The latest paper discussed in our team journal club took a bit of a kicking.
This paper covers a project where a student was paid to become a student liaison working directly for the Library. They worked 15 to 19 hours a week during term time reporting directly to a fairly senior member of Library staff. They were set three main goals – enhance communication with the student body, articulate student perspectives / determine priorities to meet student needs and increase student participation in library programmes.
In common with the paper about the Library street teams (discussed last time) the paper tells us about what they did but falls down on the evaluation. There are few attempts to address how the programme will be evaluated and where figures are provided they are frequently partial. For example we have no context to claims of an improvement in the affect score on Libqual+. Changes to enquiry levels are discussed but without absolute figures.
In critical appraisal terms it falls at the first hurdle with a focussed research question lacking. Like much LIS research we get a case study approach. Applicability of the model proposed is quite limited locally with a very different institution involved and large sums of money required (at least $5K in pay for student at 2006 prices). The commitment of staff time to managing the role was also substantial.
On the positive side we can see many of the initiatives that were proposed or introduced correspond to work we have in place or under consideration / development. It also prompted lots of discussion of various paths for student engagement and ways to gain the student perspective.
So not a paper to change our practice but plenty to stimulate debate (and a nice blast from the past with them proudly reporting making 192 friends on MySpace).