The University of Lethbridge Library is rapidly becoming a victim of its own success – and library staff and administration wouldn't have it any other way.
Since initiating the first LibQual+ Survey in 2005, the library responded with a number of changes that were positively reflected in the subsequent 2008 survey. It's now 2011 and another survey is ready to be undertaken, meaning the review process begins once again. Professional librarian, Leona Jacobs, says it will be enlightening to see if the upward trend they experienced in 2008 will continue.
"With a sample size of two surveys to date, the data says we're doing OK, we're holding in some areas and we're also improving on some things," says Jacobs. "More importantly, we've been able to create an even greater expectation level in many areas. This is a good indicator because it shows we're headed in the right direction but it also puts it on us to rise to the challenge."
The LibQual+ Survey is a web-based questionnaire distributed to faculty members, graduate students and a random sampling of undergraduate students registered in courses at the University of Lethbridge. A tool used worldwide, it is considered a key method in evaluating the perceived quality of library services offered to the University community.
"We try to get to three things from this, the users' minimum expectation of service, their desired level of library service and finally their perceived level of library service," says Jacobs.
In looking back at the data acquired in 2008, users raised their expectation level significantly from 2005, and Jacobs expects the trend to continue when this year's survey is returned. That's just fine with her because it speaks to the library's ability to respond to concerns and take on initiatives that meet its users' needs.
"It's a way of tuning into whether we are meeting the expectations of our users," she says. "It will be interesting to see how we are doing relative to our two previous surveys. I like doing a bit of trend analysis to see how we are tracking."
The survey is comprehensive, asking 22 core questions as well as an additional five questions that the library can localize. How they score is assessed on a scale of 1-9.
Jacobs urges those selected to take part (an invitation will be sent out Feb. 28 and the survey closes Mar. 18) to participate. As with any survey process, the more data acquired, the more accurate the picture is of the library users' overall mood.
One thing they have learned over the past two surveys is how important it is that the library works closely with faculty members.
"It's something that seems obvious but became even more apparent after going through this process, especially in terms of collections," says Jacobs. "We really have to keep faculty engaged on the collection front, and then other doors open for us. Students take their lead from faculty in terms of resources, and if we can work through them, we'll continue to meet the needs of our students."
For more information on the LibQual+ process or to take a look at past survey results and subsequent initiatives, visit the library website at www.uleth.ca/lib/libQUAL/2011
For a look at the February issue of the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.