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Festive Feedback - An Unexpected Tale

by Anna-Lena Kleinert on 2022-01-21T15:51:41+00:00 | 0 Comments
Festive Feedback tree with wishing tags at Franklin Wilkins LibraryFestive Feedback tree with wishing tags at Franklin Wilkins Library

In December 2021, as in previous years, we invited library users to give us “Festive Feedback”. This usually involves laying out sparkly gift tags and pens on a table beside the Christmas trees in our five busiest libraries, with nearby posters urging library users to tell us what they think of our services and spaces. This year, we tried something new, by offering users colour-coded tags, encouraging them to feed back on the topics that interested us most: Red tags for feeding back about getting help in the library, silver tags for feedback about library collections, and gold tags for any other library feedback.

What happened next was very different to what we had envisaged: More and more tags appeared in a variety of languages and scripts, some with English words mixed in. And while we had tags in other languages in previous years, too, this year the trees were positively decked with messages reflecting our international community. 

“I hope KCL’s year can go well. I hope family, far away, remain healthy and at peace. Hoping that the epidemic will improve in the new year!”

Once we started translating the texts (with the help of linguistically talented colleagues as well as Google Translate), it became clear very quickly that the vast majority of non-English comments were not feedback on our services, but good wishes and aspirations – for the library user themselves, but also for their friends, families and the entire world.

This may not have been the insight about our service we were looking for, but it was wonderful nonetheless – a good-natured “hack” of our spaces which may be linked to wishing tree traditions in other parts of the world. It may also indicate that for lots of students, the library is a space of safety and connection. We would like to welcome these “wishing tags” on our trees again next year, and will consider how best to go about that while still encouraging the feedback we need.

“School is going well. A new year; peace and happiness 😊 “

In another blog post we will of course share with you the service-related comments we received from library users via our Festive Feedback trees, and how it will feed into improvements over the coming months. But for now, we would like to share some of these good wishes with you, because the hope and kindness expressed in them lifted our spirits at this grey time of year. Enjoy!

Eve, Anna and Alan L&C Service Development Team


“For this Christmas I wish for a happy year ahead surrounded by my friends and family. I hope to make the most of my time in London and appreciate every minute I have with those I love the most. I also wish for courage to start fresh after my time in London. To adapt to a new city and make new memories while always fondly remembering my memories from here (not necessarily all the time spent here in the library though.) Merry Christmas everyone.”
“I hope 2022 can shape the person I want to be. Optimistic, excellent, motivated”
“See my fam + friends soon + get a first <3 :) + not spend xmas alone lol :)”
“In the new year, I want my family and friends around me to be happy. I want to be healthy. I want my studies and life to go smoothly. Best wishes!”
“I wish for everyone's happiness!”
“Believe in yourself and your path, you are invincible! Let everything be filled with love and health.”
“God bless me to not be put off the subject”
“Graduate smoothly, return home safely, and gain insight from the world”
“Find a job in the same city as soon as possible and graduate smoothly! May we all live the life we want next year :)”
“May what I love love me all the more. My depression getting better.”
“My wish is that when the epidemic is over I can return to China normally. That my parents are healthy and happy every day. That I will graduate with distinction! I am working hard for a job I like that is satisfying. Santa Claus is working hard!!”
“Happy New Year! Thank you for all your support!”
“Happiness, blessings and joy for all my friends and family. Success in everything I do. Uni. Merry Christmas even though am Muslim x”
“Next year, please make it a "Wishing tree" & put multiple languages on the posters to encourage people to carry out their traditions from home whilst at University.  Thank you all so much.  Merry Christmas”

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