Department Blog

Suggestions and Comments

Webpage Cluttered

January 28th, 2014 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: Please don’t make your web page cluttered with too many options.  It takes me forever to find what I want.  It is very frustrating and irritating.

ANSWER:  Thank you for taking the time to write to us.  I agree with you, our web site needs updating, in fact a total redesign would be wonderful and we are in the midst of working towards that goal.  The Library will soon be hiring an Online Platform lead — at that point we’ll avail ourselves of the best in user-centric design and new technologies.

This will not happen suddenly, but we (and many other libraries) are aware of the problems with being an information rich environment with the subsequent issue of vastly different audiences wanting immediate access to their specific tools.  One of the best things about our amazing resources is the breadth and depth of what we offer.  Of course, the downside is the super rich, confusing breadth and depth . . .

In the meanwhile, if you need a quick tutorial on how to best use our tools — come by any of our reference desks, set up a meeting with our subject librarians, or email us.  We have many ways to help and we’re happy to show you how to quickly find what you need.

More Electrical!!! (good news)

January 27th, 2014 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: (okay, more of a statement) More electrical outlets.

ANSWER: We hear you.  Seriously.  This summer, when we re-arranged our furniture in Shields Library to help form quiet, study, and group zones, we took into account all of the locations where we could extend power by adding surge protectors to the tops of tables.

The first round (summer ’13) we added approximately 30 surge protectors, extending the plug-in option for 180 computers, phones, etc.  Just a month ago we approved funding for another 49 surge protectors or 294 outlets.  When the next set of surge protectors come in we will have added 474 outlets on or adjacent to study tables.

We expect this project to take until the end of the quarter to finish, but once done you’ll have many more options for keeping your digital tools fully charged!

Who Gets Access to Public Computers?

January 27th, 2014 by Amy Kautzman

QUESTION: As a U.C. Davis alumnus and Los Rios Community College faculty member, I am alarmed by the recent reduction in public access computers at Shields. While I’m pleased the library has been able to replace its aging computers with new ones, I find it greatly troubling that in the process it has replaced what were public access computers with computers inaccessible to “unaffiliated” patrons, including alumni and the faculty as well as students of the region’s other public post-secondary institutions, which count upon the University Library for many of their research needs.

I very much hope the university will better remember its obligations as a land-grant institution and as the flagship public research institution in the area and find some way to provide its “unaffiliated” patrons with the same level of access it has historically provided. If a significant number of public access computers are somehow problematic, perhaps it could provide login privileges to those patrons to whom it has already extended borrowing privileges.

ANSWER:  Thank you for taking the time to write the library with your concerns.  We are undergoing a review of public computers in all of our libraries and public comments are an important part of the conversation.  If you’ve been using our computers you have certainly noticed that the number and quality of the PCs have dropped  during the past few years of budget cutbacks. We are exploring how to best rectify this and, in light of constant technological changes, what sort of computer support our patrons need.

 We have put up a survey which we invite you to fill out.  We are gathering comments on white boards, we are noting (in a very rough way) what types of sites are being used (academic, business, social media, news, etc), and we are soliciting comments from our primary user groups.  Comments such as this will also be added to the conversation.
Once we have finished our information gathering work, my job will be to present solutions that take into consideration the needs of our primary users (students, faculty and staff), those of outside patrons, and of course — our technology budget in combination with future programmatic needs.
Again, I invite you to fill out the survey; share why access to UC Davis resources are useful to you and which technologies you prefer.  I feel confident that we will always provide access to research materials to our public.  However, UCD is very rare in offering the public unlimited (non-research) access to computers and the internet and in times of diminishing resources this privilege may change.  We are exploring what our peer libraries do in regard to public access.
I appreciate your comments and especially your suggestion about linking computer use to library cards.  It may be too limiting — but it is another approach to add to our discussion.  UCD students and faculty, what are your thoughts?

After Hours Sustenance!

January 16th, 2014 by Amy Kautzman

Shields Library now has a snack and pop machine located in the 24 Hour Reading Room. We heard you were hungry so we partnered with Sodexo who provided the machines and is responsible for the upkeep. Not as wonderful as Sam’s falafel, but the snacks will help you keep you studying for another hour or so.