For 2014-2015, the Student Library Advisory Council underwent a reorganization of its structure to better serve its role as a think tank for library administration and entity driven by the student voice. The previous structure, constituting of members being split amongst separate task forces in charge of either student engagement with the library (Coziness Committee) or the annual survey (Survey Committee), was replaced with SLAC members being given the flexibility to come up with their own individual projects and initiatives throughout the year.
SLAC continued to make strides in autonomy and productivity in 2013-14 under the extremely strong leadership of super-student Lauren Young, and combined with efforts of co-library advisors Sarah Cohen, Laura Sorvetti and Jesse Vestermark. This year was somewhat unique in the dual arenas of SLAC’s focus, increasing the “coziness” of the library and surveying the student body to assess changes and potential improvements to the building and services.
In a typical year, the Coziness Committee is called upon multiple times by library administration and especially Library Information Technology to help evaluate library purchases and advise potential purchases. However, this role was largely downplayed this year primarily because the library was undergoing an intensive architectural evaluation during which any hardline improvement decisions would have been premature. While, key members of SLAC were invited to participate in the multiple and cross-hierarchical meetings with the architects, SLAC was just one of many stakeholders in the conversation.
With their consultative duties in relative limbo, the Coziness Committee focused more on the social media world, collaboratively devising a scalable library promotion in Instagram. The group coined it’s own unique “hashtag” identifier, “#KennedyKandid” intended for fellow library users to tag their photos of and in the library. This took more planning than meets the eye, including meetings with library communications staff Karen Lauritsen, Conny Liegl, Cate Trujillo and Patrick Kammermeyer. They promoted the tag by co-designing triangular fliers to place around the library, and by May, there were enough images (over 100) collected to create a low-key “retrospective” by looping the images on four video monitors on the first-through-third floors, and by displaying printed versions of the photos, organized categorically, in the first floor (stairwell) gallery.
The Survey Committee, meanwhile, focused on a specific theme for the first time, addressing affordable learning solutions. This was an attempt to gather possible directions for the library’s goal to provide open (free) resources but also to promote current initiatives such as the recently launched OATS (Open Access Textbooks for Students) collection. Through this randomly sampled survey, the Survey Committee was able to garner responses from four percent of the student population and the results show that Cal Poly students already explore all kinds of options to avoid paying full price for new textbooks. Over 40% expressed interest in (or were already) using OATS books, and since only 28% believe a required textbook always contributes to class success, there continues to appear to be a ripe area for exploration in alternative and open resources. With this survey as a foundation, the information gathered on OATS and other open initiatives will be able to be used as a baseline for measuring future use, interest and demand for open textbooks and other affordable learning solutions.
This year, SLAC thrived under the leadership of Chair Tucker Brofft, Vice-Chair (and future ASI President) Jason Colombini and Secretary Ryan Bitter. Jesse Vestermark returned as faculty co-advisor, while Associate University Librarian Sarah Cohen joined as the new co-advisor. Mid-year, SLAC founding alumna and Library Services Specialist Laura Sorvetti was welcomed as a third co-advisor. The council divided again into the Survey and Coziness committees with communications now being handled as needed by representatives from both teams, as well as design and programming liaisons from the library’s web-graphics team.
- Set up a Google Drive folder, increasing transparency and improving collaborative access to live projects and documents.
- Organized and hosted a photo contest in order to put student-generated images on the walls. The contest had three categories; Landscape, SLO Life, and Learn by Doing, all of which represent the Cal Poly student experience. Thirteen of the 70 entries were recognized, with a reception for winners in the Stairwell Gallery, and with the photos later displayed in the Second Floor Cafe.
- Student survey garnered 920 full responses and 50 pages of comments, informing directions for the library’s spaces, technology and upcoming website re-design. For the first time, the most noteworthy statistics were represented through an info-graphic made in collaboration with the library’s student graphic designers.
- Year-end letter to University Librarian Anna Gold.
- Creation and adoption of a Constitution (PDF)
- Creation and adoption of Bylaws (PDF)
- Since the inaugural survey, a renovation of the atrium was implemented, over 1000 more power outlets were added, Friday and Saturday library hours were increased, and 10 LCD screens were added to display computer availability throughout the library.
- SLAC sent out a survey to 25% of all Cal Poly students in Winter 2012 to get their opinion on Kennedy Library.
- Specific recommendations and actions, focused on four high priority areas:
- Longer hours, from staying open later on Fridays and Saturdays to 24-hour access to the whole building
- More study spaces for groups and individuals
- More stationary computers
- More food options at Julian’s
- Spring 2012 Memo to University Librarian (PDF)
SLAC began the year by deciding to focus on making small changes that will make a big difference to Cal Poly students. They designed and carried out a survey of 25% Cal Poly students in Fall quarter to determine what changes to focus on based on student priorities.
- Specific recommendations and actions, focused on five high priority areas:
- Later main library hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Adding access to power for laptop users.
- Creating a more welcoming environment through more student artwork, more comfortable chairs, etc.
- Improving usability of the Atrium as a study area.
- Increasing access to desktop computers.
- Winter 2011 Memo to Library Dean (PDF)
In its first year, the founding Council members began meeting weekly in April and in the course of only two months, advised the Library on how to reach students through both web- and print-based media. They also provided significant input to the Library’s website, resulting in improved access to Library social media sites, and easier access to information about Library study spaces and computing resources. They also provided leadership and direction to students continuing their work in the following year.