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SMCM Library Ethnography Project

Free listing

Students were recruited outside of the SMCM cafeteria and given four different questions written on four different index cards; participants were asked to write down all the words or phrases that come to mind in response to the question or statement (listed below).

I use the library to/for _______________________________

When I am in the library I usually ______________________

The most significant things about the library to me are _____

If I could change anything about the library it would be _____

Spatial mapping & Instantaneous behavioral sampling

Student use of library was mapped every hour from an hour after opening until an hour before closing, for seven consecutive days in Fall 2015, recording observable demographic information (gender) and categorizing activity in four ways: Academic / Leisure / Printing or Scanning / Sleeping.

During the first round, two different maps were in use, leading to some data inconsistency. By the second round, the maps were standardized, but unclear handwriting, lack of proper documentation, missed shifts and missing data contributed to an incomplete data picture. There are plans to repeat this method in Spring 2016.


Cognitive mapping

Participants were recruited in the lobby of the library (before entering the main library space) and asked to draw a schematic map of the library from memory. Due to the participant confusion over the directions and inconsistent execution of this method, the data gathered did not achieve usable results.

Student survey

Developed by Roberts and the Directed Research anthropology students based on other surveys, the librarians provided feedback to refine the questions asked. Working with Office of Institutional Research to deliver online in the weeks leading up to spring break. Students were given the opportunity to win one of three $30 gift certificates to a local restaurant. The survey was promoted by the Directed Research students' social media, SMCM all student emails, the library website, and flyers placed in the library and around campus. 418 respondents (25% of student pop); out of these 337 (81%) completed the survey.

Data provided by library

Sampling of e-resource usage statistics for Fall 2016 semester provided by the library, though it is unclear at this time how this will be incorporated into the overall study.