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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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March 10, 2005


Taking a close look at Memorial’s libraries
How do they measure up?

How well are the libraries at Memorial University meeting the needs of faculty, students and staff? Are services provided in a friendly and helpful manner? Are there changes that could be made to improve service delivery? These are just some of the questions that a steering committee hopes to answer when it begins a survey of Memorial’s libraries at the Health Sciences, Marine Institute, St. John’s campus and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. The comprehensive service quality survey created by the Association of Research Libraries is known as LibQUAL and has been used in over 500 libraries worldwide to assess satisfaction with collections, services, access and space. This is the first time for Memorial and committee chair Jan Guise is excited about its potential.

“Our head librarian, Richard Ellis, wanted to do more assessment to see if our libraries are changing with the times and meeting the needs of users,” said Ms. Guise. “Because the survey has been actively used for four years now, we can rate our results against many outstanding university libraries around the world that have also used this survey. It is an excellent benchmarking exercise for us.”

The survey started on March 7 when randomly selected participants were e-mailed an invitation to take part in the Web based survey. The survey itself is made up of 27 multiple choice questions dealing with library services, collections, Web usage and the library environment. Space is also given for comments. Participants are also asked to rate their answers to show how important a particular issue is to them. This will help inform library staff of the minimum requirement, the ideal best possible scenario and where services currently stand.

“We expect the survey will identify areas where we can improve and show us things that are not as important. For example, maybe we don’t have to worry about painting the walls because our users are not concerned with the physical space. Or maybe the physical space is an important issue for users.”

The survey will remain live until April 4, giving participants a month to complete it. The survey takes only 10-15 minutes to fill out and participants are urged to take the time to finish it. All participants who provide an e-mail contact on the survey will be entered into a draw to win one of five iPod minis, to be drawn on the last day of classes, April 8.

Once all of the surveys are done, the Association of Research Libraries in the United States will take the data and start analyzing it. An extensive final report will be forwarded once the analysis has been completed.

“We plan to share the survey results with the university community once they become available. Any changes that we make as a result of the survey will be clearly identified so participants can see the benefit of participating in this important initiative,” added Ms. Guise.