2008 Library Assessment Conference. the 2007 LibQUAL Canada Experience. Bench-marking on a national scale. Sam Kalb, Library Assessment & IT Projects Coordinator Queen’s University Library, Kingston, Ontario, Canada Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Challenges & costs to build a better Canadian survey instrument & national support infrastructureWhy not just develop a Canadian survey?
20 Canadian LibQUAL+™ participants to 2006 but never more than 10 in any given year
Est. & funded by Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) in Jan. 2006
Goal: create a larger database of Canadian content that would offer more meaningful benchmarking of services for Canadian academic research libraries
Unique Opportunity: to engage the broader Canadian academic and research library community in developing a national service quality assessment surveyOrigin of the LibQUAL+ Canada Consortium
Largest LibQUAL+™ consortium:46 universities, 7 community colleges and 3 federal government libraries from across Canada
66% of the libraries had never done the survey including some smaller institutions who would not have considered participating on their own
Bilingual Environment: English-language, French-language and bilingual institutions.the 2007 LibQUAL+ Canada Consortium
What factors went into establishing and conducting this large and successful consortial project?
Governance and Support
Project Organization & Management
Active recruitment of participantsBuilding the LibQUAL Canada Consortium
Funding: annual budgets for 2006 &2007
Admin. Support: CARL staffGovernance & Support
Coordination: Dedicated Project Leader working in consultation with participants (official contacts)
Underlying assumption: most members did not have dedicated assessment staff to manage the process successfully on their own
Project management objective: guide consortium members through the planning process, via discrete, manageable sets of actions; each stage with its own timelines and deliverables.Project Organization & Management
Members encouraged to contribute in shaping each phase of the project
Timelines and action items were revised at each stage based on member input.
Highest priority: Every query answered in a timely fashion &, in most cases, exchange shared with the membershipCommunication& Engagement
Building critical mass (invitations to join via national & regional library councils)
Individual invitations to encourage maximum participation by leading Canadian institutions
Rapid response to queries from potential participants, incl. support documentation to help persuade reluctant or wary administratorsActive recruitment of participants
Goal: to provide an easy to use, one-stop resource for member libraries – with material, relevant to Canadian libraries, that could be readily adapted by individual libraries for their use.
Updated “look” throughout the project (from early focus on attracting participants to final focus on the survey results & their analysisWeb Presence
Helped consortium participants to analyze their LibQUAL+™ results effectively
1st Canadian library assessment conference
Provided 1st forum for Canadian librarians engaged/interested in assessment to meet & network
Attempted to encourage libraries to start building a “culture of assessment”LibQUAL & Beyond: a workshopOttawa, Ont. Canada, Oct. 2007
Standard LibQUAL™ consortial notebook, aggregated by user category, library type, and survey language
The Consortial, on behalf of CARL and regional councils in Ontario (OCUL) and Quebec (CREPUQ), contracted with ARL for custom consortial notebooks representing their member libraries
The councils all approved the posting of the aggregate notebooks on the consortial web site.Consortial Deliverables
The Consortium received the complete data set representing the results for all 48,000 consortium respondents
Data set and subsets made available to all consortium participants in spreadsheet or SPSS format (with individual identifiable data, such as the institution name, names of campus libraries, local discipline groups, etc. replaced with masking codes)Data Sets
93.6% of wanted to take the LibQUAL+™ survey again as members of the consortium
80% preferred LibQUAL+™ over developing a home-grown alternative; slight preference among respondents for a more abbreviated LibQUAL+ ™ Lite over the full survey
Members split evenly between 2 & 3 year options for preferred frequency of future consortial surveys
Ratings for consortial support and responsiveness were very highSurvey of Consortium Participants
Demands on staff time to plan the survey & to review, analyze & act on the results – greatest for libraries with fewer staff. Limited data analysis expertise.
Few community college participants in the 2007 survey & widely differing mandates among the Canadian provinces as to clientele served and types of academic and non-academic programs. Need for more web resources aimed at community colleges
Limited benchmarking value for federal government libraries who each have such widely different clientele and mandatesChallenges For Consortium & its Members
Alternative delivery mechanisms
Customizable set of user types linkable to a set of standard user categories (similar to discipline group mapping)
Customizable labels mapped to the same survey concepts for different cultures (e.g. “gender” instead of “sex”)
More effective mapping & management of survey questions in different languagesHow to Improve the Survey for Our Members
Despite the challenges, the 48,000 consortial responses to the 2007 survey have provided a rich, unique resource of assessment data for Canadian academic and research libraries that can only grow more valuable each time the consortium runs the survey.