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User Experience (UX) Working Group

Work Like a Patron Day @ Brock Library - March 2, 2015

By experiencing the library from the point of view of our patrons,
staff can hopefully both improve the services we offer as well as
empathize with patron needs and expectations
- Brian Herzog

Invitation to Participate

On Monday March 2nd, Brock Library will be participating in “Work Like a Patron Day (WLAP).” Officially established in 2008, by Brian Herzog, WLAP Day is a best practice for library staff from libraries of all kinds to better understand the needs and experiences of their users. 

Brian's Office Door (2014)

How can I participate? Here are a few examples:

  • Use public spaces in the Library during your break times
  • Print using the new Paper Cut system at public printers
  • Instead of using Millennium to look up items only use SuperSearch
  • Instead of using SharePoint to find bookmarked links, only use the Library/Brock website to find information

‚Äč*Need more ideas?  We’ve got tons! (we’ll send a list of suggestions next week)

I’m busy March 2nd.

  • That’s ok! March 2nd is just a day to get you started, but you have the entire week to find time to work like a patron. 
  • A follow-up discussion workshop will be scheduled the week of the 9th to share our findings with each other.

I don’t have time to dedicate a full day to this.

  • No worries! We understand that daily routines and responsibilities may not accommodate an entire day of using public spaces and software.  To participate, select a few tasks that you think you CAN do, even if they’re spread out over the week.

Sound Interesting?
Read more about Work Like a Patron Day:

Things to consider while working like a patron

  1. Think holistically. Experiencing the flow between tasks is often what is most hidden to us. Try combining a few tasks into your WLAP Day. Eg. Visit the MDGL, find a digital airphoto, using only your laptop (that you borrowed from the library), then print it (from your laptop), and finally, tweet about it to @brock_library
  2. Try to complete tasks on your own.  Use any help you can find on the website or around the library (signage, etc). but the point is to experience the library from the user’s perspective (without interception from a library staff member).
  3. Pay attention to your mood.  Sometimes, even the smallest thing can tip a person over the edge on a bad day.  Take notice if find yourself scratching your head or just plain ol' guessing when navigating spaces (physically or online). 

Suggestions for WLAP Day

Step out of your comfort zone and try something you've never done before. 


  • Use public spaces in the Library during your break times
  • Spend some time in one of the individual study rooms
  • Use the public washrooms
  • Ride the elevator
  • Visit the MDGL or IR


  • Check out a book using the Self-Check Out machine
  • Print using the new Papercut system at public printers
  • Check out a library laptop and use it to complete one of the tasks on this list
  • Print from your personal Laptop/device


  • Find and place a book on hold using SuperSearch
  • Make an interlibrary loan request
  • Navigate the menu options on the Brock University phone directory


  • Instead of using Millennium to look up items, use SuperSearch
  • Use a database you've never used before
    • OVID anyone? Or try finding an Industry Report or a SWOT analysis of a company
  • Try your hand at some statistics gathering
    • Common 1st yr assignments include: Finding a census community profile for St Catharines or finding the average income for people in Ontario, Finding the most common language spoken in Niagara after English
  • Find a historical digital air photo of your neighbourhood
  • Make a map using the the GeoPortal
  • Set up a Zotero/Mendeley/Endnote account
  • Look up a topic of interest in a reference book using the e-reference guide.


  • Instead of using SharePoint to find bookmarked links, use the Library/Brock Website to find information
  • Find a Brock Thesis in the Institutional Repository
  • Ask a question and find an answer in the Library FAQ
  • Take the virtual tour of the library
  • Tweet the library (or set up a Twitter account and start following the Library)
  • Visit the Library Facebook Page
  • Find some primary sources using one of the SPCL digital exhibits.


  • Download an ebook onto your mobile device
  • Visit the Library mobile site (eg. find an article in a database, navigate a Research Guide)

WLAP Day Feedback