benchmark services and facilities that were not quantifiable was becoming
essential. This article describes the library’s journey in using LibQUAL+®
and LibQUAL+ Lite® as instruments to strengthen the use of data in strategic
decision making for services and programs.
The LibQUAL+® Journey
In 2003 Glasgow University Library became a participant in LibQUAL+® as
part of the Society of College, National, and University Libraries (SCONUL)
consortium and since then we have participated annually, with the exception
of 2007. The results have been published on the library website, presented as
papers to the University’s Library Committee, and used by Customer Services
staff for service assessment and planning each year.
The 2003 LibQUAL+® results revealed that users perceived the provision of
information resources, and access to these resources, to be far from adequate.
This was especially true of postgraduates and staff members who recorded five
and three (respectively) negative Service Adequacy Gap scores (SAGS)3 in the
Information Control dimension (then Access to Information & Personal Control).
Surprisingly, only postgraduates recorded negative SAGS in the Library as Place
dimension. However, the low perception scores indicated that the environment
was not a “quiet haven for study.” The environment was uninspiring,
uncomfortable, uninviting, and lacked sufficient group study facilities. The
comments from the “comments box” mirrored the scores from other core
questions: inadequate e-journal provision, difficulty accessing e-resources, and
difficulty navigating the website. Comments on staff covered both negative and
positive aspects with the comments about the physical environment and
facilities ranging from bad to abysmal. Although the results confirmed what we
already suspected, benchmarking with the consortium and peers revealed that
we were not alone. There were other libraries in the same position.
Library as Place
The University Library decided to focus on improving the Library as Place and
began implementing a number of changes to the physical space of the library. In
2004, the refurbishment program, which had come to a standstill in 2002, was
reinstated beginning with Levels 6 and 7 of the original 1968 building. The
improvement process that the library developed was incremental because of the
limited capital resources available each year. There was initially a concern about
LibQUAL+® and the “Library as Place” at the University of Glasgow
C O N T I N U E D
AUGUST 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC