Library UX Chicago held our second monthly coffee chat on Friday, February 8 from 9am-11am at Cafecito, 26 E Congress Parkway in the South Loop.
Hosts Katie Ediger (Illinois Tech) and Amy Killebrew (Columbia College) facilitated an informal discussion on constructive work environments.
Chicago-area Library Assessment Conference presenters discussed their topics in a recap-style event. This event wasn't just for assessment folks – presentations covered many aspects of library work, ranging from benchmarking data collection about reference services to exploring the implications of campus learning analytics initiatives.
This event was hosted by UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library on Friday, February 1 from 9:30-11:30.
Tell us about how you integrate UX, assessment and/or design thinking in your work.
As a Reference + Instruction Librarian, I am constantly in a mode of revising and rethinking my job to be more conscious of the users’ overall experience. Working at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), our student population tend to be more visual and respond to contemporary issues. For me, integrating their information seeking behavior by adapting sessions to utilize these channels, helping me to to keep students engaged and challenge their notions of who librarians are. I aim to not only use reflection in my own practice, but to help create a culture in the library where reflection is encouraged at all levels of the library.
Do you have a specific project you would like to share?
Within the last few months my colleagues and I have started a few initiatives to get Flaxman Library up to speed in terms of current UX + Assessment practices. This includes taking more rigorous statistics, thinking more strategically about our place within the larger institution, and ensuring we are reflecting on our current policies and procedures with diversity and equity in mind.
One especially exciting new collaboration is with SAIC’s department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to think more holistically about student and faculty experiences with the library and librarians, especially in terms of instruction. As our instruction program is becoming more defined and integrated within SAIC, we can serve as a good example of how necessary and important this collaboration is!
How has Library UX Chicago helped you?
The community of librarians and other UX professionals that participate in the events at UX Chicago makes this group really unique. I think that it has helped me to really consider the intentionality that UX brings to the table, but has also exposed me to fields of inquiry and professions that I didn’t even know existed! Or even better, the melding of two fields into something new and interesting, such as Dr. Kate McDowell and her work with Data Storytelling!
Have you learned a new skill lately?
Non related library skill: Embroidery
Library related skill: Re-learning the newest Camtasia for making video tutorials!
What tools or methods have made the most difference in your work and why?
This may sounds cheesy, or dated, but I recently was able to relocate my office to be in the same space as my colleague Alison Rollins. Being in a space in which collaboration is fluid and open really changes how I work on a daily basis. I was really excited when she joined our team last April as she has such a different experience from my own in terms of librarianship - coming from teaching at a preparatory college, being successful poet, as well as a person of color. I really value all that she brings to our library as a colleague and friend.
What’s the best part of your work day?
Studio visits! Studio visits are essentially a reference interaction but in graduate students’ studio spaces. Getting out of the library and into a space in which the students feel comfortable and we can look at their work together, talk about their research practice, and what other ideas they might consider is one of the most interesting and rewarding parts of my job. Perhaps the other difference with these visits is that they are not usually focused around a specific question, but more organic, like research itself. Plus, it allows me to learn so much more about what students’ needs are in terms of resources!