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LibQual+: A Library User Perception Study

Bonna Boettcher, Head of Special Collections

BGSU and more than 160 institutions nationwide recently participated in the LibQual+ study, a joint project of Texas A & M University (TAMU) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Funded by a three-year research and development grant from the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE), researchers are refining a tool to measure users’ perceptions of library services. The tool is based on the ServQual total market survey instrument, developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry. Employing the “gap” model, the survey requires participants to identify for a series of statements their minimum acceptable level of service, desired level of service, and the level their perception of the current level of service.

During March and April 2002, University Libraries LibQual+ committee members administered the survey. 523 BGSU undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff completed the survey, generating 507 usable responses. We received summary reports of the results in early July and the complete data set in early August. We extend our thanks to all BGSU community members who participated in the survey. ARL staff conducted a drawing for our local incentives-four $25.00 gift certificates from the BGSU bookstore-and the prizes were mailed to the winners early in June. Members of BGSU’s LibQual+ task force have been reviewing and analyzing the results in an effort to respond to our users’ concerns.

Major dimensions tested in the survey include Access to Information (collections and access to the collections), Affect of Service (interactions with staff and quality of those interactions), Library as Place (the physical library), and Personal Control (how much can users manage on their own, whether onsite or remotely). Generally, users’ perceptions were positive. From the responses received, it is clear that users’ experiences with library staff and many library services surpass levels identified as minimally acceptable. It is also clear, however, that we have room for improvement.

Graduate students and some faculty indicated they would like longer library hours on Fridays and Saturdays. In response to this desire, the library remained open later on Fridays and Saturdays beginning with the Fall 2002 semester. It is also clear that the physical facility needs to be improved. Although the kind of renovations necessary to address user concerns will require significant funding from the university, a committee to begin addressing the future of the building is in place. The most noticeable changes needing to occur are in the area of online and remote services. ILLiad, an online InterLibrary Loan system that allows users to submit ILL requests online and monitor the progress of their requests, is now operational at University Libraries. The software that authenticates users for remote access to research databases has been configured to work with the library patron database, ensuring that any BGSU student, staff, or faculty member with a current patron record can use the databases from off-campus locations. Additionally, online references services hours have been expanded.

From comments included in survey responses, it is clear that we have not marketed our services effectively: some users identified as “desired” services that we already provide. To respond to this and other concerns, task force members will be working with the BGSU Statistical Consulting Center to analyze our full data set. In-depth analysis will enable us to determine whether specific disciplines or user groups have concerns that should be addressed. We plan to talk with selected groups of users as we work with the data. We also plan to administer the survey again in Spring 2003. Additional initiatives to enhance “personal control” are in planning stages: watch for announcements!

Serials Management Project 2002-2003

Linda Brown, Collection Development Coordinator

This year the decreasing support from the State of Ohio had its effect on the library. A 3% reduction in the library materials’ budget coupled with soaring journal subscription costs at an annual rate of 8% to 10% resulted in pro-active steps to help us stretch our subscription dollars over as many journals as possible.

As a first step, we believed it was prudent to cancel our print subscriptions that duplicate e-journals subscriptions in the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center. In March 2002 we launched the Serials Management Project and we invited all department chairs and library representatives to review the cancellation of duplicate print subscriptions in their fields for five major publishers including Elsevier, Kluwer, Springer, Wiley, and Academic Press.

Overall, we received good cooperation from all departments that resulted in the cancellation of most of the print subscriptions that are duplicated in the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center, effective January 2003. Due to inconsistent electronic content a few titles will be continued in print. We anticipate approximately $97,000+ savings to the library materials budget due to these cancellations. The current list of titles to be cancelled is posted at the Serials Management Website at: http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/infosrv/smp/smp.htm.

As you review these titles, should you notice any that present critical problems with access to journal content, please contact Linda Brown, the Collection Development Coordinator (lbrown@bgnet.bgsu.edu) no later than May 10.

We appreciate your contribution to this process and your concern for the provision of information resources for the university community. Thank you for your ideas and recommendations.

Music Listening Center Dedicated

Bonna Boettcher, Head of Special Collections

In 1998, BGSU Libraries learned of a bequest in excess of $150,000, made to the Libraries from the estate of Frank and Virginia Crawford. Mr. Crawford was a 1930 graduate of BGSU; his wife, Virginia, spent much of her career as a public school librarian. In directing the bequest to the Libraries, the Crawfords were able to honor Mr. Crawford’s alma mater and Mrs. Crawford’s profession. Linda Dobb, then Dean of Libraries and now Executive Vice President of BGSU, decided to use a substantial portion of the bequest for a much-needed renovation of the listening facilities in the Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives.

Established in 1967, the Sound Recordings Archives is an internationally known repository of more than 650,000 popular sound recordings and supporting documentation. In 1979, the Music Library was established, the two collections were merged into a single administrative unit, and expanded listening facilities were constructed. With minor modifications, those facilities were still in place well into the 1990s. Although preliminary plans for the renovation had been in place, a funding source had not been identified. The timing of the Crawford’s bequest was perfect!

