Georgia Tech Library and Information Center Posts User Survey Results

Officials at Georgia Tech's Library and Information Center have begun to make changes in their services based in part on a national research and development project conducted earlier this year to define and measure service quality.

Georgia Tech's library was one of 308 to participate in the LibQUAL+ study, which used a survey tool to gauge user perceptions of services and to measure their satisfaction with services and resources so that libraries throughout the country can identify areas for improvement.

In all, 2,100 Georgia Tech students and faculty were invited to participate in the survey. Of those, 463 completed the survey -- a 22 percent response rate. The survey was completely anonymous and, as an incentive, respondents could enter their e-mail addresses into a drawing for one of several prizes.

"We truly appreciate the thoughtful feedback and insight provided by LibQUAL+ Survey participants," Assistant to the Dean of Libraries Kathy Tomajko said.

"In fact, in response to the survey results, the library already has taken steps to address user comments," Dean of Libraries Rich Meyer said.

Among the changes that are planned or have taken place:

* The library's hours were expanded in August. Both East and West buildings are open continuously from noon Sunday until 6 p.m. Fridays nd Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. With the East building open all evening, students have uninterrupted access to collections, study areas and circulation and reserve services.

* Also this past August, the Library and Information Center introduced a new Web interface to facilitate student and faculty use and to improve access to resources and services. A significant change is the implementation of SFX, a utility on the Web site that provides seamless access to full-text resources and dynamic links to fully integrate information resources. Also, a new library catalog interface provides easier access, navigation and increased functionality to the site.

* Eight digital photocopy machines were purchased. They now are located near service points so that staff assistance is readily available.

* By the end of fall, library officials anticipate converting to the BuzzCard debit system for all services.

* Many survey respondents indicated they believe the library is in critical need of renovation. At present, officials estimate the cost of comprehensive remodeling, infrastructure modernization and furniture replacement is about $25 million. For now, incremental improvements are in the works. For example, in the coming year, officials expect to receive funds for restroom refurbishment and expansion of the Library West Commons.

* Survey responses also indicated that the majority of students who come to the Library to study expect all spaces to be free of ringing cell phones and the conversations they carry. Again, in August, the library established a cell phone-free zone throughout both buildings as a response.

* The library plans to double the allocation for popular reading or fiction in the coming budget year.

* Officials consider the transition to electronic full-text of journal and conference literature to be a critical priority. Specific titles and publishers mentioned in the LibQUAL+ comments have been reviewed and are being targeted for electronic access, Tomajko said. In addition, officials are adding electronic access for print journals when available.

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