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Click to edit Master title style Library Service Quality in Academic Libraries: Assessment and Action ALC 2003 Susan Beatty, University of Calgary Pam.

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Presentation on theme: "Click to edit Master title style Library Service Quality in Academic Libraries: Assessment and Action ALC 2003 Susan Beatty, University of Calgary Pam."— Presentation transcript:

1 Click to edit Master title style Library Service Quality in Academic Libraries: Assessment and Action ALC 2003 Susan Beatty, University of Calgary Pam Ryan, University of Alberta

2 Click to edit Master title style Overview l General introduction l Survey specifics l Summary of results l Next steps l Questions

3 Why Assess Service Quality?? l Survival l Accountability l Benchmarking l Improvement l Focus resources

4 “Academic libraries are facing…major threats in the global digital environment and an increasingly competitive environment, and must improve the quality of their services in order to survive” (2001, Rowena Cullen, Library Trends, 49:4)

5 Current Measures l Input and Output l Resources l Local initiatives to gain user feedback

6 ServQual is the Antecedent l Developed for the for-profit sector l 15 years of research and application l Standard measure of service quality

7 Why Measure Quality? l “A measure of library quality based solely on collections has become obsolete.” Nitecki 1996 l “Within a service-quality assessment model only customers judge quality; all other judgements are essentially irrelevant.” Zeithaml, Parasuraman, Berry, 1990

8 How is Quality Measured? l Based on users’ and non-users’ perceptions and expectations l Gap analysis between perceived level of service, and minimum and desired service level

9 What is LibQUAL+? l An ARL New Measures Initiative project l 3 years in test mode, one more remaining l With Texas A & M l Funded through US Dept. of Ed. Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)

10 Total Market Survey l A way of listening to users l Measurement of competitors’ service quality l To allow for benchmarking and identification of best practices

11 LibQUAL+ Goals l Establish a library service quality assessment program at ARL l Develop a web-based tool for assessing library service quality l Develop mechanisms and protocols for evaluating libraries l Identify best practices in providing library service quality

12 Why LibQUAL+? l U of A is a member of ARL, U of C is not l Allows both to see their libraries in relationship to academic libraries across North America over time l Demonstrates a commitment to participate in ARL measures l Complements other local assessments l Quick, easy and inexpensive

13 Benefits of LibQUAL+ l Customer focus l Seen to be listening to all on campus l Identify our strengths and areas for improvement l Help set up benchmarks for performance measures over time l Provides library with basis for systematic feedback l Provides an opportunity to highlight library’s accomplishments to the university

14 LibQUAL+ is…. l A tool for identifying areas for service improvement l A place to start

15 LibQUAL+ is not…. l An answer sheet – further analysis of the data is important l The only assessment tool. Others include: l Focus groups l Surveys l Feedback comments l Quantitative statistics l Interviews

16 The Survey

17 Survey Administration Local: l Campus ethics review l random samples drawn from campus populations l invitation to participate l remote web survey, with option of completing paper survey l Campus communication

18 Survey Administration Texas A&M / ARL: l data collection and storage l data analysis: standard set of data analysis provided for local results, ARL results and Aggregate results l SPSS file of raw data for further analysis

19 LibQUAL Survey Specifics l 164 institutions from across North America participated - including 40 ARL Libraries, OhioLink Consortia and Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) l 4 Canadian institutions: McGill, York, U of A, and U of C l 78,000 respondents

20 Click to edit Master title style LibQUAL+ Spring 2002 Survey Overview: l 25 service quality survey questions l demographic & usage questions l one open comments box

21 Click to edit Master title style LibQUAL+ Spring 2002 Survey 25 Survey Questions in 4 Service Quality Dimensions: l Information Access (5 questions) l Service Affect (9 questions) l Library as Place (5 questions) l Personal Control (6 questions)

22 Click to edit Master title style LibQUAL+ Spring 2002 Survey 4 Service Quality Dimensions: Dimensions developed over the last 3 years: l developed from the results of extensive user group interviews by the research project designers at the institutions that participated in the first two years of the research project l modified with the respondent results of the two surveys rounds in the service areas identified as the most important

23 Click to edit Master title style Service Quality Dimensions Library Service Quality Affect of Service Empathy Responsiveness Assurance Reliability Personal Control Ease of Navigation Convenience Modern Equipment Information AccessLibrary as Place Scope Timeliness Convenience Utilitarian Space Symbol Refuge

24 The Results University of Calgary Experience

25 l Sample l Undergraduate l Graduate l Faculty l Key results and comparisons

26 UofC Sample l All full time-faculty:1400 l Random stratified: l 1200 full-time undergraduates l 800 full-time graduates l Response: 28.6% l Completion: 59.76%

27 Results User Group #% Undergraduate % Graduate % Faculty % Library Staff0 0.00% Staff 40.41% Total Participants %

28 Gap Analysis University of Calgary Undergraduates

29 Gap Analysis U of C Graduate Students

30 Gap Analysis - U of C Faculty

31 Gap Analysis All University of Calgary Responses

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36 Qualitative data: Comments l 486 respondents commented l Wide range of understanding of library services including collections and access l Currently being further analyzed l Positive: staff, extended hours, home access, fines, free ILL l Negative: journal runs, uneven collection, inconsistent service and hours, need to improve environment for quiet research and study

