Thursday, June 17, 2010

Getting to know our clients on 'wallwisher'

A few months ago we installed a 'wallwisher' suggestion board in our foyer for client comments and feedback. It replaced an antiquated system of pen on paper comments posted on a notice board. It's caused quite a stir among clients and staff and some of  the comments are hilarious. I particularly like the ongoing discussion about our Kenny G elevator music and the problem it's causing... clients ask our advice because they start to feel a bit romantic in the lift and they're worried one thing might lead to another... I've wanted to blog about this for a while but I've asked the wonderful Ashley to be my guest blogger for  this post because she's more involved than me and quite the comedian. I hope you enjoy.


Serious Asks: Does the Library have plans for response on a wizard attack on Blake Library?
Library: The Library has plans for earthquakes, fire, wizard and zombie attacks. However no one can stop Godzilla; except maybe ninja. Please dial 6 in an emergency.

Anon asks: this wall is amazing, I bet the person who set this up is amazing too. And handsome.
Library: We suspect this was put up by a member of our IT Staff.
Library (aka PinkFairaeDust): If you think the IT guys are cute, you should see the Librarians who write on this wall ;)

I suppose you realise by now that this is not one of lovely Sophie’s clever posts. She has asked me to write something about our Brilliant Library Suggestion Board. I am not entirely sure she has picked the right person. I am generally known for doing silly things like naming my lemon tree Fredrick, or asking my boss’ boss’ boss if the new ASRS will be pretty. Ah well here goes!

Above you can see me in front of our gorgeous suggestion board. I am one of the people who respond to students comments and have fallen head over heels in love with the process. They have surprised and thrilled me with their comments and general Geekery.

I guess what I really enjoy are the cheeky comments designed to test our boundaries. Most of the time they are not testing our boundaries by being bad or rude. I guess I can only describe it was testing out how human we are and if we have a sense of humour. So far, we have only had to moderate them lightly, taking down one racist comment and another with a naughty word in it. Actually, we really wanted to leave the latter one up due to its pertinence to the student experience. Shall we play Blankety blanks? “Life is like a sometimes it gets hard for no reason.” True in oh so many ways. Alas we do have to draw a line somewhere. You can see some of the initial comments in our Facebook Photo Gallery.

Some of you might be wondering what this has to do with providing Library Services. Not everyone probably agrees with me, but I represent the silly 25-year-old new graduates and I think it is a crucial step in engaging with students. Sure some of the comments are silly; sure some of them have nothing to do with traditional Library business. That doesn’t bother me at all. Anything that engages students and makes library staff appear less stern and more approachable is fine by me. One bad Library experience will turn you away from Libraries and Librarians for good. Secretly, between you and me, Librarians still petrify me. I was far too scared to approach Librarians in both my degrees – even when I was studying to be one!

What matters to me is that our students (patrons? Researchers? Learners?) feel comfortable talking to us no matter how silly the question may seem and know that we are interested in helping them solve their problems. Even if it is only to suggest a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock to settle who gets to use the computers first (then point out our Online computer availability system). 

Yours, @pinkfairaedust


  1. I think this wall looks great - I like that it has turned into a conversation with some of the people as well, and that it looks and sounds fun.

  2. I love it that it has turned into a conversation and that you are not afraid to interact.

  3. Wow. What a great idea.
    In fact it is such a good idea that it must have been my idea.
    Yes, I think it was my idea.

  4. Four hours on and no debate. Yup, I'm claiming it. It WAS my idea.

  5. Well it was my idea to blog about it! ha!

  6. It so wasn't your idea. I can tell.

    I'm SICK with jealousy of this. I didn't get funding to do it in a library here, but may shamelessly try and do it with pirated equipment anyway just for fun. I agree that anything that makes the Uni experience engaging for students should be part of any University staffer's pd.

    On a serious note, I have had encounters with students whose only conversation on campus some days for awhile was a librarian. If they have a whole wall to start conversations with librarians and other people everyone can only gain : - )

    @pinkfaeriedust I hope your ASRS is pretty too! Demand colours and patterns. Name one part Fred and the other Ginger and let them send each other dance music suggestions in the retrieval buckets.

  7. Mal, Baby Jesus weeps when you tell lies.

    restructuregirl, the wall wisher software is free, you just need to set up an account and beg, borrow or steal a computer from somewhere. Easy, and lots of fun!

  8. We all know that when Mal is fibbing when claims something is his idea without blogging about it first. :D

    restructuregirl, Bella is the Queen of getting things done. I am but her little minion. However as part of her minion training, I think I might have the answer. What you need to do is make it part of the library plan and use the words FREE SOFTWARE. How could they not love it?

  9. I've just now discovered all of these OUTRAGEOUS comments! I am now searching for a sharp instrument that will back up my calls of "off with their heads!" (in a high-pitched voice).
    I am taking down all of these names and will soon be speaking to the authorities.

  10. I thought you were the authority Mal? Have you forgotten?