Visiting the Judge Business School (JBS) library on Wednesday was a fascinating experience for me, in complete contrast to my day to day work at St John’s College. When we were first contacted about the Penumbra scheme back in March, visiting JBS stood out as an option to me - from a little research I quickly appreciated how much they promoted e-resources and social media to help their students. Through the ‘23 Things for Professional Development’ programme I have learnt a lot more about the use of Twitter, Facebook and other online mediums within a library setting and I hoped that the staff at JBS would be able to show me how they apply these ideas.
Prior to my arrival in the JBS Information Centre the team at JBS kindly drew up an itinerary for my afternoon, covering a wide range of areas. To begin with Claudia (Information & Library Assistant) gave me a tour of the building, highlighting their plans to gradually reduce the number of printed journals as more and more become available online. The main reason for doing so is to create more study areas for the students, as I was assured that during term time the mezzanine area gets very crowded! I found the area a bright and airy environment, and I am sure a comfortable place to work. The small (but growing) DVD collection was highlighted to me and finally we took a look at the rather terrifying (but very colourful) twin-screen Bloomberg terminals, showing one of the world’s leading financial databases.
Next I spent some time with Meg (Projects Officer) looking at all the different aspects of their website. Set up using an online blogging website, the Information and Library Services website is colourful and interesting to explore. With various blogs on the left hand side, the team spends a great deal of time putting them together and selecting eye-catching images to accompany them. Meg emphasised how important they find it to ensure the blogs are about relevant and fun topics, steering clear of simply blogging opening times! The grey ribbon along the top lists the five key things that students may want to do when using the website, and in the centre of the page you can see meebo, an online messaging service which allows students to speak to staff in real time .
With Claudia again I spent some time looking through the slides placed on the plasma screened situated both outside and inside the library. Aside from giving useful information, the team also pick out some key business and finance facts and figures for users’ interest. I also had a look at the Microsoft Access database they keep to record all enquiries, time spent on them and their replies. I found this a particularly interesting idea, especially due to my experience with this database software with the Biographical Office, and can definitely see the use when receiving the same enquiry again.
Moving onto social media with Sarah (Information & Library Assistant) allowed me to come to grips with the use of Twitter, and since this I have spent some time placing my Twitter feed onto my blog. I am also going to try and tweet a little more about what I have been up to! We also explored how they use Pinterest to show a very visual pin board of e-books, new books, funny quotes and numerous infographics on subjects from plagiarism and business to how to study. Ange (Deputy Information & Library Services Manager) told me some more about how she creates infographics, and what their aim is. I found them colourful and amusing, and a great way to get across statistics in a very engaging way. This lead on to us discussing how JBS aims to personalise their customer service, and finally a review of the afternoon. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and went away seeing in action one way in which libraries can adapt in this technology driven world. The fact that the staff at JBS strive to know the names and faces of all the students they provide for, and the way they deal with individual research enquiries, showed me how personalising your service to cater for each and every student makes you so much more accessible.
I would like to say thank you to Claudia, Meg, Sarah, Ange and Nataliya for all the time they put in to showing me around their library, it was an enlightening experience!