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Assessment at Niagara University Library: Needs Assessment

Needs Assessment

Fall 2016: Goal: Determine the complexity of questions asked in person at the Reference Desk. Methodology: Recorded all the questions asked in person the week of November 8 to November 15.  Results: Only 22 questions were asked, with only 5 reaching the Read Scale level of 3, signifying a higher level of complexity. The findings justify the increased use of student assistants at the desk, freeing librarians for teaching, research appointments, and online support. The need for walk-up availability has diminished in college libraries in general, and this is true for Niagara as well

Spring 2016: Goal: To learn what upperclassmen wish they had known about the library during freshmen year. Methodology: Niagara University Library’s User Education department conducted a survey to learn what three things upperclassmen wish they had known about the library during freshmen year. The survey was disseminated to all juniors and seniors via Student Reach email. 175 students responded to this open-ended survey, and the top mentions are listed in the table below. Action: Survey results will be used to design instruction for future NUB library days.


Times Mentioned:

Group Study Rooms


Printing (Regular & Color)


Study Spaces




Research Assistance


24/7 First Floor




Finding Books


Building Layout




Interlibrary Loan


Course Reserve


Spring 2014. Goal: Engage International Students. Methodology: The Library partnered with the International Relations Office to survey International Students about their interest in a Game Night. Seventeen students responded to a web survey. Results: More than 70% of respondents indicated they would “probably” or “definitely” attend. The most popular category was party games where fun was more important than strategy. 64% of respondents suggested that Game Night should be open to all students and not limited to International Students. Thursday and Friday evenings were judged to be the best times to hold Game Night. Caveat: The response rate was lower than we would have liked. Action: The results will inform planning for a Game Night to be held early in the Fall semester.

Fall 2012. Goal: Determine the impact (if any) there is having the a reference librarian stationed at the library’s Circulation Desk as opposed to the Reference Desk location. Methodology: In the Fall 2012 semester from 5pm to 7pm reference librarians staffed the Circulation Desk. During that time frame they were asked to keep track of the number of questions they picked up.  Data was to determine the viability of having the reference librarians working from the Circulation Desk as opposed to the Reference Desk location. Results: Data showed that reference librarians fielded reference questions while working at the Circulation Desk, and in verbal assessments librarians reported they saw more opportunities for reference interactions. Action: Reference librarians will continue to work 5pm to 7pm at the Circulation Desk.