18 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
With the influx of new technology comes a rise
in the need for technical support that includes the
maintenance and upkeep of a variety of devices and
platforms. Several libraries seem to be struggling with
defining who provides this support and how. Their
concerns include:
“Difficulty in supporting combination
of university-owned and student-owned
“How to provide technology support and
content/reference support at point of need.”
“Library IT support for tools that often fall
outside the profile of equipment routinely
The public relations activities involved in getting
the word out effectively to influence user buy-in seem
to be challenging for one or more libraries:
“Instructors are not always supportive or
interested in their students using these
“Some faculty and staff (including library
staff) do not understand why the library is
involved in providing these tools to users.”
“Communication between partners is es-
sential and any breakdown can negatively
impact services and user experiences.”
Other challenges mentioned include meeting user
demand, security, developing policy and procedures,
and scheduling. Lack of space, or adequate space at
least, in existing libraries for collaborative tools and
learning is also a concern for some: “It’s hard to carve
out space for group rooms in the current footprint
of our buildings.” Surprisingly, only one respondent
mentioned the issue of copyright and licensing as a
concern. One library aptly pointed out an often over-
looked challenge: personal privacy can sometimes
be compromised when using shared teaching and
learning tools.
Results and documentation from this survey demon-
strate the variety of collaborative equipment, devices,
and systems available or soon to be available to re-
search library users. When considering the provision
of collaborative teaching and learning tools, one must
take into account the institutional mission, policies,
infrastructure, budgetary constraints, staffing, and
user demand and expectations. What should be pur-
chased? How many to purchase? Who can use them?
Where can they use them? When can they use them?
How will they use them? When and how will they
be updated? Who will do the updating? Who will
train the users? Who will train the staff? Institutions
thinking of offering such resources in the future can
perhaps make more informed decisions by assessing
the experiences reported by ARL libraries in this sur-
vey. The study seems to indicate these tools not only
enhance current services at libraries but also improve
the libraries’ image as a dynamic and responsive part-
ner of the research community.
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