37 Initial Results: No surprises l Meeting or exceeding the expectations of the undergraduate l Concerns over collections and access to collections surface with the graduate students l Faculty have the greatest concern and expectation regarding collections: runs of journal titles, comprehensive collections l Accessibility is a significant issue for the faculty

38 The Results University of Alberta Experience

39 Click to edit Master title style Survey Sample l undergraduate students -1500, graduate students , faculty l both FT & PT included l populations from registrar (students) and HR (faculty) not from group of known library users i.e. library patron database

40 Click to edit Master title style Survey Sample l all library staff were invited to participate and asked to answer in the perspective of their users l Library staff answers were reported separately from the final analysis

41 Click to edit Master title style Response Rate l Told to expect between 10% and 30% response rate with undergraduates lowest and faculty highest l UofA response rate: l UG: 22% l GS: 32% l FAC: 33%

42 Click to edit Master title style Representativeness l As long as not everyone completes the survey, we can not be sure of data that is perfectly representative of our campus populations l We can compare the demographic profiles of our complete populations against the profiles of our survey respondents

43 Click to edit Master title style Representativeness Undergraduate Students

44 Click to edit Master title style Where are we NOT meeting the Minimum Service expected? Undergraduate Students (3): l Convenient business hours l Quiet study space l Making electronic resources accessible from home or office. Graduate Students (1): l Complete runs of journal titles

45 Click to edit Master title style Where are we NOT meeting the Minimum Service expected? Faculty (8): l Complete runs of journal titles l Timely ILL l Convenient business hours l Comprehensive print collections l Making electronic resources accessible from home or office more…...

46 Click to edit Master title style Where are we NOT meeting the Minimum Service expected? Faculty: l A library website enabling me to locate information on my own l Easy-to use access tools that allow me to find things on my own l Convenient access to library collections

47 Click to edit Master title style Where are we NOT meeting the Minimum Service expected? Library Staff (13): l Complete runs of journal titles l Timely document delivery / ILL l Interdisciplinary library needs being addressed l Employees who are consistently courteous l Dependability in handling users’ service complaints l Employees who have the knowledge to answer user questions more....

48 Click to edit Master title style Where are we NOT meeting the Minimum Service expected? Library Staff: l Employees who understand the needs of their users l Space that facilitates quiet study l A comfortable and inviting location l Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office l Modern equipment that lets me easily access the information I need more.….

49 Click to edit Master title style Where are we NOT meeting the Minimum Service expected? Library Staff: l A library website enabling me to locate information on my own l Easy-to use access tools that allow me to find things on my own

50 Click to edit Master title style Where ARE we meeting the Minimum Service expected? With Faculty & Students: l Making information easily accessible for independent use l Interdisciplinary library needs being addressed l Modern equipment that lets me easily access the information I need l ALL but 1 Library as Place question l ALL 9 Affect of Service questions

51 Click to edit Master title style Observations l Each user group has the highest desired service levels with questions of Personal Control or self- sufficiency l Library staff responded that our users have the highest desired service levels with questions of Service Affect or focused on mediation

52 Click to edit Master title style Library Use - Frequency UofA LibQUAL Employee Orientation

53 Click to edit Master title style The Comments l ~ 35% (366 / 988) of the respondents chose to make a submission in the “Please enter any comments about library services” box. l rich data that requires further analysis – helps to provide context for some of the numerical results.

54 Next Steps

55 Next steps - U of C l Develop communication plan to clarify collections advances l Identify questions for finer analysis of data l Develop action plan to address negative gaps integrating these results from information gathered on other recent surveys l Share results and response with community

56 Action update l Communication plan developed and partially implemented Focus on getting the news to faculty about the collection improvement – both monograph and serials Collection improvements described in the Gazette Information update and template for librarians to use in faculty presentations LibQUAL+ results announcement and action plan with links to articles

57 Action update l SPSS analysis: negative gap, by user group, by discipline l Continuous addition of electronic resources e.g. ScienceDirect l Comments sorted by faculty/dept. and sent to liaison librarians, branch heads, service dept. heads as appropriate for further action l Service enhancement to faculty: ACS (Article Copy Service) trial fee-based service to have articles from journals, books, proceedings copied and forwarded to the faculty l Librarian embedded in department (pilot for one year)

58 Click to edit Master title style Next steps - U of A l Letting our users know what we’ve measured, and what we’ve heard, where we’re having success and what needs further analysis for improvement l Addressing areas where our services are below minimum – Projects underway include: Increasing Library Hours & Designating Group & Quiet Study Space in all campus libraries. l Gather more information from our user groups to find out how best to make service improvements

59 Click to edit Master title style Next steps - U of A LibQUAL+ Spring 2003 to gather time-series data, compare / confirm results and measure for improvement in any areas we’ve made and communicated service improvement initiatives.

60 “ I once made a Freudian slip when talking to a student: I said that I would meet him.., but that I had to go to the university first. I was already at the U of C, standing in my dept. But for me the heart of the university, the place we all depend on (or should), is the library. It was easy to make the slip, because I feel in touch with university tradition and purpose most days in the classroom, but always in the library.” Faculty member Favorite comment (UofC):

61 “Thanks for asking.” Graduate Student Favorite comment (UofA):

62 Questions?? For further information contact:


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