UIS Brookens Library was a participant in the ERIAL (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) project. A story about ERIAL made the top ten list of stories in Inside Higher Ed for 2011: http://www.insidehighered.com/insider/2012/01/01/insider-update-january-2012. Check it out! Thanks to the ERIAL project Brookens Library has cleaned existing furniture and purchased new comfy chairs and couches! We also purchased new lamps with electrical sockets to brighten the space and make it easy to plugin laptops. In addition, our findings led us to institute the library workshop series that we market directly to students.
A book, College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, highlighting findings of this two-year LSTA-funded project was published by the American Library Association in the fall. Project librarians at UIS (Jane Treadwell, Amanda Binder, and Natalie Tagge) contributed a chapter entitled “Seeing Ourselves as Others See Us: Library Spaces Through Student Eyes.”
Here is an exerpt from the article:
“The ERIAL (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) project — a series of studies conducted at Illinois Wesleyan, DePaul University, and Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois’s Chicago and Springfield campuses — was a meta-exercise for the librarians in practicing the sort of deep research they champion. Instead of relying on surveys, the libraries enlisted two anthropologists, along with their own staff members, to collect data using open-ended interviews and direct observation, among other methods.”