Impact of Changes in Service
on LibQUAL+® Results
The second key challenge concerned how changes made to library services
might result in a decline in LibQUAL+® scores. The current economic climate has
impacted libraries the world over, with reduced budgets and increasing resource
costs leading to a reduction in resources and services available within academic
libraries. Cranfield University has not been immune to this and there was
concern from the staff about how changes to library services would impact the
LibQUAL+® results. At the “Introduction to LibQUAL+®” workshop held in
London in February 2010, it became clear that the fear was shared across
libraries. In some cases, participants were planning on implementing
LibQUAL+® prior to cancelling resources to minimise the impact on the survey
results. Cranfield did not have this option; opening hours had been reduced
along with front-of-house staffing levels, and resources had been reduced. How
would these changes impact our previously happy, healthy LibQUAL+® scores?
Results
The survey was launched on March 1, 2010, and ran for one month. Immediately
it became obvious that the reduced survey length and personalized e-mails were
improving the response rate. More responses were received in the first day of the
2010 survey than the total number of responses received in 2009. Overall the
number of responses increased by 163%, with the response rate increasing from
8% in 2009 to 21% in 2010. The key change was the increase in responses from
part-time students, which rose by over 500%.
Detailed analysis of the results and longitudinal benchmarking found that
the LibQUAL+® results for 2010 remained at the same high standard set in
pervious years with the overall superiority mean score showing no change
between 2009 and 2010. For all core and local questions the library exceeded
minimum expectations, and overall for the Affect of Service and Library as Place
dimensions it exceeded desired expectations. There was a slight decline in
customer perceptions for some specific questions. However, performance is still
above their minimum expectations and within the “Zone of Tolerance.” The
changes implemented have been acceptable to the customers, recognized by the
academic community as necessary in challenging times. LibQUAL+® has been
vital in assessing the impact of these changes, enabling the library to ensure that
resources and services are still aligned to customer needs.
RLI 271
23
Service Quality Assessment with LibQUAL+® in Challenging Times
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
AUGUST 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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