Humanities & Sciences Library Committee
4th Floor Conference Room, Cabell Library
April 27, 2012 3:00 to 4:00 pm
Sandra Gramling, Laura McLay (chair), George Munro, Bernardo Piciche, Rebecca Segal, A.J. Shriar, James Terner, Fang-shen Wu, Linda Zyzniewski
Staff: John Ulmschneider, Pam Fraga (recording secretary)
Guests: Mike Rawls (VCU Libraries), Ibironke Lawal (VCU Libraries), John Glover (VCU Libraries)
Dr. McLay thanked everyone for attending, noting that it’s late in the semester and many are involved in exams and attending to theses and dissertations.
Review and approval of agenda
The agenda was approved as presented.
Review and approval of minutes from February 2012
The minutes were approved as presented.
LibQUAL+ results from spring 2011 survey: key findings - online report/PowerPoint
Mr. Ulmschneider added his thanks to those of Dr. McLay to the Committee members for their presence and for their participation over the academic year.
Mr. Ulmschneider reminded the Committee that every two years, VCU Libraries conducts the LibQUAL+ survey to ascertain the level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction among its constituents on three key components: service, facilities/space, and collections. The last survey was done in the spring of 2011 but the results have not yet been shared with the Committee.
Dr. Lawal and Mr. Rawls reported on the results of the survey, describing the mechanisms for collecting data and for determining which population should be included in the survey. The response rate was 21%, which is considered very good. They then showed results for faculty and students in the College.
For undergraduate students in humanities, the highest priority was a user-friendly website, but it was the lowest scoring area for satisfaction. Satisfaction with the employees was high. Students were least happy with library facilities, although even the lowest scores were not in the negative range. Another high priority was a quiet space for individual study.
Graduate students in humanities were not nearly as satisfied with any of the categories, and gave negative scores for journal collections, their highest priority. They were also the least satisfied with the study space, but gave good scores for interaction with employees and for community learning spaces.
Faculty members in humanities gave highest priority to having access to the collection from outside their offices/off-campus, but gave low scores for access. Again, interactions with library employees scored well.
In sciences, undergraduate students assigned highest priority and lowest satisfaction to the question of access, although their scores were not negative. Students were generally satisfied with the space and the print/e-journal collection.
Graduate students in the sciences were not pleased with access and that was their highest priority, too. They did seem to be more satisfied with print collections than humanities graduate students.
Faculty in the sciences gave their highest priority as remote access. They were satisfied with physical space, though not as pleased with the print-e-journals as the graduate students.
Mr. Rawls reviewed the open comments section of the survey, broken down into concerns and compliments, and gave a sampling of each. He noted that as a result of this feedback, a more formal customer service training program has been implemented. Also, a “secret shopper” assessment process might be instituted, though there is some staff resistance to this. He added that most concerns related to the physical space centered on crowded conditions and a desire for 24 hour access (which is now in place).
Dr. Lawal reviewed additions to the collection which have been made as a result of this survey. These include AP Stylebook Online, the Springer eBooks collections and several new items related to cinema. She noted the importance of the data in relation to VCU’s strategic plan Quest for Distinction, since Quest has a sharp focus on research, and also sets the goal of Association of Research Library membership for VCU’s libraries, both of which require excellent collections.
In summation the following points were key:
- Customer experience is a strong positive
- Facilities are popular but need improvement
- Collections need support to meet current needs and ARL goal
The next LibQUAL+ survey will be in the spring of 2013 and Mr. Ulmschneider assured the Committee that the report would be presented in the fall.
Reports and Discussion
Around-the-clock library service: report on first month - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider distributed a handout showing the 2:00am-7:00am gate count as of 4/26/12. He noted that the column which actually best demonstrates the number of people in the building is the exit column, since it shows who actually was in the building and leaving during this time window. The numbers of users is quite strong and exceeds expectations, and the service has been very well received, including the expanded weekend hours.
Library renovations and new library building report
Mr. Ulmschneider reported the following items:
- Collaboration Room at TML has been renovated into a bright and welcoming facility.
- RFP is being issued now for renovations to the 2nd floor of TML; funding is coming from the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences.
- The replacement for the front steps of TML is moving ahead.
- The Office of the Provost has provided funds to replace furniture on the 4th floor of Cabell and to add more outlets for laptops and other devices.
- General Assembly has approved funding for the design phase of a new library building that will adjoin Cabell Library. The RFP for this will be issued early this summer. The VCU Libraries will work closely with its advisory committees in designing the kinds of spaces needed for student and faculty use.
New items available for loan to library users - handout
Mr. Ulmschneider noted the handout listing the many non-book items available for loan from VCU Libraries and how much they are used. These include iPads, Nooks, and Kindles and, as part of the “VCU Goes Green” initiative, bikes. The bikes are available for 24 hours with one renewal and are very popular.
VCU Libraries programs: spring 2012 recap
- Black History Month Lecture, Feb. 22, 7pm – 9pm: Renowned advertising executive Tom Burrell will lecture on his pioneering work in developing positive advertising for the African-American population.
- Southern Film Festival, Feb. 24-25
- March 8: Intersections: Art and Science, exhibit at TML
- March 22: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa
- March 29: The 27th Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture, “Jerusalem: A Tale of Three Cities”
Mr. Ulmschneider reviewed each briefly, noting that this has been a very successful event season with high attendance and strong community support.
Demo and discussion: Slavery and anti-slavery: a transnational archive - online demonstration
Mr. Glover introduced a recently acquired digital collection, Slavery and Anti-slavery. VCU Libraries currently owns the first two sections of this collection and will obtain the last two as soon as they become available. The resource is composed of many types of data from sources not previously available in digital form, such as plantation records, port records, and hand-written accounts. He showed how to search in the collection and how to delve more deeply. These searches and the materials they retrieve previously required that researchers physically visit the archives holding the materials. VCU is the only institution in Virginia providing this resource. The comprehensive VCU Libraries Search tool (Primo) does not yet include this collection in its searches, but it may load this data in the future.
In discussion, the Committee was encouraged to share information about this resource and other holdings of the VCU Libraries with their colleagues. Mr. Ulmschneider noted that staff do everything possible to notify faculty in related fields about the resource, and there are ongoing demonstrations of this and other products. Still, there is no substitute for personal alerts about a resource from a colleague.
Mr. Ulmschneider thanked Dr. McLay for her leadership of this Committee for the academic year and she received a round of applause of appreciation from the Committee. He then noted that this is the last meeting for this year.
The meeting adjourned at 4:10 pm.