Interviewing library users

We have had fun when talking to users of the BMH library. We asked them three questions that are related to their use of the library space.

Our questions were:

  1. What do you use this library for?
  2. Why do you (study/read/work/group work) right here?
  3. Where would you study if the library did not exist?

We have chosen eight different spots or areas and talked to individual users, pairs of users and groups of users. All the people we approached were happy to participate in our small interview.

People were reading lecture notes and other study material, discussing/talking, writing lab reports and research papers, doing group work, searching for information, using library and own books, using own laptops and library computers.



They appreciated the comfort of the furniture, the satisfactory silence level — not too silent, not too noisy — and the possibility to work together. The availability of computers and reference material were mentioned as well.

If the library did not exist, most of them would have chosen to stay at home instead of for example the “too silent” reading rooms.

It will be interesting to find answers to the same questions in the two other libraries.

First impressions at NTNU

Site visits have started in Trondheim, Norway. What an excellent place and time to start!

Our first site is the NTNU and HiST medical and health library (BMH) where we began the week by making a schedule for the week with several appointments with some key persons.

As the BMH is brand new, and we all are very interested in library space planning, we took an extensive tour in the modern library. That gave the visiting members of the group many very useful tips about e.g. furniture and lightning.


Karen’s office with luxury Capisco chair and collection of conference badges.


View from third floor down to the desk at second floor.


Library class room with adjustable and movable teacher’s desk and smart board.

Chair testing

Student reading room with multifunctional chair.

Chair test

Testing chairs.

Under desk

Benchmarking and photographing RFID equipment.

Sofa area

Student reading comfortably.


Area for studying and group working in the BMH library.

Studying area equipped with anatomy material

Studying area equipped with anatomy material.


Library service desk

Entrance area

Multipurpose entrance area with new books and sofa group.


BMH library has a lot of light.

Group work room

There are 12 group work rooms in the library. Five of them are accessible 24/7.


Third floor east wing, area for studying and book collection.


Orakel = Oracle. They have been providing ICT support to library users for 51 years already.

Various library materials

Various library materials: games, videos, textbooks.

Sofa corner

Library offers comfortable areas with sofas and armchairs.

Quiet area with comfortable chairs.

Comfortable chairs for quiet reading.

Area for group work with two group work rooms behind.

Area for group work with two group work rooms behind.

Another way to arrange an area for group work.

Another way to arrange an area for group work.

View from the Knowledge Center elevator.

View from the Knowledge Center elevator.

We then discussed the information literacy training — courses, lectures and user support — in BMH with Senior Research Librarian Jan Ove Rein, and got a good picture of how it is organized and conducted for both the faculty and the hospital.

Marketing library and its services is also an interesting topic for us all. In BMH marketing — thanks to Karina K. Bjørkedal — is professional and effective. We were unanimous that it is important that the library staff goes to the customer, and is visible also in places out of the library, such as faculty meetings.

Blogging about benchmarking

We are three librarians working in health/medical libraries in Brussels (Belgium), Kuopio (Finland) and Trondheim (Norway).

In February 2013 we started planning a benchmarking project together. Since then we have collected and shared data and statistics, and had (Skype) meetings.

Soon we will make site visists to each other libraries. Exiting!

This blog is meant for sharing the experience and immediate reporting. Later we will also report more formally.

We welcome comments on the topic of benchmarking, especially between libraries, and even more especially between health libraries.

Ghislaine, Karen & Tuulevi