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June Hedges

UCL Library Services Annual Report 2012/13

The Student Experience

June Hedges

UCL Library Services has continued to work hard to achieve the ambitious targets set out in the Student Experience Key Performance Area. In this second year of our strategy implementation our focus has been on maintaining momentum with the projects and initiatives that we set out in the strategy. Some of our successes this year include:

Skills development

One of the key areas of the Student Experience KPA looks at skills development for our students. With pressures on the timetable and students' time being precious, colleagues across Library Services are aware that it can be difficult to integrate skills training into the student learning experience. However, our training provides students with an awareness of the thousands of resources that the Library provides and - very importantly - equips them with invaluable research skills that will be useful throughout their careers. A couple of new initiatives highlight efforts being made to increase both the take-up and relevance of our training.

AcaMedics Skype chat Significant inroads were made to integrate information skills training into the evolving new medical undergraduate curriculum in 2012-13, with multiple points of input in most of the years through the "Use of Evidence" vertical module. Alongside clinical leads and interested students, Library staff at the Royal Free jointly co-ordinated and facilitated a four-week post-finals Student Selected Component on "evidence into practice: quality improvement". This ran in June 2013 for the first time and will be offered again in 2014.

Library staff at the Royal Free have been working closely with AcaMedics, a student group who are committed to increasing medical students' experience of research during their coursework. Following a pilot in 2011-12 the project was expanded in 2012-13, with library staff providing support by providing seminars on research skills, literature reviews and small primary studies being on offer in addition to clinical audits carried put by participants. Library staff were also invited to sit on the selection panel for the project. Student feedback on the seminars was extremely positive: "Well pitched. Doesn't need improvement. Good job."


Elsewhere, colleagues in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Team created new webpages to help direct new students arriving at UCL to essential information about Library Services. The "Getting Started" pages were complemented by a new bookmark (pictured above) that was distributed to new students at the start of session 2013/14 or in advance via departmental mailings sent before they arrived at UCL.

Highlighting just how active academic support colleagues have been in developing new approaches to information skills training, Lisa Flint, Subject Librarian for the Faculty of Life Sciences has published an article.

Lisa Flint “My article looks at changing the format of a well-established information skills session for first-year biochemistry students, to improve its design, delivery and the overall learning experience for the students. It originated as a 5 minute presentation in a 'Teachmeet' session at a conference for the University Health and Medical librarians group, and was developed into an article later that year. The piece raises the discussion of generic verses subject-based information skills training as well as exploring different methods of active learning.” Article reference: Flint, L. (2013), 'Letting them loose!' A different approach to a biochemistry post-exam training session. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 30: 83.87. doi: 10.1111/hir.12013

Self-service book borrowing

Other strategic goals remain on track. Library Services has successfully achieved funding to extend self-service to further sites over the coming years. I hope that next year we will be able to report on the implementation of self-service in the Main Library, which we know from our Library Survey and frequent feedback from students is a high priority. This is currently scheduled to take place in Summer 2014 and will enable us to extend services to complement the already extended opening hours in the Main Library. Plans for other sites will be developed over the coming months.

Online reading lists

"Your service is tip-top!!" is a comment received from an academic colleague in Psychology and Language Science who began using ReadingLists@UCL during the past year. Use of the service to support taught courses continues to increase, with 34% of courses having a list in the system by the end of session 2012/13.

Using Special Collections materials in taught courses

Finally, despite the geographic location of the collections, colleagues in Special Collections continue to work with departments to ensure that students are able to engage with the wealth of materials available. During 2012/13, materials from Special Collections support teaching on 20 courses across UCL. Engagement activities set for 2013/14 will help to further promote these excellent collections.

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