Learning from Your Patrons: An Introduction to User Research

User research doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive. A single librarian can conduct and analyze simple patron evaluations with technology readily available in nearly any library. Small scale research projects, done at regular intervals, can continuously improve library services, and help you to see your library through your patron’s perspective.

Join us as we discuss how to conduct some basic research with your patrons to help make your website or other services easier to use.


Session Slides



  • Rocket Surgery Made Easy – Steve Krug
  • Don’t Make Me Think Revisited – Steve Krug



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Library Services: Making the atypical, typical

Elektra Greer photo
  • Does your library offer unusual services?
  • Is there a population in your community that you are finding hard to reach?
  • Is there an innovative program that you would love to try?

We all know that libraries are so much more than books, but the services and programs we offer to our communities can be as diverse as the population segments we serve.

Join us as we share one library’s journey into “atypical services”…and how atypical is now often the norm. Come ready to share your thoughts and questions as we share unique ideas, brainstorm potential partnerships, and discuss how to define and measure success.



  • Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity – Keith Sawyer
  • Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever – Jeff Fromm
  • Introduction to Marketing: for entrepreneurs and small business owners – Alex Genadanik
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Improving Communication and Relationships at Work with DiSC

  • Ever left a meeting frustrated with the conversation and the outcome?
  • Just not connecting with someone at work?
  • Feel like you have interactions that somehow miss the mark?

What if you had a tool to help you better understand and communicate with your work colleagues in a way that they could “hear” you? DiSC is that tool! Join us for this fun and interactive session where you’ll identify your primary behavioral style and guess at others. Then, learn how to talk with others so they’ll listen.

Curious to learn more?

There are numerous online DiSC “tests” available free of charge. Some may require your contact information, may not offer a full report, or be based on the full set of questions. Still, they could be a place to start if you are do not want to pay for a full test and report. A few are listed here in alphabetical order:

Session Slides (PDF)

More DiSC Resources

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The Power to Delight: Providing extraordinary service

  • With Christine Kreger and Kieran Hixon
  • Originally aired 01/12/2017
  • View the Archive

People everywhere (including our patrons) have seemingly unending choices when it comes to deciding where to take their business. Consequently, customer experience can make or break the relationships we have with our communities.

In this session we will share concrete tips from non-library service champions, and brainstorm ways to provide extraordinary service in our own organizations. Come prepared to share your own service stories, both good and bad, from within your library and beyond, as we work together to develop new rules of service designed to delight.





  • The Amazement Revolution –  by Shep Hyken
  • Disney U –  by Doug Lipp
  • Lessons from the Mouse –  by Dennis Snow
  • Onward: How Starbucks Fought for its Life without Losing its Soul – by Howard Schultz
  • The Cult of the Customer – by Shep Hyken
  • The Apple Experience – by Carmine Gallo
  • The Customer Service Survival Kit – by Richard S. Gallagher

Kieran Hixon

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Summertime Outreach: Bringing Summer Learning into the Community

Your public library is packed with kids during the summer, and that is excellent! Research shows that those children benefit from your library’s many strong enrichment activities, staff expertise, and collections that go so far in preventing summer slide.

However, there are children in your community that you don’t see in your library that need this same enrichment the most over the summer.

  • How can you find and support them, and provide them with the same rich resources?
  • How can you collaborate with other organizations to help with this effort?
  • How will you possibly find the time and resources to provide outreach services during the busiest time of the year?

Join us for this lively, interactive session and bring your questions, challenges and ideas.


Definition of outreach: Providing library services outside of your library without the expectation that those receiving services will ever come to your library.

Chat Transcripts



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Puff, Puff, Lend: Cannabis Culture and the Library

  • With Jennifer Hendzlik and Aaron Bock
  • Originally aired 11/16/2016
  • View the Archive

Got weed? Of course not. But many of your customers do…and they have questions. Where is the best dispensary? Are there any local resources that inform consumers about strains for consumption? What programs are being offered? What materials do you have on growing, cultivating or cooking marijuana and how did you choose them? Is there information on the legalization of marijuana and the nuances of the law?

Libraries across Colorado (and the US) find themselves at a distinct crossroads when it comes to legalized marijuana.

This interactive webinar will help answer questions about the role your library can play in this new wild, wild west.


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Course Correction: Integrating User Feedback to Make Changes Big & Small

  • With Lindsay Roberts and Andrea Reveley
  • Originally aired 09/20/2016
  • View the Archive
  • Struggling with getting input from your patrons?
  • Don’t know which suggestions to implement?

We will discuss ways to get to know your users and invite feedback through informal patron suggestions, formal surveys, usability studies, demographic information, as well as building relationships and starting conversations.

After gathering feedback, we have made large changes such as a new ILS and renovated rooms, free or low cost changes such as reconfiguring our space and focusing our collection development efforts on print books instead of eBooks.

Come brainstorm ways to invite, evaluate, and implement patron suggestions to create a user‐centered library experience.



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When You are Engulfed in Flames: Recognizing and overcoming job burnout

Jean Marie Heilig

NoteJob burnout is a response to stress that leaves you feeling hopeless, powerless, despondent and overwhelmed. But, don’t despair you can do something about it! During this session you’ll learn this doesn’t happen overnight. Our bodies and minds do give us warning signs, and if you know what to look for, you can recognize it before exhaustion and ineffectiveness set in. 

Join us to discover if you are at risk or are experiencing job burnout and we will brainstorm what you can do. 


Note: We played the Dealing with Burnout video listed above during the session, but it was not captured in the recording. You can view the video using the link above.


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We Need To Talk: Overcoming the fear of having a difficult conversation

Jean Marie Heilig

When faced with having a difficult conversation do you find yourself procrastinating, back peddling, dodging, panicking, or finding yourself filled with dread?  Whether the conversation is with staff, a patron, your family, or an annoying neighbor this session will help to move you forward. These conversations don’t have to be difficult if you prepare in advance and leave your emotions out of the equation.

Join us for this conversation…about difficult conversations!


Note: We shared two videos during the session that the recording did not capture. You can use the links to the videos below.

  1. How to ask to have the Conversation
  2. Underlying Cause of a Performance Issue


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Weeding Isn’t Sexy, But It Should Be

Weeding is a lot like Fight Club…we don’t like to talk about it. As libraries evolve into community spaces that encourage creativity and participatory experiences, it becomes more and more imperative that the collections we have are an integral part of sparking curiosity. Old, dirty and outdated materials crammed tightly onto shelves is a practice more hoarder than librarian. It’s time to unleash your inner book snob.

Don’t know where to start? Join us for this interactive webinar to gain confidence in building a strong and popular collection that encourages visibility and promotes serendipitous discovery at your library. 

Note: To get the most out of this session, please bring 3-5 books to your desk in order to practice evaluating during this webinar.




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