Services & Policies - Fall 2005

LibQual Gives Users a Voice

The mission of the Weinberg Memorial Library is to provide information, services and programs that meet the current and anticipated educational, research and public service needs of the University and other communities. The Library is committed to supporting a culture of excellence in teaching and learning. The mission is advanced by the following goals.
To realize this mission, we keep abreast of trends in libraries and information science, read professional literature and reviews of publications and products, attend professional conferences and participate in library continuing education. Surveys of seniors and other measures rate the Library highly. To standardize feedback and to obtain comparative data on how well we meet users' needs compared to peers, the Library will administer the Association of Research Libraries LibQual assessment in unison with American Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) to solicit, track, understand and act on users' opinions of service quality. LibQual is described below in the jargon used by the instrument.
LibQual includes 22 core and 5 locally designed questions in three dimensions:

* information control measures users' perceptions on how well they can independently find information

* affect of service measures users perceptions of the helpfulness and competency of library staff and

* library as a place measures users' perception of individual and group space and the inspirational quality of the physical environment.

There are also questions on information literacy, general satisfaction, user demographics and an open ended question that gives users the opportunity to provide feedback on any aspect that they chose.
For each question, a user gives three scores: the minimum level he or she would find acceptable, the desired level of service and the perceived service performance. The resulting data is provided to the library as gap, radar and bar chart scores. Gap scores indicate a "zone of tolerance" measure of the degree between the desired and minimum levels of service. Service superiority is reflected by the perceived service minus the desired service. The radar and bar charts display the data in colors that visually highlight how well users perceive the library in the three dimensions.
Since AJCU institutions will administer LibQual in the same year, the libraries will have a benchmark against which they can measure enhancements to their programs. Libraries may also compare their data to others who have administered the survey.
LibQual is distributes to users electronically. The demographic information in the survey will enable the Weinberg Memorial Library to assess how well it is meeting the needs of students in various majors. We hope for a high return on the survey so that we can accurately assess how well we are meeting the needs or our users.
Bonnie Strohl
Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition