SPEC Kit 322: Library User Experience · 155
which different campus and vendor groups come in to showcase their products and services;
a recent Bagels and Brew focused on biosafety and compliance issues. The events aim both
to foster community and to disseminate information so that people can accomplish their goals
more easily. The BRC also hosts a Thursday afternoon event called Patties on the Patio. Signs
promoting these events adorn the elevators and other public spaces. The hallways are lined
with posters showcasing research going on at the BRC, and some researchers have drawn or
written on the glass walls.
Fondren’s space in the BRC is located on the second floor, just beyond an entranceway that
is linked to the patio by a spiral staircase. It seems that Fondren’s facility is in a fairly visible,
high traffic area, although our observation of the space occurred during the summer, when most
students are away and when construction was altering foot traffic through the building,
We concluded our interviews by asking for suggestions for Fondren’s BRC facility. Interviewees
suggested that the library provide the following:
1. Most of all, researchers wanted access to biomedical databases that are available at
the HAM-TMC library. They didn’t understand why they cannot access these important
research materials. One interviewee suggested that it might be possible to offer faculty
joint appointments with Medical Center institutions so that they could access these
databases; Rice could give Med Center faculty reciprocal privileges. Such an approach
worked (to some extent) at another institution.
2. Pick up and drop off services for books that researchers needed to acquire or return.
Although researchers don’t use print books very frequently, occasionally they want
to consult an introductory book, specialty work, or older volume. Making the trip to
Fondren can be cumbersome. As one interviewee commented, “it doesn’t seem like 15
minutes is much to walk, but it is.”
3. Training and support for patent searches.
4. Training and support for the development of business plans.
5. Although fondren@brc does not need to be open for extensive hours, librarians can
offer regular office hours so that researchers can drop by with questions. Not only
would researchers better know their librarian, but librarians would develop a deeper
understanding of the researcher community that they are serving. Graduate students
in particular said that they would like to get help identifying and accessing relevant
6. Host outreach sessions focused on “what the library can do for you.” Perhaps
the library can host a future Bagels and Brew or Patties on the Patio event. As one
interviewee told us, “Feed them and they will come.” The best times for such events
seem to be weekday mornings (10 a.m.) and afternoons (4 p.m.).
7. Offer tutorials and workshops. A number of researchers (particularly graduate