STAFF RESOURCES

Citizens of the State of New Jersey Focus Groups: Norma Blake, NJ State Librarian and Peggy Caddigan from the State Library

Norma Blake, State Librarian
Peggy Cadigan, Library Development Bureau
September 13, 2004
State Library, Trenton, NJ

Basic Findings & Summary of Meeting

  1. Citizens are not aware of the Rutgers Library Services and their ability to use the library system.
  2. Advocate Stronger Relationship between academic libraries and the State Library.
  3. Make NJ citizens aware of the library services we offer and let them know that they are welcome to use those services.
  4. Awareness of RUL Services is the most important criteria to measure.
  5. Recommend government entities, clubs and state organizations to survey as well as going to the Mall to survey individual citizens.
  6. They felt that all measures that we had developed were valid for what we were doing. The criteria for the State is service and our measures are: perception, collaboration and outreach projects, and use of libraries. They did not feel we needed to add others or even different measures.

(Note: I think, based on this conversation, we might change perception to the wording awareness of library services by citizens - or at least think of it in those terms when creating a survey instrument sjb).

1. Do you have any perceptions or knowledge about how or IF New Jersey citizens use the Rutgers University Library System?

Citizens are not aware of the Rutgers Library Services and their ability to use the library system.

As a Rutgers' alumni, one interviewee believed that the relationship with the library ends when you leave school. She commented that she believes people think they can't borrow books or even use the library once you have graduated. She believes that others believe that as well.

Her perception was that citizens would use their county community colleges because they see that as a local resource, but they do not use a university library. University libraries can be intimidating.

If citizens knew what resources were available to them and knew that they were allowed to use them; they would use university libraries.

There is a statewide need for researchers and entrepreneurs to have access to research and business resources, which is related to the Knowledge Initiative.

There is a feeling of restriction among people about using academic libraries. People do not think they are allowed to use academic libraries.

2. What role do you think the library could play for NJ citizens?

Advocate Stronger Relationship between academic libraries and the State Library.

There was a feeling in general that many state cooperative library initiatives get started at the public library level and then academic libraries tend to get pulled along in to the process. Q&A NJ was cited as an example of this.

They believed that the Rutgers University Library is well perceived and Marianne Gaunt is an asset to the Library system in her statewide efforts, particularly with her VALE associations. With the exception of Marianne, Grace Agnew and Linda Langshied there appears to be little knowledge of other Rutgers Librarians contributing/ participating in library activities at the state level.

They believed that academic libraries need to play a more active role in state library initiatives and cited Q&A NJ as a possible place for us to become more involved.

They also believed that in general (and not just at Rutgers) there needs to be more networking among the state library and academic libraries/librarians in New Jersey.

They also cited P-20 (pre-school to 20 years old) as a potential place for academic libraries to play a stronger role.

3. How can a state university library benefit the state as a whole?

Make NJ citizens aware of the library services we offer and let them know that they are welcome to use those services.

Market Special Collections & University Archives & genealogy Collections.

Market use of the library to NJ citizens.

Advertise library hours to citizens.

Make the public feel they are welcome to use the library.

Put up a web page for NJ citizens - (just as we have for alumni) that can provide information on the resources that are available for the public to use in the libraries, include policies which outline their rights and also any restrictions related to our resources and their use. (A Library Services Page for Citizens of the State of New Jersey).

People want to know rules, hours, library locations, do they need id's to come in.

Have an open house for the public so they know they can use the libraries and are welcome to use our resources.

If you want to encourage use by the public, have business speakers come in and have special presentations to highlight our unique resources.

Let chamber of commerce's and rotaries know that they are indeed welcome to use the library's resources.

Take your act outside of the library

4. Have you encountered any barriers in your relations with RULS?

Not directly asked, although there was the BIG barriers of the perception that they did not know that people could use our libraries.

5. If you were creating measures for evaluating the impact of RULS on NJ citizens, what measures do you think would be important?

Awareness of RULS Services

Need to demonstrate to Legislators that Rutgers Library Resources are and can be useful to them.

6. Of the measures you identified which is the most important?

Awareness

7. Please suggest or identify individuals or groups who can participate in this assessment process. We specifically seek people who are able to evaluate the role that the RULS fulfills for the citizens of the state of New Jersey.

Other issues

They recommended we look at Survey Monkey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/) which is often used by public libraries for web based surveys and analysis.



 
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