A Decade of Assessment
at a Research-Extensive
University Library
Using LibQUAL+®
Colleen Cook, Dean, Texas A&M University Libraries
Michael Maciel, Data Analyst, Texas A&M University Libraries
Introduction1
Sthe
ince 1999, the Texas A&M University Libraries have used the
LibQUAL+® survey to assess programs, collections, and services. As
major partner with ARL in the development of the protocol, the
LibQUAL+® theory of service quality is used as the framework from which to
assess the success of the libraries from three dimensions: affect of service,
information control, and library as place. In an age of accountability for higher
education worldwide, there is a growing need for effective means of
longitudinal assessment useful in local contexts as well as cross-institutional
comparisons for institutions of higher learning and their libraries. Stakeholders,
including students, parents, taxpayers and the public at large all have an interest
in society’s libraries that become more expensive to operate each year,
particularly in contrast to information readily and freely available.
LibQUAL+® History
In 1999 as a part of ARL’s New Measures Initiative, researchers at Texas A&M
University and ARL embarked on a pilot study to reground SERVQUAL, the
premier total market survey for assessing service quality in the commercial
sector, for the research library environment. With funding from a US
Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary
Education (FIPSE) grant, the LibQUAL+® survey instrument was developed and
a program at ARL was inaugurated to run the web-based survey on an annual
basis. From a modest beginning with 13 ARL libraries in 2001, the survey has
RLI 271
4
AUGUST 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC