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Assessment at Niagara University Library: Quality Control

Quality Control

Fall 2016: Reviewed the Interlibrary Loan Code of the United States to determine the degree to which we are operating in compliance. The only principle that stood out was "5.8: Ship material by the fastest method reasonably available to the location specified by the requesting library." We conducted a test and sent a book to a local address via USPS Media Mail. It arrived the next day. More testing needs to be conducted to determine shipping time to other locations in New York State and selected other states. This will be done in Spring 2017.

Spring 2016.  Analyzed transcripts of Library Chat, email and text message interactions. Generally speaking response time was good, though we need to do a better job concluding interactions with a question about whether the patron received everything he or she needed.

2014-15 Academic Year. The transcripts of virtual reference interactions were analyzed. Librarians seemed to provide appropriate responses, but those responses were less detailed and full than previous years. This may be the result of a change in software where the response box for librarians is smaller to type in. And it is partly due to the fact that users can ask questions via text message. In any case, we will focus on how we can improve our interactions, ensure that we are providing our names to users, and provide full answers.

Fall 2014. Survey of ILLIAD Users. Interested in learning more about user preceptions of turn around time, notifications, etc. Survey results looked fine. No red flags. Here are the results: Survey of ILLIAD Users 2014

Fall 2012: Virtual Reference Survey

2010-11 Academic Year. Virtual Reference Service Assessment.  The Head of Public Services analyzed transcripts of the virtual reference interaction between the patrons and reference librarians. 

Total number of VR questions from June 1st 2010 to May 31st 2011 was 455. The breakdown per semester is as follows. Fall 2010: 287 and Spring 2011: 168.  In terms of those questions that were reference questions as opposed to those simply needing information, such as library hours or needing a password, the breakdown is as follows.  Reference questions: 233 – Informational/directional: 222. For Fall 2010 it was Reference: 159 and Informational/directional: 128 and Spring 2011 Reference 74 - Informational/directional 94.

In my daily review of the VR transcripts I looked for the following.

1.Was the patrons query answered satisfactorily?

2. Was their question handled in a professional and respectful manner?

3.Were they referred to another librarian when the situation warranted it?

4. Did they thank/invite the patron to utilize the Virtual Reference service again?

OUTCOMES ACHIEVED (Findings and Conclusions):

As to question one of the 455 questions that were asked the librarians were able to provide appropriate (and detailed) answers/resources to 397 of them.  Of the remaining 58 questions 5 were follow-ups by the Coordinator of Public Services to questions already answered that the Coordinator of Public Services felt needed further clarification.  The remaining 52 were calls that were missed by the librarian on duty and that the Coordinator of Public Services followed up on.

As for question two the librarians greeted each inquiry with a hello and closed their session thanking the patron for using the service. One thing that needs to be improved upon. We need to be more consistent in asking the patrons if there is anything else that they need help with. Too often we focus on the question at hand and when the patrons says that they got what they need the librarians tend to end the session with a thank you.

As to referrals there were three, two that were of a technical nature. One involving renewing books that was sent on to the circulation supervisor and the other involved access to the library’s catalog and was sent to the Head of Technical Services. The third was sent to the Coordinator of Public Services for a review of resources.

As to question four see response to question two.  Though consistent in thanking the patrons for using Virtual Reference we didn’t always invite them to use the service again.

VR saw a modest growth in the number of patrons accessing it and as a whole librarians seemed to more comfortable with using it. This was evidenced by the length of transcripts as well detail of the responses to patron questions/requests. As noted above we need to work on asking patrons if they need anything else. Also we need to work (or review) on utilizing our collection of scripts.