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NW Accreditation Standard Five: Library and Information   Resources

DRAFT - 12/4/02

       

             Part 1: Library and Information Resources

            " I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library ."   Jorge Luis Borges

 

I.   PURPOSE/DESCRIPTION (5.A.1 - 3)   

Overview

The Stewart Library provides a broad range of information resources and services in support of   Weber State University's mission and goals.   Library services are provided at the Stewart Library at the Ogden campus and at the Davis campus in Layton.   The campus library/information commons is a branch of the Stewart Library.   Off-campus access to resources and services is available 24/7 through the library's website http://library.weber.edu   

The collections include print, electronic and audio-visual resources as well as access to an increasingly   large number of electronic databases.   A staff of 47.6 FTEs provides service to the university community.   The library is a member of the Utah Academic Library Consortium and the OCLC/BCR network.   It uses the Horizon integrated library system from epixtech, the 3-M Self-Check System, the Docutek E-reserve system, and the EZProxy system for off-campus access to electronic resources and services.   Use of the library and its resources are open to the public.   Borrowing privileges are available to members of the community through the purchase of   a "Community Borrower's Card."  

Day, evening and weekend hours are maintained to accommodate patron needs at both campuses and electronic access is available 24/7.   The Stewart Library is open approximately 105 hours/week; the WSU Davis Library approximately 75 hours/week. Reduced hours are in effect throughout summer semester and during semester breaks.

The library supports and promotes the American Library Association's Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, Intellectual Freedom Statement, and Electronic Bill of Rights .

Mission and Goals     

The Stewart Library's mission is to advance the instructional, scholarship, and community service mission of Weber State University through the development of on-site collections, access to off-site resources, personalized assistance in the use of library and information resources, and instruction on research strategies and tools.         

In support of WSU's mission to "provide students with high-quality comprehensive programs in professional and liberal arts areas as well as studies in advanced professional fields," the library has adopted the following strategic goals:

- Continue to improve the quality and relevancy of the collection by systematically assessing the information resources needs of the academic community and developing a focused, core collection of print and electronic resources to support instructional and research needs.

- Enhance access to information resources by subscribing to electronic databases and full-text journals and, in consultation with faculty, canceling print subscriptions for titles available full-text online.

- Provide a comprehensive instruction program that includes for credit, online and on demand instruction in order to graduate students with information literacy competencies.

- Augment the library's budget by increasing private donations by approximately 10% annually.    

Resources & Services (5.B.1 - 4)

Based on feedback obtained from biennial surveys and interviews with WSU students and faculty, library resources and services are perceived to be adequate to support the university's curricular offerings.   However, this was not always the case.   The 1994 and 1996 Commission reports stated that there was "dramatic need for a major increase in support for library staff and materials" to meet accreditation standards.   WSU was in full agreement with those reports, and took significant steps to assure that the library was in compliance with NASC standards.   Actions taken included increases in the library budget, in both state and gift funds, improvements in the collection (overall growth, greater use of technology, increased relevancy, increased user satisfaction), and increases in FTE staff.

As a result of those efforts, the Commission's 1999 Regular Interim Report stated that: "Much has been done to improve the Stewart Library since both the 1994 and 1996 visits.   Improvements are clearly evident in three areas, Resources, Staffing (service) and Technology.   Consequently, at this time there does not appear to be any question that the WSU Library meets the Standard IV, Library and Learning Resources."   The "Library Holdings Table" reflects the significant progress made in improving information resources.

Policies and procedures for systematic development and management of information resources in all formats are available on the library's website.

Electronic full-text is now our preferred method of providing journal articles, newspapers, and reference materials to library patrons.   In 1997/98, the Utah Legislature provided $900,000 of ongoing funds to the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) for consortia subscriptions to electronic databases.   This funding provides students and faculty within the Utah system with access to a continually increasing number of electronic full-text titles.   Using a PC with an Internet connection, students and faculty are able to access these resources from anywhere in the world, twenty-four hours a day.   Consortia funding of electronic databases has enabled the Stewart Library to use funds previously spent on database subscriptions to acquire additional electronic and print resources, and to make funds available to new faculty to secure core titles in their areas of interest.

