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At Albertsons Library, User-Centered is More Than a Trendy Phrase

Peggy S. Cooper, Boise State University | June 01, 2011

At Albertsons Library being user-centered is at the heart of our decision-making. We focus our collective staff energy on what our users want and need. How do we know? We ask them. In focus groups, in LibQual surveys, at the reference desk, and in course evaluations - we ask, we listen and we act on their requests.

A new suite of services

We added a suite of services, including patron-driven acquisitions, a strong and integrated campus liaison program, and an institutional repository (ScholarWorks), where faculty profiles are ready when new faculty members arrive on campus. Library staff design personal research “libraries”- web pages for key researchers and individual faculty members with links to resources they identify as important to their research and teaching, as well as contact details for their library liaisons.

Processes in Acquisitions and Interlibrary Loan were combined for on-demand ordering of faculty requests, with an expectation of having those materials delivered to the faculty office within three days. When students identified library access to textbooks as an extremely high priority, we initiated a pilot reserve textbooks program. It was no surprise that the textbook service was heavily used and highly praised. Other new resources and services are:

  • E-books, e-books and more e-books
  • Mobile website
  • Use of QR (quick response) codes
  • LibGuides
  • Campus delivery service
  • On-shelf holds
  • Laptops, netbooks, and iPads for student checkout

Let it shine

The first floor was refashioned to add study space and take advantage of the gorgeous view of the Boise River. Floor-to-ceiling stacks were removed, and the majority of the reference materials were integrated into the main collection.

This new space is a magnet for students. Of course, the first floor Starbucks might also be an incentive.

Albertsons Library celebrates all Boise State University authors who publish that year at an annual Faculty Author Reception. The campus community is invited to recognize the scholarly contributions made by university authors. The library compiles and maintains an online list of each year's publications.

Happy customers

Have we been successful? We think so, and so do our faculty and students. Listen to what they have to say at or check out these comments from our 2010 LibQual survey:

“This library simply rocks!!!”
- Faculty, Psychology

“Overall, the library is fantastic! Couldn't ask for more!”
- Undergraduate, Communication

“The library always has what I need.”
- Undergraduate, Early Childhood Education

“The library staff is, frankly, heroic in its efforts to help researchers here.”
- Faculty, Communication

“Our librarians are superb, [they] have created the best library in the United States at Boise State!!!”
- Faculty, Social Work