SPEC Kit 330: Library Contribution to Accreditation · 105
Brigham Young University
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Library and Information Resources 5
undergraduate students are engaged with faculty in research at levels comparable to graduate
programs at other institutions, the libraries’ collections support this unusual paradigm. The
strength of the libraries’ collections is an outgrowth of the emphasis the church has always
placed on education and lifelong learning as evidenced from this quote from the university’s
namesake, Brigham Young:
It is the business of the Elders of this church ...to gather up all the truths of the world
pertaining ...to mechanism[s] of every kind, to the sciences, and to philosophy,
wherever [they] may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, and bring it
to Zion. Every accomplishment ...every useful attainment ...in all science and art
belong to the Saints.
The strength of BYU’s library collections can be assessed in terms of both quantitative
measures and data on student and faculty satisfaction with holdings. The best quantitative
measures are comparative and come from the ARL annual statistical report, which shows that
BYU libraries rank among the top 50 research libraries in North America in most categories
of collection data (table 5.3). Rankings are in line with BYU’s strong focus on undergraduate
programs and quality teaching. The high ranking of audio recordings reflects the strength of
BYU’s School of Music and an equally strong music library. The library’s photograph collection
was acquired through donation of several significant historical collections. As might be expected
from the libraries’ relatively low ranking in journals, faculty in some disciplines find the journal
collection to be insufficient for supporting their teaching and research. The Lee Library has
designated an additional 2 percent of the collection budget to modestly expand journal and
electronic database collections in response to faculty and student requests and based on
documented usage data. Future plans to implement processes to more carefully analyze
collections in light of university programs, to track journal needs, and to involve faculty more
deeply in reviewing collections will address any gaps that become evident.
The Lee Library considers the responses of its own students and faculty regarding
collection quality to be even more important than data from national rankings. Results from the
2004 LibQUAL+ survey, as reflected in figure 5.2, indicate that in the area of Information
Control (amount, variety, and ability to access materials), the Lee and Hunter Libraries exceed
minimum expectations of students and faculty but fall somewhat short of their desired level.
LibQUAL+ data suggest that the libraries must place greater emphasis on assessing
where collections fail to meet the needs of faculty and students. Subject librarians will be asked
to conduct more frequent collection assessments. They will also be asked to increase outreach
efforts to their constituent faculty. A newly organized communications team will assist subject
librarians by preparing promotional materials that can be distributed directly to faculty and
students, highlighting current library resources, how to use research tools more effectively, and
how to communicate with the library to request improved collections.
In 2000 the Lee Library began to collect data reflecting the use of all print journals (RE
5.3). Subscription rates and usage data are factored together to generate cost-per-use data that
inform decisions regarding retention or cancellation of journal subscriptions. Although faculty
have been peripherally involved in this decision process, future workflows will include them
more deeply. Usage of electronic journals is more difficult to monitor but is an area where the
libraries plan to refine methodologies for future data collection.
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