In February and March 2007, the Libraries surveyed the Grinnell College community to find out how well we are serving campus needs. We used a national survey instrument called LibQUAL (http://libqual.org/) which measures the gaps between your minimum expectations for library service at Grinnell College, your desired level of service, and what you perceive the Grinnell College Libraries to offer in three areas:
- Affect of Service: how courteously and responsively library staff serve you
- Collections and Access: how well our collections of books, journals, and databases – and such services as the catalog, the website, and interlibrary services – give you access to the information you need
- Library as Place: how well our physical facilities serve your needs for space and technology
The survey also included an option for making free-text comments on any subject. Altogether, 278 students, faculty, and staff participated in the survey and 114 gave us comments.
|Students||Faculty||Administration and Staff||Librarians and Library Staff||Total|
|Survey||172 =12% of the students||54 =28% of the faculty||29 = 8% of administration and staff||23 = 85% of librarians and library staff||278|
What We Heard
Overall, faculty and students perceive the Libraries to meet minimum expectations in the area of Collections and Access – and this is the area that matters most, as expressed by desired level of service. For faculty, Collections and Access are just at the level of minimum expectation. For students, Collections and Access exceed this level by a small amount.
Expectations for Affect of Service are lower, and we come close to meeting desired level of service in this area (though some of the free-text comments reveal concerns in this area, too).
Students have a similar “desired” level for Library as Place as they do for Affect of Service – and perceive our facilities to fall about midway between “minimum” and “desired” levels. More detailed information on the responses can be found in the links below.
There were several comments that questioned the validity of the survey instrument. We agree that this is not a perfect tool and we do not intend to rely on these results alone to understand student and faculty opinions. We see the results as clues to issues and problems (and strengths!) that we need to learn more about, through focus groups, quick point-of-service surveys, and – most important – ongoing conversation. Meanwhile, the survey gave every student, faculty member, and staff member an opportunity to be heard, and gave us a snapshot view of campus opinion at that time.
We have posted a more detailed summary of the survey results, the free-text comments we heard, and the report prepared by the LibQUAL organization. A note on the comments: we have done everything we can to remove information that might reveal the identity of the writer. The comments have been broken up into topics. Otherwise the wording has not been changed. See the links at the end of this page.
What We Plan to Do in Response
Faculty and students give highest priority in their survey responses to library collections and access to information. We have proposed a significant increase in funding for collections in our FY09 budget request, and we have also proposed to purchase new software to improve turnaround speed for books and articles, and the quality of the articles that you receive through our interlibrary services. We will also undertake an assessment of our collecting patterns, usage patterns, and faculty and student priorities; to be sure that we are making the best use of the resources we have been given. Ongoing conversation with faculty and students is essential for us to remain informed about those priorities, and we have reorganized our liaison program (http://www.lib.grinnell.edu/research/consultinglibs/) and our SEPC to help us do that.
Over the next year, we also plan improvements in our Web site that will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for.
We have already begun to address some of the concerns raised about Burling Library, and have made improvements in lighting, furniture, and technology (see What's New at the Grinnell College Libraries for further information).
Look for additional news on these plans over the next few months. We – the librarians and library staff – are responsible to you, the students, faculty, and staff of Grinnell College. Our job is to make the best use of the resources allocated to the Libraries in support of the learning and teaching mission of the College, and to prepare – as best as we can – for the College’s future needs for information and library services. This will sometimes require difficult choices and complex prioritization. We can serve you best if we know your needs and concerns, through your feedback and conversation. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey.
Rosenthal Librarian of the College
* LibQUAL Survey Results: An Analysis [PDF]]
* LibQUAL Comments:
* LibQUAL Report [PDF]
Tell Us What You Think: http://www.lib.grinnell.edu/feedback.html