SPEC Kit 330: Library Contribution to Accreditation · 131
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institutional Self-Study Prepared for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Chapter 7:
Library and Other Information Resources
Chapter 7: Library and Other Information Resources
Chapter 7 Page 85
Other more routine surveys conducted by the Institutional Research arm of the Provost’s Office confirm
solid satisfaction rates among all key client groups of the Libraries. In 2005, in partnership with the Office
of Institutional Research, the Libraries conducted their own major survey of faculty, undergraduates,
graduate students, and research staff, with the goal of gathering information about the community’s
awareness of, use of, and satisfaction with the Libraries’ services. Three priorities emerged for all library
users: (1) improve access and navigation among and between print and electronic journals, books, and
databases; (2) acquire additional years of electronic back files of heavily used digital information
resources; and (3) develop a more systematic internal communication and marketing program. These
findings contributed to a number of new service initiatives.
Recent improvements to space
Institute funds together with donor-supported investments have produced many improvements in
facilities, including repairs to the Building 14 courtyard, a major project to repoint the Building 10 dome
to protect the Barker Engineering Library, a much-desired 24-hour study room in the Hayden Building,
substantial upgrades to security and the working environment in the Institute Archives, more shelving
capacity in on-campus and near-campus facilities, consolidation of research and systems staff members
into one location, a special-collections exhibition gallery, and a state-of-the-art preservation and
In 2007, the Committee for the Review of Space Planning committed to funding a three-year project to
renovate the Dewey Library for Management and Social Sciences. This important initiative addresses
many outstanding issues for this heavily trafficked facility and for its large, diverse community of users.
Additional renovations at this scale are a high priority, and the Institute is considering its options.
The Libraries’ planning efforts are firmly tied to the Institute’s overall management and planning
structure. The library director is a member of the Academic Council and the Deans Group, as well as a
member of the faculty under the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty, and reports directly to the provost.
The Faculty Committee on the Library System also provides oversight and guidance. In addition, MIT’s
visiting committees review and help shape the Libraries’ activities and plans. Internally, the Libraries’
organization is made up of four directorates: Administrative Services, Information Resources, Public
Services, and Technology Research and Development. The Library Council, chaired by the library
director and composed of the associate directors and department heads, coordinates the work of more than
a dozen functional departments.
The Libraries’ Strategic Plan (libstaff.mit.edu/lc/sp2005.html) guides current efforts. Planning is based on
quantitative and qualitative assessment of existing services and resource provision, as well as methods for
understanding user needs and views. A 2005 user survey referenced above was followed by another
survey in fall 2008 to provide feedback on current services and future directions. In both surveys, 89
percent of respondents in all categories indicated being satisfied or very satisfied overall with the MIT
Libraries, with the number of “very satisfied” respondents rising 4 percent in 2008
The Libraries also invest in understanding user behavior by conducting usability tests of their online
systems and carrying out ethnographic studies to assess user needs.
Crucial to the success of the Libraries is fostering and maintaining key collaborations, both externally and
internally. At the national and international levels, the Libraries are institutional participants in the
Association of Research Libraries, the Coalition for Networked Information, EDUCAUSE, the DSpace
Foundation, the International Federation of Library Associations, the International Association of
Technical University Libraries, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and the Ivy Plus