Here’s this week’s homework for my Library UX course. We had to go to a library and write a step by step map including a shorthand method of showing how patrons, i.e. me in this case, felt during each part of the experience.
I was inspired by some of Rachel’s choices for previous assignments so I decided to visit the Newberry Library, an independent private library with a collection featuring lots of rare materials on American Indian (sic) culture, the Renaissance, local history, genealogy and maps. Since I’d never done research here, I was a bit nervous but also excited. I expected many of the procedures to be different and I knew that patrons did not have access to the books and materials, but didn’t know how that experience would feel, which is why I chose this library.
You can view the full size document here. While it was a bit more intimidating to research at the Newberry than at the Chicago History Museum, the Newberry has primary documents the Chicago History Museum lacks (and vice versa). The Newberry librarians were cordial, but not as helpful as at the Chicago History Museum. Both have rare materials, which are irreplaceable, but the Newberry’s security was tighter.
I think the Newberry should offer more help and show more interest in patron’s research, particularly first time visitors. Since patron’s must state their research area on the request forms, it’s not as though research privacy is a reason why librarians don’t interview patrons more thoroughly.
When a librarian or page delivers a book, she should be warmer and more cordial. Getting a reader’s card form on one floor and having to go to another to submit it seemed inconvenient. After examining the rationale for that arrangement and the functions of each floor, the library should streamline this procedure.