The Newman Library serves the College as both an academic department that promotes students’ acquisition of information competency skills and an administrative unit that provides services to support teaching, research, independent study, and lifelong learning. Each month the library records over 20,000 on-site visits, 10,000 circulation transactions, and 3.5 million hits to its web site.
The Newman Library utilizes a number of assessment tools to measure effectiveness. These include student surveys, national benchmarks, recognition by the profession, and external reviews. These are described briefly in the sections that follow.
According to the 2004 CUNY Student Experience Survey, Baruch College undergraduates are increasingly satisfied with library facilities and services. Satisfaction levels for every library-related question rose at least five percentage points above the previous survey results. Specifically, 89.3% of the respondents reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with library facilities, while 90.6% reported satisfaction with library hours and 84.9% reported satisfaction with library services. Moreover, for every question the percentage of students who reported being "very satisfied" increased by at least one-half.
Table 17: Level of Library Service Comparison
ZSB PEER A
ZSB PEER B
ZSB PEER C
ZSB PEER D
ZSB PEER E
ZSB ASPIRANT A
ZSB ASPIRANT B
ZSB ASPIRANT C
ZSB ASPIRANT D
ZSB ASPIRANT E
Although we were pleased with the comparative performance results, we also examined our own results to identify those areas that needed improvement. Our analysis of the data from the 2003 LibQUAL+ survey identified three broad categories of user concerns. Each is summarized below with examples of actions taken in response. The user comments and suggestions obtained in the survey were reviewed by a management team, which assigned them to appropriate administrators for action. The impact of our initial steps to address some of these concerns will be assessed using the data from the more recent LibQUAL+ survey that ended on May 6, which yielded 964 responses.
Meetings with student government have resulted in the joint development of policies that allow us to pursue greater enforcement of rules regarding noise and cell phone use. User complaints regarding the physical space are now collected via a page on our web site and immediately forwarded to Campus Facilities. As a result, response time is documented and recurring problems that require further action are identified.
2. Deficiencies in Resources (collections, technology, group study rooms)
Rooms housing photocopiers were consolidated to allow for the creation of additional group study rooms. More computers and printers were acquired through student technology fee funds. The library is developing a proposal to obtain increased endowment for collections as part of the college’s upcoming capital campaign.
3. Staff Responsiveness (slow service, poor attitudes of non-professional staff)
Service desks have been redefined to distribute user demand more equitably across available staff. Some services that required staff assistance may now be accomplished by users independently via the library’s web site. Clerical staff have been assigned to work at the reference desk several hours per week to observe and acquire excellent approaches to customer service.
Recognition from the Profession
The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), an international leader in library technology chose the Newman Library to represent "chat" reference service in its 2003/2004 Annual Report. In addition, on March 9th the library hosted two strategic planning committees from Kean University. The groups consisted of two-dozen faculty, librarians and students who have been charged with developing a strategic plan for the library. Kean had selected the Newman Library as a model.
Professor Stanton Biddle was featured on the website of the Association of College and Research Libraries in the inaugural edition of its profiles of prominent members. The peer-reviewed journal, Library Review published a review article devoted entirely to the work of Professor Gerry Jiao, who pioneered empirical research in the field of library anxiety. The Literati Club, the association for Emerald editors and authors, selected an article by Professor Lisa Ellis as the most outstanding paper in the 2004 volume of Reference Services Review. The article, "Approaches to Teaching through Digital Reference" discusses how librarians may advance a pedagogy based on the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards within the context of a digital reference transaction.
The library continues its practice of conducting external reviews of its divisions and programs. This year we will arrange an assessment of our services to graduate students. The new Graduate Services Librarian will prepare a self-study that will be supplied to a team of external evaluators. Following a site visit, the team will submit a document that summarizes our strengths and weaknesses. The Graduate Services Librarian will be responsible for developing a response to the team’s report and preparing an implementation plan for the recommendations we accept.
Information Studies Minor
The library began offering courses toward a minor in Information Studies in fall 2004. Despite limited awareness of the minor option among advisors and students, the classes were almost fully enrolled. In addition, the library continues to fill 5 sections of its 1000-level credit courses each semester. In fall 2004 the Library’s Freshmen Research Experience reached 79 sections of English 2100 with information competency based class presentations. The instruction program also includes dozens of classes taught as walk-in workshops, course-related instruction modules requested by faculty, and training sessions on the use of the databases in the Subotnick Center.
Conference on Information Literacy
The library was closely involved in planning the very successful conference “Integrating Information Literacy & Communication Skills Across the Curriculum: Learning Goals & Assessment”, which was held on March 11. The event reinforced the association of the college with leadership in information competency based instruction and spotlighted our work for Middle States.
Partnership to Establish Direct Marketing Center
As part of its efforts to develop programs that are closely aligned with the college’s curricula, the library partnered with the Zicklin School of Business to establish the Direct and Interactive Marketing Resource Center in the Newman Library. The consistent success of the students in direct marketing competitions is partially attributable to their proficiency in using professional level data resources gained from training provided by the library’s liaison to the Marketing Department. Thus, the center represents a commitment to promoting students’ acquisition of discipline-level information competency skills.
Exhibition Program Highlights Faculty Research
The library attracts thousands of visitors to its web site each month with online versions of its onsite exhibits. Last year the library decided to focus its exhibit program on the research interests of Baruch faculty in order to promote wider awareness of scholarship at the college and draw library faculty closer to their colleagues in other departments. The program was inaugurated with “Panorama: From 18th Century Spectacle to 21st Century Immersive Media Wonder”, based on the work of Professor Alison Griffiths (Communication Studies). The exhibit opened with a Friends of the Library lecture by Professor Griffiths, “Spectacular Viewing: Medieval Churches, Religious Panoramas, and The Passion of the Spectator”. The next exhibits to be digitized are “Researchers' Raw Materials: Comic Books and Popular Culture in the 1940s”, which showcases the work of Professor Bert Hansen (History). Later this year we will also post an online version of "Il fu Mattia Pascal: Celebrating a Century", which marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Luigi Pirandello's novel Il fu Mattia Pascal (The Late Mattia Pascal). The exhibit, curated by Professor Jana O'Keefe Bazzoni (Communication Studies) on behalf of The Pirandello Society of America includes copies of letters, documents, posters and photographs related to the novel and its film and theatre adaptations, drawn from collections in Rome and Sicily.
Enhancements to Online Services
Interlibrary loan service was improved through the implementation of ILLiad, a system that permits members of the Baruch community to request and receive materials completely online. The request is submitted via a web form to the Baruch interlibrary loan staff, who forwards it to a holding library. The lending institution sends the material (usually a journal article or a book chapter) in digital format to a secure server from which the Baruch requester retrieves it. The system has reduced throughput time and spared requesters the need to input their contact information, since it is now stored as part of their ILLiad account. One faculty member praised ILLiad for allowing him to do his research uninterrupted while traveling outside the United States. At Baruch’s request, CUNY implemented SFX, a “link resolver,” that leads database searchers directly from an entry in an online index to the full text in a separate database. In many cases, this eliminates the need to compare index entries against our list of electronic journals.