We Get Suggestions

A recent suggestion (well, really a complaint):

“This library is too COLD! It is uncomfortable and a waste of resources.”

The staff of the Biomedical Library work to maintain a comfortable temperature for our users and staff, while preventing mold outbreaks in our collection. Maintaining a comfortable temperature is more difficult when there are dramatic changes in the outside temperature – it can take a day or so for the building to adjust and stabilize.

Based on your complaint, we reviewed the temperature/humidity sensor data for the Library, and found that the average temperature for the north and south sides of the building were pretty consistent, and within the range we need to maintain. We did notice that the north side of the building was an average of 1 degree colder than the south. We discussed this with Libraries Preservation, and they approved trying to bump up the temperature in the north end of the building. Hopefully this will make the space a little more comfortable.

In general, the south side of the building near the windows is a little warmer than the rest of the space, so if you are uncomfortable, you might want to see if space is available for you in this area.

Thanks for the suggestion!

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We Get Suggestions

A recent suggestion:

“Hi. I think it would be cool if I could grab info from the digital signs to my phone like I can capture music in a store.”

You know, that would be cool. Unfortunately, after checking the underlying software that manages our digital signs, we don’t think there’s a way to do this currently.

Saying that, we all know that technology is changing all the time, so perhaps something like this will be available in the future. In the meantime, I guess you could take a picture of the screen that has the information you need. Also a lot of the information displayed on our digital signs is also available on our website, so feel free to ask library staff about anything you saw.

Thanks for the suggestion!

Categories: We Answer To You Comments: 1

We Get Suggestions

A couple of recent suggestions:

“Can we have a microwave?”

Given that our Food Policy asks everyone to limit food to “individual snack size food items” and the overwhelming number of complaints we receive about food consumption in the Library involves warm food, we won’t be providing a microwave in the Library.

Thanks for the suggestion!

“New books area. Can’t read – very annoying b/c of low lighting conditions. Please – more photons.”

You know, you’re right. I went over to the New Books shelving area and it was a bit darker than other areas nearby. We moved this collection to make way for a recent exhibit. Now that this exhibit is over we’ll move the collection back to the original location. I believe you will find this area sufficiently photon rich. Happy browsing!

Thanks for the suggestion!

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We Get Suggestions

A recent suggestion:

“Of all the keyboards on the market that are compatible with these computers, UCSD has purchased the LOUDEST ones available! Why?

Seriously, you can estimate how many words per minute a user can type clear across the second floor!

Other than that, this library is wonderful.

-Thanks”

I doubt that we specifically tried to purchase the loudest keyboards on the market, but, you know, I know the guy that buys our computers, and he has kinda’ a sick sense of humor… ;)

Seriously, the keyboards we have are the ones that come standard with Dell computers. The acoustics on the 2nd floor do cause a lot of problems for us, so I’m sure that’s part of the problem as well. In any case, we’ll investigate if we can get some quieter keyboards for the upstairs computers.

Thanks for the suggestion!

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We Get Suggestions

A couple of building related suggestions this time:

- “The water from the drinking fountains between restrooms is not cold enough. Is there a way to make the water colder?”

Unfortunately, these drinking fountains are not refrigerated, so we don’t have any way to control the water temperature. Thanks for the suggestion!

“The carpet outside the rest rooms is becoming soiled as a result of what is tracked out of the rest rooms. Replaceable door mats, such as used at the entrance of the library might help.”

This is a great suggestion. After the last carpet cleaning, when we saw how much effort and chemicals were required to clean high-traffic areas like the entrance, and bathroom areas, we came to the same conclusion. We’re currently working to obtain some quality floor mats that won’t cause any type of safety concerns. Thanks!

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Question Box: Real Answers to Real Questions

Q.  When are you going to put MATLAB on the Information Commons computers?

A. Done!  This summer, MATLAB, Stata, and Office 2007 were added to the Information Commons and Graduate Study computers.

MATLAB is a high-level numerical computing environment and programming language which you can use to solve technical computer problems faster than with traditional programming languages.  MATLAB allows easy matrix manipulation, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, and creation of user interfaces.

Another great addition is Stata, an integrated statistical package for data analysis, data management, and graphics.  Several sets of manuals are available for your use in the Information Commons book collection.

In addition to the standard Office programs, Office 2007 includes MS Project (project management), InfoPath (forms design), OneNote (notetaking and information management), SharePoint (collaboration), and Visio (diagramming). Office 2003 is still available, as well.

If you have other suggestions for improving the Information Commons, please tell us on the Commons blog (http://biomedlinc.wordpress.com/suggestions/).

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We Get Suggestions

A couple of competing suggestions found in our suggestion box at the same time:

- “Raise the temp in the Library”

– “Hell-no! Don’t raise the temperature. If you are cold, just wear a sweater.”

