We in the Zach S. Henderson Library wish to thank all faculty and students who responded to the LibQUAL+ survey we conducted in February and March of 2010. The following is a two page summary of the findings and what we propose to do in response to your ratings.
LibQUAL+® is a rigorously tested Web-based survey that helps libraries assess and improve library services. Use of LibQUAL+® enables libraries to:
Foster a culture of excellence in providing library service
Better understand user perceptions of library service quality
Collect and interpret library user feedback systematically over time
Benchmark against comparable assessment information from peer institutions
Identify best practices in library service
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) partnered with Texas A&M University Libraries to develop, test, and refine LibQUAL+®. The survey consists of 22 core survey items that measure user perceptions of service quality in three dimensions: Affect of Service, Information Control, and Library as Place. For each item, users indicate their minimum service level and perceived service performance. In the survey analysis, mean scores and standard deviations are provided for users’ minimum, desired, and perceived levels of service quality for each item on the LibQUAL+® survey. The service adequacy gap score is calculated by subtracting the minimum score from the perceived score on any given question, for each user. In general, service adequacy is an indicator of the extent to which users’ minimum expectations are being met. A negative service adequacy gap score indicates that users’ perceived level of service quality is below their minimum level of service quality.
The Zach S. Henderson Library has conducted the LibQUAL+ survey in 2003, 2006, and 2010. In 2003, when the LibQUAL+ survey originally included 25 questions, Henderson Library’s performance exceeded minimum expectations in 67 out of 75 ratings, i.e., faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students each responding to the same 25 questions. The areas in which the Library failed to meet minimal expectations involved faculty and graduate student ratings of the quality of collections, ease of access to electronic information, and the library building as a location conducive to study. By 2006, graduate enrollments had grown and expectations for faculty and graduate scholarship were increasing. Library funding had failed to keep up with these rising expectations, being essentially flat between 2003 and 2006. As a result, while undergraduate expectations were met in all cases, faculty and graduate students gave the Library a failing grade in 24 of 66 ratings. In addition to their concerns about the quality of collections and difficulties accessing electronic information, faculty and graduate students also gave failing grades to the library building, which was not surprising since in 2006 the Library was midway through a major renovation and expansion project during which public seating was at a minimum and construction noise made it unpleasant to study.
Between the 2006 and 2010 LibQUAL+ surveys, the building project was completed and major changes were made to the Library’s collection development policy. In the 2010 survey results, failing ratings were given in half as many areas as in 2006. Faculty minimum expectations were not met in the following areas:
Affect of Service
AS-1 Employees who instill confidence in users
AS-7 Employees who understand the needs of their users
AS-9 Dependability in handling users’ service problems
IC-1 Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office
IC-2 A library Website enabling me to locate information on my own
IC-3 The printed library materials I need for my work
IC-4 The electronic information resources I need
IC-5 Modern equipment that lets me easily access needed information
IC-6 Easy-to-use access tools that allow me to find things on my own
IC-7 Making information easily accessible for independent use
IC-8 Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work
Graduate student minimum expectations were not met in just one area, IC-8.
To address these weak areas, Henderson Library has taken or is taking the following steps:
- Revamping our personnel training procedures.
- Redesigning our Website.
- Adding new high demand electronic full-text scholarly databases, including ProQuest Public Health, Value Line Investment Survey, Wilson OmniFile, Business Full Text, Children’s Core Collection, Education Full Text, General Science Full Text, Humanities Full Text, Reader’s Guide Full Text, and Social Science Full Text, and several Science Direct databases: Environmental, Health Sciences, Mathematics and Psychology. We also enhanced our electronic reference collection with the addition of American History through Literature, Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health, & Medicine, Encyclopedia of Food & Culture, Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender History in America, Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, Encyclopedia of Women & Religion in North America, Gender Issues & Sexuality, Immigration & Multiculturalism, Reference Guide to Short Fiction, Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Encyclopedia of Cancer, Encyclopedia of Ecology, Encyclopedia of Forest Sciences, Encyclopedia of Geology, Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, Encyclopedia of Materials, Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace & Conflict, and Encyclopedia of Public Health.
The addition of these titles was made possible by new library funding from online course tuition and the Student Technology Fee Committee. After several years in which Georgia Southern was funding the Library at approximately $225 per FTE student, the additional funding has raised the level of support to $300 per FTE student. Although we still have far to go to meet the average library funding of our benchmark institutions ($490 per FTE student), this still represents excellent progress during difficult budget times.
W. Bede Mitchell, Ed.D.
Dean and University Librarian
Zach S. Henderson Library