In a continuous effort to improve library services, Charles W. Chesnutt Library applied for and received a grant from the HBCU Library Alliance to survey students about their perceptions of the library using the LibQUAL+® instrument. While we have always used surveys to determine student’s satisfaction with the library, LibQUAL+® is a comprehensive nationally recognized survey. This survey measures library users’ minimum, perceived and desired levels of service quality across three dimensions: information control, affect of service, and library as place. The official launch of the survey was October 15th thru November 31, 2012. Our team members utilized various strategies to maximize the number of survey responses. Weekly emails were sent to encourage students to take the survey. A uniform resource locator (url) link was placed on the Chesnutt Library’s homepage, and promotional flyers and posters were posted around campus. Informational meetings were held with the Student Government Association President, SGA Academic Affairs Committee, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Dean of Students, Department of Athletics and Greek organizations were contacted to garner their support.
To engage students on a more personal basis and to encourage them to take the survey, laptops were setup at a coffee station in the foyer of the library and in the Rudolph Jones Student Center. (Check out this archived post of students taking the survey.) This strategy turned out to be very successful. The LibQUAL+® Online Management Center monitored and tracked the progress of the survey. Our goal was to get valid responses from 25% (1500) of the student body which was quite a challenge. We also offered students incentives to take the survey which included: (2) IPads with cases, (1) Apple IPod with case, (5) ITunes gift cards, (2) Kindle Fires, (1) DRE Beats headphones (2) $50.00 gift cards, (2) FSU book store gift cards. Prize winners were selected randomly by the LibQUAL+® survey program and some were selected by raffle at events hosted in the Rudolph Jones Student Center. (The names of the prize winners are: Megan Graham, Andrea Johnson, Thomas Pearce, Ashley Johnson, Kia Davis, William Hunt, Williams, Kristana Allen, Mariah Pickett, Dominique Puryear, Janice Jordan, Douglas Ross, Noni Nicholas, Rashin Givens, Trashaun Johnson, Tanaia Williams, Miriam Davis, and Anreka Holden).
The survey was a huge success! We would like to acknowledge and thank those who supported this effort. They included Work-Study Students from the Government Documents Department in the Library, library staff members who provided monetary support for the snacks, Mychele Conway and Andrea Putman who assisted with the events in the student center. Also, we would like to thank the HBCU Library Alliance and the funding organization for this program, the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The survey gave students an opportunity to be heard, (and we heard you!). We have already begun to address some of the concerns raised such as Library hours. Currently, our Director and his leadership team are analyzing the results of the survey, developing recommendations and constructing a plan for implementing them—making evidence based decisions (MEBD).
—Diana Amerson, Librarian