The new facilities include twenty-one custom listening carrels, a staff-use control area, and custom software to control all operations. Individuals who request to listen to recordings are assigned a carrel and headphones. Staff retrieve the materials, make the necessary connections via a dedicated workstation, and load them into the appropriate component. Patrons have full volume and balance control, and for those listening to tapes and CDs, full remote capability from the carrels. All playback equipment is studio quality, providing listeners with high-quality sound.

A celebration was held on 1 March, 2002 in the Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives to honor the Crawford’s request and officially name the new listening facility the “Frank and Virginia Crawford Listening Center.”

Libraries and Learning Resources Launch Centennial Campaign “Preserve the Past-Envision the Future” 2002-2009

Lorraine Haricombe, Dean, LLR

This semester the Libraries and Learning Resources launched its Centennial Campaign “Preserve the Past-Envision the Future” 2002-2009. Our goal during the campaign will be twofold. First, we will focus on the spatial and environmental needs for our unique and special collections particularly in the Popular Culture Library, Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives, Curriculum Resource Center, the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, and the Center for Archival Collections. Secondly, our goal is to raise significant funds towards the construction of secure and appropriate storage and exhibit and study areas for these collections.

Our special collections serve the scholarly needs of our faculty and students as well as national and international researchers. The estimated worth of these precious collections is more than 10 million dollars; however, the variations in temperature, humidity, and the lack of fire suppression put them at risk in the Jerome library building. An estimated 15 million dollars is needed to appropriately store, process, and showcase the collections. Your financial contribution to the Libraries’ Centennial Campaign will provide significant support towards this goal.

Your contribution will be recognized on our beautiful new donor gift tree located on the first floor of Jerome library. Financial contributions may be made at anytime during the Libraries’ Centennial Campaign through 2009. More information about opportunities to give to the library can be found on the libraries’ homepage at: http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/giving_lib.html. If you have questions please call the Dean’s office during business hours at (419) 372-2856.

Thank you for support to the Libraries and Learning Resources. Your gift will make a difference!

Electronic Reserves

Colleen Coughlin, Head, Course Reserve

Electronic Reserves (E-Res) at Bowling Green State University is off to a solid and promising start. Following a successful pilot project in fall 2001, the Reserve Units at Jerome Library, Science Library, and Firelands were able to successfully launch electronic reserves throughout the university in spring 2002.

During the fall semester, the Main Reserves unit conducted a pilot project that fulfilled all its objectives with resounding success. The pilot project involved 16 faculty members who represented 24 courses and targeted about 700 students. These faculty and courses represented a wide variety of classroom sizes, the smallest being 3-5 students and the largest being a lecture class of 150. The pilot pool also represented both undergraduate and graduate classes from small discussion and seminar classes to large lecture sections and even two lecture/labs courses. The faculty members helped to test the new E-Res system by submitting approximately 700 documents, consisting of pdf articles, powerpoint presentations, word documents and links to e-books, web sites and Blackboard course pages.

The pilot project ran smoothly with very few reported problems. Faculty and students completed an evaluation of the service that helped to resolve glitches and other problems prior to the launch of E-Res in spring. Faculty and student feedback overwhelmingly reflect a preference for E-Res versus the regular paper-based reserve materials. Of particular note was the faculty perception that students actually read more of the reserve readings, because they were on-line. Students confirmed this faculty perception with 91% of the students reporting that they read the same or even more material for their courses than they would have if they had to use regular paper-based reserve materials.

The pilot project was helpful in identifying a significant problem with file size. We were able to successfully resolve the problem before the campus-wide implementation. The resolution of this problem significantly reduced the download time for our on-campus and our off-campus users of the system.

The launch of E-Res this spring has been very successful. To date, 112 faculty members have submitted 1800 documents for E-Res to support 119 courses, compared to 1500 documents for regular paper-based reserves. Close to 25,000 students have already accessed the E-Res web sites during the semester, showing a much higher use rate than the circulation rate of 12,700 for regular paper-based reserves. For more information about the E-res service please contact Colleen Coughlin at: colleen@bgnet.bgsu.edu or (419) 372-7908.

BGSU Takes the Lead in Statewide Digital Reference Service

Kelly Broughton, Coordinator, Reference Services

Last fall, BGSU librarians Kelly Broughton and Carol Singer, working with OhioLINK staff, earned a Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $64,000 to implement a statewide live, digital, reference service for Ohio’s college students, faculty, and researchers. Like the BGSU Libraries’ “Chat with a Librarian” service, this service, with the click of a button, offers the assistance of a librarian to students who need help searching an OhioLINK database such as Periodical Abstracts. When they connect, they will be greeted by a librarian from an OhioLINK affiliated library who will answer their inquiry.

