Current ARL statistics on library staffing and expenditures at AAU public institutions were distributed and reviewed. It became clear that the current level of library staffing and expenditures at Rutgers in comparison with those at other AAU schools is significantly lower. But we need to assess the situation through the use of this type of data over time.
Data from the 1999 user survey by discipline was reviewed. There are proportionately more responses from users in the Sci-Tech areas. Responses with "no-answer" to the field-of-study question were from those students who had not declared their major of study. The percentages in the cross-tabulations for all survey questions show some differences as well as similarity by discipline. In general, it is encouraging to see that most users indicated that they have found IRIS, self-services, and other library services easy to use. We will compare the 1999 responses to those questions that were also included in the previous user survey to see if there have been significant changes in user activities.
A printout of all the items ordered and circulated on IRIS for New Brunswick with the call numbers QP-QR was distributed. The list includes the total number of circulations. It however does not include items that did not circulate. A large number of items in this list have a high level of circulation. These items with higher circulations also seem to cluster in specific call number ranges. After discussion, the committee agreed that there are important measurement questions that should be asked. Printout of this kind should be refined and expanded to include non-circulating items and produced for other subject areas, when and if necessary, to permit more meaningful evaluation.
Those committee members who attended assessment related meetings at ALA in Chicago briefly reported on what they found useful. We need to develop a strong "culture of assessment" in our libraries where everyone cares to know how the results they produce relate to users' expectations. One of the speakers at the ALA meetings pointed out that relevant data and user feedback should be routinely collected, analyzed, and used to set priorities, allocate resources and make decisions. The committee will attempt to make specific suggestions to various areas as we continue our committee work.
The committee will at its next meeting to develop a short questionnaire targeted at those graduate students who have been here for a year but have not yet registered as a library user.
Emily Fabiano is back from her research leave and will rejoin the Assessment Committee.
The next meeting will be held on August 23 at 9:30 AM in the conference room on the 3rd fl. of Alexander Library.