Free food for fun research!

Free food!

Free food! £20 Pizza Express vouchers! We have a research project and we need a bit of your time. The Library staff is always looking at new ways to improve our services. But I think we can all agree that you have answered enough survey questions.

In the Library it is our goal to evolve and meet the needs of our users. In response to student feedback we have added standing desks, beanbag chairs, and phone chargers for borrowing.

For this project, we would like you to write a letter, but not just any letter. We would like you to pen either a breakup letter or a love letter to something in the library. This is your chance to pick a Library service and vent your frustrations or profess your undying love.

What made me love thee? let that persuade thee
there’s something extraordinary in thee. I cannot: but I love thee; none
but thee; and thou deservest it.

(Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 3.3)

How this will work

We will put you together in groups of 5-7 of your peers and provide some (yummy) food. You will have 10 minutes – no longer – to write down your deepest thoughts. Why only 10 minutes? One, we know your time is precious. Two, we don’t want you to overthink this. Once you have finished writing, we would like to record you reading the letter aloud. The reason we want to record you is because your nuances and expressions are just as important to us. If you don’t feel comfortable being recorded or you don’t want to stand up in front of your peers, not to worry we can always make other accommodations.

“Like some wines our love could neither mature nor travel.”

― Graham Greene, The Comedians

Why a love/break-up letter?

Writing a letter is a familiar format for people whether you put pen to paper or type an email. Writing a letter about your feelings gives us insight that asking you survey questions would not. By understanding your feelings, we in return, will be able to better customize our services. For example, we won’t be able to change the search page on a database (erm talking to you, Business Source Complete), but we can change our training that we provide for that database.

In order to inspire you, and get your creative juices flowing we have included the following examples. Smart Design posted this video mashup of the same research project. And here are some letters our staff have written:

Dear Database,

I know you have the information I need, hidden deep within.  But it takes forever to get it out of you. Why do you insist on Internet Explorer and pop-ups? This is the 21st century! When I find the information after all of that effort, it’s a small comfort. So I have to tell you that this is the end, I have found another, a better database that has all of the information with half the frustration. You have been good to me in the past and I may return (especially if I need M&A information), but until then, this is goodbye.

A frustrated researcher

My Dearest Canva,

You have changed my life forever. Gone are the days of fussing with Microsoft Office. There are so many different things I love about you: your pre-formatted templates ready for any design challenge, the myriad of font choices, click-and-drag capabilities, and your short-and-sweet support videos. There is a lot of design content that you have to pay for (shame), but there is more than enough free images to keep me content. Without you, the library’s promotional material would be a drag.

A very creative librarian

If you are interested in taking part of this project we will be sending around an email with proposed times. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Katie at [email protected].

Katie Hughes

Katie Hughes

User Experience Librarian
Katie Hughes

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