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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Surf, Sand, and Sun:  Gathering Library Feedback from Users through a Beach-Themed Event

  • Author(s): Goodson, Kymberly
  • et al.
No data is associated with this publication.

The UC San Diego (UCSD) Library offers a variety of student-focused, de-stress events throughout the year to help students withstand the rigors of long hours of study in the library and the demanding nature of UCSD’s 11-week academic quarter.  While each event offers relaxing or stimulating activities and snacks to the student attendees, opportunities for sharing targeted feedback with the library are also provided.  One such event is the Spring Beach Party, held in April, which aligns with the campus’ location on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.  At the event, attendees receive free lemonade and iced tea, beach-themed snacks, and information about library services.  They can also play with kinetic sand, compose poetry with beach-themed magnetic words (also in celebration of National Poetry Month in April), enjoy beach-themed coloring sheets, and more. 


To enable feedback gathering at the 2018 Spring Beach Party, 13 large, colorful posters were created showing a variety of beach-related images, including surfing, friends, tunes, grub, relaxing, bonfires, treasures, and more.  Each poster was accompanied by a comment card with 3 questions associated with the theme, along with 2 related tips about library services or offerings.  For example, the “crowds” poster asked attendees about difficulties they experience finding a seat in the library during different times of the term, finding an available outlet in the library, and about the locations where available outlets are hardest to locate.  Tips on the card alerted attendees to the additional computers and study seats in a smaller, lesser-known library building, and about a recently-launched app with a live map of how busy library spaces are at any given time.


Attendees were encouraged to complete all or some of the comment cards, exchanging them with a staff member at the event for an equal number of raffle tickets.  Drawings for prizes were held throughout the event, though one did not need to be present to win.  Prizes included packages of kinetic sand, campus gift cards, snacks, and library-imprinted items.


Approximately 50 students completed at least some comment cards at the event.  To gather additional feedback, the same posters and cards will be hung in the library in the second part of the spring term, with additional prize drawings to be given out before Finals Week.  During the summer of 2018, all feedback from this initiative will be compiled and evaluated, so that actionable recommendations can be presented. 


The poster will show how, while not necessarily statistically representative, this low-cost, easy to implement approach can garner valuable, immediate, and actionable feedback directly from users in a fun and unique way that students find compelling.  Such an event, or a similar feedback initiative without a corresponding event, can easily be adapted to suit the needs, staffing, and budgets of a variety of other libraries.  The poster will visually share details of the event, display the feedback results, and outline the actions taken as a result of what was revealed in the student feedback.  Images will include the event itself, as well as the posters and comment cards used.

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Gathering Library Feedback from Users through a Beach-Themed Event