Objectives: Registration and attendance at the library classes on PubMed and other databases was declining. Preparation for a class is a fairly high investment of librarian's time. We reviewed our advertising and registration methods to try to figure out why we would have such low registrations and then only have about 50% of those registered show up. Could we improve?
Methods: We looked at our approach to classes offered and when scheduled. We reviewed communication channels used to notify the campus about the library classes - blog, newsletter, and website. We evaluated the pros and cons of our registration system. We wanted to move fairly quickly and stay agile so we essentially took a modified rapid prototyping approach to try changes, see what worked, what didn't and make more changes. We also realized that changing too many things simultaneously would make it harder to know which was having the biggest impact. Coincidence or perhaps rather convergence can also play an important role in understanding how patrons may or may not be using your library. Could we improve awareness? Could we improve registration? Could we improve attendance? Using a combination of emailing and calendaring we seem to be doing just that.
Results: The library advertised free classes via a campus listserv reaching over 10,000 faculty and staff. Upon review, we identified a 2 year gap using the listserv. We had not sent the monthly classes since July 2014. Anecdotally, we believed that many people registered so far ahead they didn’t remember their registration. Participants didn’t put the class on their calendars. Sending a 2 day reminder was inadequate. Many participants cancelled after the reminder. We created a shared Outlook calendar to invite registered participants so the class will appear on their calendars and they can easily decline the event to cancel their registration. We have seen a 50% increase in registration and attendance.
Conclusion: We’d dropped the ball communicating our class offerings and it was detrimental to our numbers as well as morale. Participants still don’t always attend and don’t tell us they’re not coming, on a health sciences campus we understand. Participants like the Outlook appointments and they are not considered intrusive. We’re happy with class change sizes from 2 to 4. We are seeing much bigger changes than that which have really boosted morale.
Keywords: classes registration advertising attendance improvement communication patron emailing calendaring
Instruction & Curriculum Librarian
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
John Jones graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1993. He worked at Tompkins-McCaw Library at the Medical College of Virginia for over 8 years providing end user support and teaching/training for resources. He worked at the University of Miami for over 5 years, working primarily with 1st and 2nd year medical students to learn Evidence Based Medicine. He currently works at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus as a Instruction & Curriculum Librarian - teaching classes and providing one-on-one consultations. He likes to read science fiction/fantasy and spends way too much time watching television.
Sunday, May 28
4:15 PM – 4:20 PM
2017 MLIS Candidate & Intern
Health Sciences Library
Hi, I'm Emily Petersen and I am a MLIS candidate at the University of Denver and an Education and Reference Intern at University of Colorado | Anschutz Medical Campus. I expect to graduate in June 2017 and am anxiously awaiting my entry to the professional world. I would like to start working towards my AHIP certification and have a special interest in Public Health and health literacy. Our project was borne out of a desire to increase our class attendence which had been dismal for many months. We are pleased to present our findings to you.
Sunday, May 28
4:15 PM – 4:20 PM
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