Survey: Library offers above-average service

Ryan Stainbrook

Library scores a 7.44 rating overall

With his ear buds in and books out, Cameron Thorp, a sophomore art education major, is studying away in the University Library. Thorp is not the only one who chooses the library as his place to study.

“I commute, so it’s nice to come here during my longer breaks,” said Thorp. “It’s always nice and quiet here, so I get more work done, and I really like how it’s open late during finals week.”

The results from a Spring 2009 survey on the quality of service of the library shows that despite being short staffed, the library continues to provide great service.

The LibQUAL+ survey is a nationally recognized measure of service provided to users of the library. The Kent campus surveyed 357 respondents, comprised of 124 undergraduates, 70 graduate students and 163 faculty members.

“We were really pleased with the results,” said Barbara Schloman, associate dean of Libraries and Media Services. Some of the issues the survey brought to attention were navigation of the library Web site and the overall appearance of the library.

“The issues that did surface through the survey, we know we need to improve,” Schloman said.

The LibQUAL+ measures satisfaction on a nine point scale. The library scored a 7.44, which isn’t as high as desired, but is still well above average.

Schloman said to improve service the library is attempting to make its Web site more user-friendly. She added that she and the staff “are real interested in how material is viewed” on the Web. One of the main goals is to use Web 2.0 features, which will make the Web site more interactive.

While the survey showed that the library provides above average service, it also showed that the number of students who use non-library sources (e.g., Google) has risen to nearly 80 percent.

Schloman believes these sources have value, but libraries services can save students time and provide higher quality information.

“It (non-library sources) has replaced a lot of our every day ways of finding information,” said Schloman. “There’s good content there, but students that are doing academic work need to use our resources, otherwise they’re short-changing themselves.”

The library scored the highest in the category of user service with a score of 8.1.

Adam Schulte, a sophomore biotechnology and mathematics major, works at the library as a math tutor. Schulte thinks students choose the library because of its naturally quiet atmosphere.

“Its naturally quiet so it helps people concentrate,” Schulte said. “Especially compared to the Student Center where distractions are going on.”

Much like Thorp, Schulte believes that the extra hours during finals week are great for helping students.

“Finals week is the craziest week of the year,” Schulte said. “Its not uncommon to see all the tutoring tables full.”

The high service ratings are something that Schloman and the rest of the staff are proud of.

“Libraries are one of the most service-oriented fields,” Schloman added. “And I know our staff is willing to go the extra mile.”

Contact library and information reporter Ryan Stainbrook at [email protected].