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Gordon Library - Annual Reports, Survey Results, and Statistics

Spring 2022 Student Survey

Student voices posterEarly in D Term we opened up our spring survey to hear from WPI students. Over 700 students responded, representing all disciplines, residents and commuters, undergraduates and graduates.   Thank you!  Your voice is essential to help us understand your experience, what is important to you, and how we can support you better!

Our team has been analyzing everything you told us!  Here are some of the highlights of what you told us, and how we're taking action to respond.

Reopen the Cafe!

Mac-n-Cheese servingWhat do students want most?  Over 500 survey respondents said "reopen the cafe"!  We agree!  Working closely with campus catering and students, we've already taken steps this spring to do just that. 

  • First up, we reopened the cafe space, providing access to toasters, a microwave, and paper goods for any student wanting to warm up a meal from home or just sit in the comfy booths to take a break. 
  • We also worked with student organizations & businesses and campus catering to bring students free coffee and student-made food (cupcakes from VegClub and delicious food from Doughboyz) during D Term finals. Yes, free! Enjoy!
  • And last but not least, campus catering arranged a pop-up treat - Mac-n-Choose arrived at 11am Monday of finals week and will be serving 11am-5pm weekdays through May 3! 

What's next? We're working on plans with Catering for food and coffee options when the Cafe reopens in the fall!

Improving Study and Meeting Spaces

Brody Study PodHigh on students' priority lists were offering private study pods, modernizing window seating, adding Tech Suites, creating an interview room, adding natural light, and making spaces brighter and more fresh.  Here's what's coming this summer and fall:

  • Check out the sample private study pods on the entrance level (go left past the Information Desk) and take a quick survey to tell us which you like best! We are hoping to add a bunch of these by next fall!
  • We have a sweet spot lined up on the 1st floor to be turned into a private interview room - it's quiet, has natural light, and we think you'll find it a huge step up from the 'phone booth' spaces many use now to do remote interviews. 
  • We're looking at some modern carrel furniture with larger surfaces and better access to power, to replace the traditional but cramped carrels along our eastern windows. We'll get student input & will be bringing them to you next year!
  • The Third (upper) floor will begin a makeover this summer that will bring in more natural light and a mix of casual and quiet study seating.
  • We're beginning an amazing plan for the First (lower/quiet) floor that will, when completed, add six or seven new Tech Suites, as well as opening up much more natural light and new quiet seating. We have architects beginning to design how this might look and should be beautiful. It will be a big project and take a few years but we're very excited to begin planning now!

Pain Points: Computers, Textbooks

stack of textbooksStudents had some concerns and complaints to make about library computers and textbooks:

Computers: we'll work with IT this summer to diagnose and improve the slowness you've reported on library computers.

Textbooks:  textbooks can be crazy expensive! The library's textbook/course reserve service can't always meet demand.  We're exploring how we can help provide better access to textbooks, and we're also working with WPI faculty and funding from several WPI programs to encourage and support the use of no- or low-cost course materials at WPI, also known as "Open Educational Resources."  

More Ideas and Input

Who comes to the library? Of students who responded to the survey, 37% report visiting the library building more than 3x a week, while an equal number visit the library 1-3 times a week. 44% of students report spending more than 2 hours each time they visit the library, with another 50% spending 1-2 hours.

What for? the overwhelming student choice of descriptive terms about the library were about 'study'!  

Watch this space for more updates, insights, and actions we're taking to meet student needs!