The statewide pilot project will be beta tested this spring at eight institutions including BGSU, Miami University, NEOUCOM, The Ohio State University, Sinclair Community College, University of Dayton, University of Toledo, and Wittenberg University. The service will be available to all library users associated with these schools and will be staffed by librarians from the eight schools. It is anticipated that the service will go statewide and involve librarians and library users from all of the OhioLINK institutions in fall 2002. This new statewide initiative will benefit BGSU’s Libraries and Learning Resources in two significant ways. First, it will considerably reduce the cost of the software, and second, the demand for digital reference service will be shared by librarians across the state. While digital reference service is not new, OhioLINK will offer the largest cooperative academic reference service of its kind.

BGSU Receives Ohio Board of Regents Grant to Improve Student Learning through Faculty Development

Catherine Cardwell, Coordinator, Library User Education

BGSU faculty Catherine Cardwell (Libraries and Learning Resources) and Dan Madigan (Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology), in collaboration with Kent State University, were awarded $343,000 from the Ohio Board of Regents Technology Initiatives Program recently for their proposal entitled, “Improving Student Learning through faculty Development: A Plan for Information Literacy.”

In an effort to help faculty, administrators and students have an increased understanding of information literacy and its significance, the Libraries and Learning Resources (LLR) and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT) have been collaborating for more than a year to offer extended workshops. Participants learn to distinguish the critical differences between the “free” web and subscription databases, both crucial sources of information for researchers; to create effective online research assignments that engage students in critical thinking; to use effective “search” skills on the web; to improve both personal and student research skills; and to develop strategies to prevent and detect plagiarism. So far, approximately 70 BGSU faculty members have attended the workshops conducted by Dan Madigan, Cathi Cardwell, and Colleen Boff (LLR).

Teachers, administrators and students generally agree that increased access to information through new technologies has enriched our learning and our lives. At the same time, however, this information and access to information has presented a new set of problems. For example, how does a student distinguish reliable information from unreliable information on the web? And, how does a student move beyond surfing the web to becoming information literate? A commonly accepted definition of information literacy is “the ability to articulate an information need, retrieve appropriate information, and use the information effectively and appropriately.”

As part of a project funded through this OBOR Technology Initiatives Grant, participants who have already attended the faculty workshops and those who plan to attend in Fall 2002 will be invited to apply for a $5000 equipment grant that will support the integration of information literacy skills into their courses. For more information please contact Cathi Cardwell at cardcat@bgnet.bgsu.edu or 2-7903.

BGSU Libraries Joins LibQual+ Project to Measure Library Users’ Satisfaction

Bonna Boettcher, Head of Special Collections

The LibQual+ project is a joint effort of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and Texas A & M University (TAMU). Individuals directing the LibQual+ efforts are working to develop an instrument that will measure user satisfaction with library services and collections. They are basing their instrument on the SERVQUAL instrument, a well established and repected total market survey tool developed and tested by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry. The first iteration of the web-based survey was administered to a small group of institutional volunteers in 2000; later that year, ARL and TAMU were awarded a three-year grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to further refine and expand the project.

One of the features of SERVQUAL that has been retained for LibQual+ is the use of the “gap” method for assessing satisfaction. Those completing the survey are asked to supply three responses to each statement: their minimum acceptable level for the specific aspect; their maximum, or ideal, level; and the level they ascribe to BGSU Libraries. The three responses provide a context for interpreting the results.

Along with a number of other OhioLINK libraries and more than 100 libraries nationwide, BGSU Libraries has joined the project in the second year of the three-year grant. With the assistance of the Office of Institutional Research and Information Technology Services, we have distributed the URL for the survey to preselected lists of BGSU community members (undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff). Following brief demographic questions, all participants will respond to twenty-five statements. OhioLINK has been allowed five additional statements to assess satisfaction with OhioLINK services.

Data from the survey, which will be administered locally from 19 March – 10 May, 2002 will be available by the end of the summer, with additional data for OhioLINK libraries available in August. We look forward to receiving this data and responding to our users’ thoughts on the services and collections available at BGSU.

If you would like additional information, please e-mail libqual@bgnet.bgsu.edu or visit http://www.arl.org/libqual/

BGSU Acquires the GARY C. HOPPENSTAND ADVENTURE FICTION COLLECTION

Colleen Warner, Popular Culture Librarian

The Popular Culture Library proudly announces the acquisition of an extraordinary collection of British and American adventure fiction. The Hoppenstand Collection contains nearly one thousand monographs and features rare, first edition classics from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods in England and the early twentieth century in the United States. A few of the preeminent authors and their works include: The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, Dr. Nikola by Guy Boothby, Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood and Beau Geste by P.C. Wren. Intellectually related to the monographs is an extensive set of colorfully illustrated adventure pulp magazines dating from the 1910’s through the 1940’s. The Hoppenstand Collection is one of the largest sets of historical and contemporary adventure fiction ever assembled and placed in an academic institution.

The collection is a gift of noted popular culture scholar, author and BGSU alumnus, Dr. Gary C. Hoppenstand. Currently, Dr. Hoppenstand is Professor and Associate Chairperson in the Department of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. A reception honoring Dr. Hoppenstand for his wonderful gift and support of the Popular Culture Library was held in the William T. Jerome Library on Thursday, April 11, 2002.

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