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December 2004 Council on the Libraries minutes

Members Present:Cayelan Carey ’06, Kathryn Cottingham, Rich D’Aveni, Jacques Hebert ’07, Deborah King

Ex Officio Members:Malcolm Brown, Barry Scherr, Teoby Gomez

Invited Guests: John James, Cynthia Pawlek, John Cocklin, Mary LaMarca

1. Welcome; introductions (Kathy Cottingham)

Due to lack of quorum, we will approve the October, November, and December minutes at the 3 February meeting.

2. Schedule for future meetings

CoL meetings for the rest of the year have been scheduled for 12-1:30 pm on the following dates:

Thursday January 6 (cancelled)
Thursday February 3
Thursday March 3
Thursday April 14
Thursday May 12 (tentative)

We are still exploring the possibility of a joint meeting with the Council on Computing this year, and will keep members posted.

3. Discussion of the LibQUAL+ Spring 2004 User Survey Results (Cyndy Pawlek, John Cocklin, and Mary LaMarca)

We spent most of the meeting reviewing the summary document produced by the Dartmouth LibQUAL+ survey team.  LibQUAL+ is a survey designed to assess how well libraries are doing at meeting user expectations, and to provide benchmarks for comparing across institutions. Dartmouth administered the survey to faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students during Spring 2004. All interested CoL members are encouraged to peruse the document.

Overall, the Dartmouth library is doing well when compared against other Association of Research Library survey participants. All Dartmouth respondents rated the library highly on the quality of the staff who is viewed as attentive, responsive, courteous, and knowledgeable. The library also received high ratings for efficient interlibrary loan/document delivery services.

Faculty are fairly happy with library hours, facilities, and equipment and rated the library well on keeping them informed about resources and services. Undergraduates appreciate the library’s equipment, and graduate students rate the library well in teaching information literacy skills.

Where can the library improve? All users have high expectations for the library’s web site. Users want easy access to online information from work and home. The library needs to continue to focus development efforts on improving access to digital resources and service through the Digital Library. In addition, faculty expressed concerns about the library’s print and digital collections: access to journals was singled out as a high concern. Graduate and undergraduate students feel the library is not meeting their expectations for convenient service hours and good study spaces. Staff shared the faculty's concerns about the library’s journal collections.

After working through the document, we discussed ways to convey the survey results to a broader audience. Most members thought that a shorter, 1-2 page distillation of the results would be helpful and should be placed prominently on the library (and perhaps the College) website. Interested folks could then continue to read the full document we worked through during the meeting.

We also discussed methods to follow up on areas of concern identified by the survey. Ideas included:

  • Focus groups to learn more about the specific concerns behind user answers to particular questions. For example, there were a number of non-specific concerns about the library website from a number of different user groups. Also, grad students raised a number of issues about the library as place that are probably worth considering in conjunction with other campus groups, such as the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  • Using Blackboard to conduct more frequent user surveys.
  • Over a longer time frame, working with the Dean of Faculty and other appropriate personnel to include questions about the library as part of the proposed College-wide end-of-term course evaluations.
  • Over a longer time frame, working with the Dean of Faculty and other appropriate personnel to include questions about the library as part of the proposed College-wide end-of-term course evaluations.

4. Meeting adjourned at 1:10 pm.

Council on Libraries
December 2, 2004