Ah, the never-ending debate played out in library’s, offices, even the home. The staff of the Biomedical Library try our best to find a comfortable temperature for all of our staff and users, while maintaining an environment that doesn’t cause problems with our collection. As you can probably imagine, with a building of this size, this can be challenge. We especially have problems when there are dramatic changes in the outside temperature – it can take a day or so for the building to adjust. In general, the North side of the building is cooler than the South side, so if you are uncomfortable, you might want to try a different area of the building.

We do have the ability to adjust the temperature slightly in specific areas, so please let someone know at the service desk if you feel an area is particularly cool or warm.

Thanks for the suggestions!

- “BML should have an annual pictorial calendar of Asian male models. I am able to be the Asian male mode. Contact me at… In return for my bodily service, I expect to be compensated with unlimited photocopy privileges!”

Hmmm…I can see it now, the “Men of the Biomedical Library”… Thanks for the suggestion – don’t call us, we’ll call you!… ;)

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We Get Suggestions

A couple of recent suggestions:

- “Please get a coffee vending machine for the Biomedical Library. Thanks!”

The library received the anonymous request above, as well as a more formal request from the first-year medical students. I’m sorry to say that the Biomedical Library will not be providing a coffee vending machine in the near future. We have done a good amount of investigation, and it does not look possible on a number of fronts.

The biggest challenge is from a business model perspective. Library administration is firm that providing a vending machine at the Biomedical Library must be done at no cost to the Libraries. With easily accessible providers of coffee (ClubMed, Leichtag Coffee Cart) available through the morning and early afternoon, it is unlikely that a vending machine would consistently generate enough business during the remainder of the day to break even. Knowledgeable campus officials have given us their assessment that the vendor would likely want to remove the vending machine, or ask the Library to subsidize the cost of the machine in as little as six months.

Another significant challenge is logistics – from a traffic flow/facility cleanliness perspective, the best location for a vending machine would be the breezeway. Unfortunately, there is no water or sewer access in the breezeway, and conservative estimates put the cost of adding this at $10,000. We are aware that there are self-contained units, but these require daily maintenance – the Library is not willing to take this on, and vending companies would expect a significant profit to provide this level of maintenance. As described above, we are not confident these profits would materialize.

Due to the Library’s current struggle to maintain facility cleanliness, we are not willing to provide vending machines, or any associated food service materials (microwave, etc), with the inevitable additional mess, elsewhere in the Library.

I’m sorry we couldn’t satisfy this request. We will continue to evaluate if it’s possible to provide this type of service in the future.

– “Keep the library open past 6pm on Saturdays, especially during Finals”

Over the years, the most frequent request we’ve received related to the Library’s hours has been to stay open past 6pm on Saturdays. Some of the factors we consider with this question include staffing, and the cost of keeping the facility open.
– From a staffing perspective, providing longer hours on Saturday would require two more staff members to work that day. There would be a significant cost associated with this, as well as more problems related to staff illnesses and vacations.
– From the facility cost perspective, it’s important to understand that it takes a large amount of energy to provide light and climate control for the Library. We would have to see a lot of use of the facility to justify the added cost. Based on experience throughout the UCSD Libraries, Saturday evening is usually not a busy night.

We’re hoping that the soon to be completed expansion of the Price Center, including a 24 hour study lounge may provide a location for students wanting to study outside our open hours.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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We Get Suggestions

An item from our suggestion box:

“It was a great idea to change room 218 to a quiet study zone, but could you please ask library staff not to talk loudly in the room next to the quiet study zone?”

We’re glad that you are finding the new Individual Study Area (where the photocopy room used to be) a good place for that extra-intensive studying. Although your message was not dated, I imagine that you had the unfortunate timing of trying to study in this area while the library staff had our annual holiday party. I admit it, we may have been a little raucous, but this year’s holiday party committee really outdid themselves to plan a fun event – great food, great decorations, games… man, it was awesome… oh well, I digress… :)

Anyway, I will be sure to ask the staff to do their best to keep it down in general, and especially during our infrequent social events. Thanks for your suggestion!

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We get suggestions

Well, in this case, some positive feedback:

“The new lady who cleans the second floor (her name is Marisela) is very neat. She even tries to clean the dirt on walls. Just wanted to let you know! Much better than the previous man!”

Thanks for the feedback! We will let Marisela know about your comment. We work very hard with the custodians assigned to the Biomedical Library to stress the importance of maintaining a clean facility. With that said, it seems the most important factor is the pride in their work the individual feels. We do our best to let all of our staff, including the custodians, know how much we value their hard work – your comment will help us let Marisela know that our users value her hard work as well.

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