In 2013 MC Library embarked on a multi-year, multi-faceted set of initiatives to examine, improve and modernize library spaces, collections, services, programs and operations. The studies' results and findings have provided qualitative data on what library users need and prefer to help transform the MC Library into collaborative, comfortable, flexible and supportive environments that better position the library to promote multiple learning partnerships, student success and academic excellence. These studies are important elements toward creating the library of the 21st century for Montgomery College.
The studies themselves are complete: Rockville in 2013-14, Takoma Park/Silver Spring in 2014-15, and Germantown in 2015-16. The Rockville and Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus libraries have established implementation plans to address the findings and recommendations of the Ithaka S+R/library studies and the complementary studies done by 260+ anthropology students. The Ithaka S+R/library and anthropology reports for the Germantown Campus library are being examined and an implementation plan is being developed in Fall 2016. Architectural work informed by the ethnographic studies is underway in 2016-17 to re-conceptualize the Rockville and Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus libraries.
Ethnography -- a collection of qualitative methods that focus on the close observation of social practices and interactions -- is very fruitful approach to applied research for academic libraries. It provides data about what library users actually do in libraries and directly what they say their library needs and preferences are.
If you have questions, want more information or would like someone to talk with your group, class or office about this study, contact Tanner Wray at 240-567-7101, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the listing of presentations, in order of their occurrence:
Tanner Wray and Nancy Fried Foster, Making the Library Work for Community College Commuters: The Case of Montgomery College, in Academic Libraries for Commuter Students: Research-Based Strategies, Mariana Regalado and Maura A. Smale (eds.), American Library Association, Chicago, 2018. pdf file