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Mace and Crown | May 22, 2018

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Perry Library Looks to Improve After Survey

Perry Library Looks to Improve After Survey
Jonah Grinkewitz
Staff Writer

The results are in for the survey conducted by ODU’s Perry Library assessing how students, faculty and staff rate their services. It focused on three areas: the quality of the library as a space, the effectiveness of service, and information control.

Perry Library

University librarian George Fowler presents the survey results to members of the ODU community. Photo by Jonah Grinkewitz.

The library may be the most important building and tool for many on campus, and library staff hope to use the data from the survey to improve its facilities. A discussion of the survey results took place on Feb. 1 in the Perry Library.

“We wanted to know, are the libraries doing what they should, and are they doing it well?” said George Fowler, University Librarian.

The survey was carried out by a volunteer task force of library staff headed by Megan Smith.

“In general, the survey revealed that undergraduate students care most about space in the library, specifically more quiet study space,” Smith said at the survey discussion.

Perry Library

Members of the ODU community in a filled room at the Perry Library. Photo by Jonah Grinkewitz.

The survey consisted of 22 questions and a comment box, and overall 827 valid survey responses were collected. This consisted of 508 undergraduate, 179 graduate, 93 faculty, and 47 staff responses. For faculty and staff, the biggest concern was not having enough resources and not being able to print for free. They also commented on wanting to improve the look of each floor and make areas more inviting.

In the comments section of the survey many students had positives to say about the learning commons, but complained that people were still talking on the fourth floor and that once the upper floors closed at night they had trouble finding a quiet place to work and study.

Survey results also revealed that students wanted the library website to be improved and that they were least interested in individual attention from library staff.

“Perhaps students need to be educated more on what a library can do for them, with regards to information literacy and resources,” said Gail Dickinson, the associate dean of education.

Overall, the library staff felt that the survey yielded helpful results that they want to use for improvement in a master space plan for the library.

“Now that we have the data we are going to use that to inform the decisions that we make,” Fowler said. “We need more quiet study space. We need more group study space. We may need more space for faculty to engage with us and interact with our partners to bring them in.”

Fowler said that the library wants to use this survey again in the future, but added, “It’s not teaching to a test. This is what our users are telling us and we want to respond to it.”