options for Friday and Saturday nights.
53% want more food options at Julian's
Julian's is a great success because of their excellent customer service, long hours, and expanding food options.
- This year Julian's added a second register and longer Saturday hours to handle demand.
- Expanding food options (grab-and-go meals, hot food) will require building additional space for Julian's. The library and Campus Dining started working on a plan last summer and expect to move forward with detailed planning next year. Project completion is projected for summer 2013.
More improvements on the way
- 24-hour self-service copy area
- To improve service, reduce lines, and save student money, Cal Poly Print & Copy has recommended creating a low-cost, 24-hour self-service print and copy area in the main 24-hour study room. A proposal is under discussion that we hope will be in place by fall!
- 24-hour self-service vending machine for technology and study supplies
- Based on SLAC input, the library is working with the campus bookstore to install a self-service vending machine in the 24-hour study room, to provide easy purchase of flash drives, pens and pencils, Scantrons, earbuds, and other low-cost tech devices. We hope it will be in place by fall!
- Fill your water bottles for free!
- SLAC suggested we add a filtered water station so that students can fill up their bottles with fresh, cool water. The best location we’ve found is near Julian’s. Stay tuned – we can make it happen in the 2012-2013 year!
- Access the grad study rooms with your PolyCard!
- No more borrowing a key from the first floor and then having to go back two flights of stairs to return it…the 21st century is arriving this summer to the grad study rooms, with swipe card access for any graduate student to our two grad study rooms, 301 and 401.
- More comfy seating, more places
- SLAC is working with the library to pick out some soft furniture for the quiet 24-hour study room and a few other places. We want to liven things up with color and create a cozier atmosphere to help you study.
More of what the survey taught us
Typical Visits During the Quarter
For the vast majority of our respondents, the library is a part of their weekly experience. Our sample suggests that over two-thirds of Cal Poly students pass through our doors at least once a week! At least 1000 of them use the library an average of once a day.
Duration of Visits
During the quarter, the vast majority of our students aren’t simply passing through for a quick cup of coffee. In fact, 81% of our respondents stay for over an hour, and 53% spend more than two hours per visit.
Finals Week Visits
Kennedy Library is visited by a whopping 83% of survey respondents during a typical finals week. Naturally, the most common complaint of students who avoid the library at this time is that it’s just too crowded. When those who stay away were asked why, one responded, "Ask the 10,000 people in the library during finals." This is no real exaggeration. While they don’t all study at the same time, 83% of our student population calculates to well over 16,000 students!
Thank you students!
Thanks to SLAC and to the hundreds of students who took the survey and who also made hundreds of useful comments. The Library loves hearing from students and we appreciate all your input. It will make Kennedy an even better library and improve every student's Cal Poly experience!