By Jody Caldwell, Head of Reference and Research Services

During the spring 2011 semester, the Library Reference and Research Services Department conducted a survey of students and faculty, following up on a similar survey in 2010, asking about general satisfaction, research habits, and use of the Library and its resources. 317 (11.5%) of students and 43 (17%) of faculty responded to the spring survey, down somewhat from 2010. Most reported high satisfaction levels, particularly with staff and service:

  • “Having a librarian that openly emails students offering to meet with them on papers. . . eases the anxiety when [I first start] a paper. . . .”
  •  “The library has been especially helpful to my students doing advanced as well as introductory level research, but the librarian helped them in ways I actually had not imagined: in defining and refining the research topic itself. In this way, she became much more of a co-teacher.”

And students were appreciative of the recent expansion of Library hours during exam periods—“Love the [24/7] hours during finals week. That was a great idea!”

Faculty were somewhat more critical of the collections, but even so, almost 80% professed themselves “satisfied” or “very satisfied,” and many commented that Interlibrary Loan services fill the gaps. Students reported greater  satisfaction with the materials available at Drew, offering comments like “provided much needed books for a research paper,” and “Last week I had a presentation due on a topic I knew nothing about. The Library had enough resources, both physical and online, to complete the project.”

Students continue to use the Library, both physically and virtually. Almost three quarters of CLA student respondents reported coming to the Library at least once a week, and close to half come more frequently. Use of the Library website and electronic resources follows a similar pattern. And when Drew students do research, although they turn most frequently to familiar sources such as Google and Google Scholar, they are also likely to go to Library-provided academic databases and resources. Two-thirds reported “always” or “usually” consulting Library databases.While only half of students who have not had a course-integrated instruction session in Library resources reported using Library databases, the proportion goes up to three-quarters for those students reporting ever having received a class session from a librarian. One student commented, “I enjoy when the Library sends people to the classrooms and shows you actually how to use the different online sources and gives out the business cards just in case. Every time that happens I do really well on my research papers.”

Both faculty and students have high expectations of the Library, indicating its importance in their academic work. We’re excited by the centrality of our contribution, and are committed to meeting the needs of the Drew community.

This article appeared in Visions, the Library Newsletter, Fall 2011.

Posted in Visions