How does a library evaluate the services and
resources it provides? Do we look inward? Outward? We must do both.
The former is already underway. A team of library
staff members are collecting data about our current services and
resources as part of a comprehensive self study in preparation for
a WASC external review team visit this fall. Prior to the external
review, Claremont, along with other members of the Oberlin group
consortium, will join the growing number of institutions benefiting
from the implementation of LibQUAL+. Students, faculty, and
staff will have the opportunity to express their expectations and
perceptions about our services and resources via the LibQUAL+
survey. "It [the survey] provides a new method for listening
to and understanding our customers' expectations," said Alberta
Walker, Associate Director of Libraries.
LibQUAL+ is a service quality assessment
tool, developed by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in
conjunction with Texas A & M University, which is helping academic
libraries better understand and measure how their users think about
and evaluate libraries. The survey's priority is to find out whether
libraries meet users' expectations for service. It is founded on
the premise that, if we want to improve libraries, we need to build
upon a framework of users' perspectives.
LibQUAL+ will be administered by sending
emails to a randomly selected list of students, faculty, and staff,
inviting them to take the survey online. Respondents will access
the survey through the Libraries' website. The data collected will
then be compared with findings from other academic libraries, and
may give us ideas for services and resources that are more closely
aligned with user expectations. "The data that we collect from
our users and the knowledge that we acquire from other participating
institutions will provide us with direction for improving existing
services or adding new services," concluded Walker.
Information on the LibQUAL+ project is
available at www.libqual.org.
Pedro Reynoso, Honnold/Mudd