For the first time, the Consortium Library is conducting a LibQual survey to learn what students want and expect of library services.
First tested at Texas A&M, LibQUAL is a nationally accredited survey created by the Association of Research Libraries. The survey will include students, faculty and staff at both the UAA and APU campuses. It is designed to be an opportunity for constituents at both universities to state what they think about the library’s services; not only what services they find dissatisfying, but also what they deem good about the services already in place.
Susan Mitchell, head of technical services at the Consortium Library, said she brought the idea of the LibQUAL survey to the table after experiencing success with it at the library at Paul Smith’s College in New York. Mitchell said the library chose LibQUAL because of its specific results.
“We want to know, is what we’re doing right for our population?” Mitchell said.
The survey, which takes approximately 10-15 minutes, is broken down into three categories. Overall it is to assess how adequate the employees are, if the quality of the resources and the library as a place are up to par, and if the Consortium is conducive to academic success.
Stephen Rollins, dean of the Consortium Library, said the survey has been a year in the making. Two separate surveys will be conducted at both the UAA and APU campuses at a cost of $3,000 each.
Rollins said the interesting thing about the survey was not only were the results detailed, they would also allow the library to compare itself to similar libraries at other universities. Rollins said that if enough people participate, the library would be able to effectively make changes for everyone on campus.
Although when asked, most students currently using library services said they were satisfied with the library services but there were a few issues that were commonly addressed.
The issue of hours of operation was a commonly aired grievance. Anchorage has very few quiet places where students can congregate and study in the evenings; most coffee shops and bookstores close relatively early.
UAA journalism major, Lindsay Johnson, 23, said that the Saturday night closing time was problematic for her.
“I feel like the library should be a place you can go on Saturday to do homework,” Johnson said.
Another student, a liberal studies major, Linda Lockwood, 37, said she also had a problem with the early closing time on Saturday.
Lockwood said she has class until 5 p.m. on Saturdays with nowhere to go study, as the Consortium Library closes at 6 p.m.
Other student expressed a concern over the lack of word processing programs downstairs, as well as the high temperature and lack of light of the computer labs.
The survey is completely anonymous, unless the participant is interested in the prizes the library is offering. There will be a random drawing with prizes that include an iTouch iPod shuffle, a semester parking Pass and a REI cross-country ski or snowshoe rental package for two.
Results for the survey will return in December. Student focus groups will then be formed to help the Library Advisory Board effectively interpret data for positive changes. These changes will be implemented by Fall 2009, if not sooner.