This Spring, Rutgers University Library System is one of 234 libraries internationally participating in the Association of Research Libraries sponsored LibQUAL+™ survey which helps libraries to assess and improve library services, change organizational culture, and market the library services by using a web based survey to , track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of service quality. The survey will begin March 28 and close April 22, 2005.
Our participation in the LibQUAL+™ program is just one piece of the assessment initiative developed by Cabinet and the Library Assessment Committee known as the Academic Excellence Quality Indicators. We will use the results of LibQUAL+™ to identify best practices, analyze deficits, and effectively allocate resources to respond to the changing needs of our users.
LibQUAL+™ will give our users a chance to tell us where our services need improvement so we can respond to and better manage their expectations. We will develop services that better meet our users' expectations by comparing our library's data with that of peer institutions and examining the practices of those libraries that are evaluated highly by their users.
The goals of LibQUAL+™ are to:
The LibQUAL+™ survey has evolved into a protocol consisting of "22 items and a box." The 22 items measure user perceptions of Service Affect, Information Control, and Library as Place. The box secures open-ended comments from users regarding their concerns and suggestions. These comments are an integral part of LibQUAL+™; historically, almost 50 percent of respondents provide comments using the box. See LibQUAL+™ Questions 2005 for this year's questions.
Each question has three parts which asks the respondents to indicate the minimum service level they will accept, the desired service level they expect, and the perceived level of service currently provided.
The average time to take the survey is 13 minutes.
Rutgers is participating in LibQUAL+™ as part of the Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey [VALE]. This will be the first time for academic libraries in New Jersey to participate in LibQUAL+™. One benefit of participating as part of a consortia is the ability to share and compare information about library quality services in New Jersey. Another benefit is the ability to add 5 additional questions which address local concerns.
Other VALE member libraries participating in LibQUAL+™ include: Bergen Community College, Caldwell College, Mercer County Community College, Monmouth University Library, Montclair State University Sprague Library, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Stevens Institute of Technology, The College of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and William Paterson University of New Jersey.
For more information on LibQUAL+™ please see their website http://www.libqual.org/
Susan J. Beck and Gary Golden both from the Paul Robeson Library are coordinating the LibQUAL+™ efforts for Rutgers University Library System.