89% of respondents report collections meet research and teaching needs
The Library invited 3,701 faculty, emeriti, postdocs, and other academic appointees to contribute to the Library’s planning process in January 2013 by completing a survey that assessed Library offerings. A total of 645 individuals responded, expressing nuanced opinions, indicating strong support, and identifying areas for improvement in the Library’s collections, current and proposed services, spaces, and interfaces. Many respondents expressed appreciation for the Library’s support of campus researchers, as exemplified in this comment: “I think the library is superb. It is the heart of my life. The responsiveness of the staff is wonderful; I have only gratitude.”
Overall, 89% of respondents indicated that the Library’s print and electronic collections are effective in meeting their research and teaching needs. Respondents value both on-site browsing and remote access to Library resources, and expressed a desire for expanded growth in both print and electronic formats, particularly additional journals and electronic access to those journals. Results demonstrate a growing acceptance of e-books from across the University, though respondents expressed a number of reservations about existing electronic formats, including concerns about preservation, long-term access, and the limitations of the myriad e-book platforms.
In response, the Library has begun to:
- Resolve specific problems in accessing e-resources.
- Review items recommended for digitization to identify priorities for our digitization program.
- Purchase many requested individual titles following review by subject bibliographers.
- Refer requests for additional materials in specific subject areas to bibliographers for their information as they set priorities for future purchasing.
- Appoint a study group to respond to the wide variety of opinions and preferences for print and online resources expressed in survey comments.
Many respondents both used and praised Library services and service providers, particularly Scan and Deliver, UBorrow, the reference desk, and library subject specialists. Respondents expressed appreciation for course reserves while indicating areas for improvement in the delivery of this service. Among potential new services raised for consideration, respondents expressed the strongest interest in tools for citation management and sharing, archiving of digital research, support for understanding copyright issues, and paging and delivery of materials between Library facilities.
In response, the Library has begun to:
- Implement processing efficiencies in the course reserves service, which have already reduced the turnaround time for making course readings available.
- Investigate new scanning equipment (including a public overhead scanner) and new microform equipment, which should be in place on or about August 1, 2014.
- Examine the costs and feasibility of a paging service that would allow users to request material to be pulled and made available for pick up at any of the Library’s circulation desks.
- Expand sections of the Copyright Information Center and develop a copyright workshop.
- Plan for digital repository services in partnership with IT Services and the Research Computing Center.
Spaces and interfaces
Library interfaces, particularly the website and Catalog, are heavily used and greatly appreciated by survey respondents. This is consistent with findings from the 2012 ITHAKA S+R US Faculty Survey, which indicated a growing reliance on library catalogs, particularly in the humanities. Respondents described specific challenges to the use of these interfaces, particularly in Lens, and expressed frustration with the complexity of our research environment. The Library has been planning to address many of these issues with the implementation of a new Catalog based on VuFind, currently scheduled for 2014.
While many respondents made minimal use of Library spaces, most who did agreed that spaces met their needs. Respondents praised the Mansueto Library and the remodeling of the first floor of Regenstein Library while also indicating areas where the Library could make valuable improvements to its spaces.
In response, the Library plans to:
- Launch a new Library Catalog that will replace both the current Catalog and Lens and will include the most frequently used features of both while incorporating requested new functionality.
- Undertake an analysis of our discovery ecosystem with an aim to simplify and rationalize the systems used to access Library resources.
- Upgrade projection equipment in the Library classrooms within the next year.
“I am grateful to the many individuals who expressed the importance of the Library to their work by responding to our survey,” said Director and University Librarian Judith Nadler. “We are taking steps to further enhance our offerings in response to these survey results and will continue to reflect on the valuable comments from our faculty and researchers and to use them in our decision making as we move forward.”
Full results of the 2013 faculty survey are available on the Library website.