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College library to hold student focus groups

| Friday, October 28, 2016

Staff members of the Cushwa-Leighton Library are organizing focus groups to hear student voices, Kaitlyn Stankiewicz, a library intern, said.

The goal of the focus groups is to gather feedback from students on what barriers they feel exist between themselves and their use of the College’s library, she said.

“I feel that libraries always want to improve … they like to get feedback from students to make sure that they are doing a good job, that they are serving the current student population as they should be,” Stankiewicz said.

She said that by providing an informative, interactive atmosphere, the focus groups allow students to share their thoughts and hear about different opportunities, such as interlibrary loans and borrowing from local libraries.

“I think one thing I feel as a recent graduate is sometimes there is a lack of communication of the resources that are available to students,” Stankiewicz said.

Stankiewicz wants students to realize having Google doesn’t mean access to all information.

“The reference librarians here are really awesome, they can find good and correct information, while not everything you find on Google is necessarily correct,” she said.

Stankiewicz said as technology changes, so do the needs and wants of students, which is why these focus groups are designed for students to share their thoughts and are not just presentations of current library opportunities.

“They’ve done a focus group before, but it was targeted more at the professors. … As for students, from my knowledge [library staff] have not done focus groups,” she said. “They’ve done surveys, but from my understanding, this is one of the first focus groups more directed towards students.”

Stankiewicz said she encouraged all students to sign up, as library staff members are looking to hear a variety of perspectives. Students only need to attend one focus group, and if they are unable to attend, they are invited to give feedback on a particular question at a signup table.

Depending on the requested changes — and how they fit with the budget — the library hopes to have improvements in place within a year, she said.

“It’s important for people to sign up and have their voice heard, even if you don’t use the library,” Stankiewicz said. “If you have an idea that could improve the library, we want to hear your voices.”

The groups will meet for about 90 minutes while enjoying free pizza, pop and candy Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Nov. 15 at noon. Interested students can sign up in front of the library from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m. in the student center.

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About Kathryn Marshall

Kathryn Marshall, Saint Mary's College '17, is a Biology and Humanistic Studies double major. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kmarshallSMC

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