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Improving the student experience: how can the library help?

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This article begins by looking at changes in the student body in recent years as useful indicators of how libraries need to alter and adapt their student library provision. Among the concepts explored are the student as consumer-customer, the Google generation, greater than ever competition among students especially for the job market, new technology as fashion accessory as much as learning tool, the widening participation agenda for higher education, and the almost ubiquitous presence of multi-functional electronic devices. There is an examination of some challenges for librarians in meeting the needs and demands of this new generation of students. These include the balancing of electronic and print provision, the future of the physical library environment, push rather than pull to deliver library services, anytime anywhere access to information, integration with other university services, and helping to fit students for the world of work. The main message of the article is that librarians are not under threat from the giant search engines as long as they embrace the interactive technologies which students so willingly and expertly use, and adapt them to get library services out to students as customers.

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