Assessment isn’t about the data, it’s about the results

I blocked off my afternoon, spent my morning on miscellaneous task work, and i’m going to close my door, turn up the Pistol Annies, and spend the next five hours with SPSS, analyzing the Libraries’ two years of user satisfaction survey data. (Or, as I smirkingly refer to it, doing one of the jobs no one else wants, so the Director does it.)  And I’m vaguely mentally whiny about it — I know it needs to be done, I will be glad and proud when it’s done, and there are several specific uses to put the analyzed data and ensuing reports to.  It’s a good thing. But it’s boooooooring. And tiiiiiiime consuuuuuuuming. I don’t WANNA be an assessment librarian. (pout, footstomp) I have other (read: better) things to do…

I just went to the 2nd floor to see if the Archivist was willing to reschedule a meeting that was breaking up my 5-hour SPSS afternoon, and as I headed back to the stairs, I noticed something. In a circle around the half-wall that surrounds the stairwell, we have 14 upholstered chairs with either an integral tablet or a side table,  each with a footstool. 12 were in use 10 minutes ago, many by students who had obviously settled into a comfortable sunny spot to spend some time.

Those stairs used to be wrapped in Government Documents shelving.  We rearranged the 2nd floor in that way after we did some user assessment and heard about noise problems, lack of power outlets, and a repeated desire for “more comfy seating”. We bought cheap footstools, added black wood tv trays to provide more mobile single-use tables, and rearranged. The whole second floor is now Quiet Study space.

And it gets used. Well used.

Okay. That’s why we do this. Thanks for the lesson, Universe. My date with SPSS seems more interesting, all of a sudden.

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