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A Service Quality Review From a User Perspective

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

Connections is published by The Libraries of The Claremont Colleges and distributed during Fall & Spring semesters.
Edited by
Gale Burrow. Last updated March 21, 2003 by Julie Shen.