As part of its ongoing transition to a more digitized library, the library will continue to increase its reliance on electronic full-text journals, supplemented by 24-hour document delivery for articles not available otherwise.   It   will also continue to monitor carefully the use of print subscriptions and, in consultation with academic departments, selectively cancel titles that are not heavily used or are available electronically.   Print subscriptions to relevant academic journals that are not yet available electronically will continue to be added as needed.

To ensure that the online and on-site resources added to the collection are relevant to curricular needs, a librarian is assigned to each college.   Subject librarians are responsible for consulting regularly with faculty and students in their assigned subject areas to assess instructional and research needs, and to collaborate with faculty in developing the   collection.   Assessment surveys indicate that as a result of librarian/faculty collaboration, the collection is increasingly more focused and relevant to the curriculum.   

Both the Stewart Library and the new Information Commons area of the Davis Campus provide students and faculty with the full-range of services expected of any academic library, including expert reference service and a bibliographic instruction program that includes for-credit, online and on demand instruction.

The purpose of our instruction program is to provide WSU students with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively identify, find, evaluate and use information for academic success and to support lifelong learning.   Computer and information literacy competency is required of all WSU students.   The information literacy component of this requirement may be met by taking an exam or one of the library's for-credit courses.   In addition to its for-credit courses, the library provides instruction sessions for English 2010 and First Year Experience (FYE) classes, and a continually growing number of course-integrated, subject-specific sessions.   Students in the English 2010 and FYE sessions complete an assignment demonstrating their ability to effectively use library databases and internet resources.

In addition to their collection management/faculty liaison responsibilities, subject librarians provide course integrated instruction to inform students and faculty of library resources available in their areas of interest, which we believe is essential if those resources are to be used.   Academic faculty and librarians collaborate on the information to be covered in these sessions and students demonstrate their ability to use the resources in the research papers required for the course. The library's commitment to subject specific instruction is evidenced by a 124% increase in the number of sessions offered over the past seven years - rising from 71 sessions in 1994/95 to 159 sessions in 2001/02.   An annual growth rate of approximately 10% for the next three to five years is expected.

Utilization of Information Resources and Services  

As indicated in the "Utililization of Resources and Services Table", the library's resources and services are used.
  During the past year, there was a significant increase in the number of visitors to the library's website and in the use of the EReserve System.   The relatively small 1.8% decline in circulation results from a decrease in the use of printed journals, which follows a national trend and confirms that students prefer to use ejournals when given a choice.   Contrary to what other academic libraries in Utah are experiencing, the use of the book collection remained stable rather than declining.   While "user assistance" types of questions answered at the various service desks decreased only slightly, the number of reference/research questions answered showed an overall decline of 20%.   We believe this is attributable   to an easier, more stable method of off-campus access and increased student familiarity with technology.    Interlibrary lending requests from other libraries increased by 14.6%, reflecting the improvements that have been made to the collection and the quality of service provided.  

Facilities and Access (5.C.1 - 5.C.2.)


The facilities at both the Ogden campus and the new Davis campus are pleasant, inviting, and adequate for information resources, equipment, and personnel.   The Stewart Library is centrally located on the Ogden campus within easy walking distance of classrooms and parking lots, and the Information Commons at Davis is a state-of-the-art facility ideally located to serve students and faculty.   Both meet ADA requirements, are adequately wired to support library technology, and are   "wireless" to support the computing needs of students with laptops.   Electronic access to library resources and services is available to WSU students and faculty anytime/anywhere.

Once the renovation of Lampros Hall is completed and some of the (non-library) departments and a student computer lab(has moved to Lampros Hall) now housed in the Stewart Library are relocated, there will be additional growth space for collections and space to add a badly needed third electronic classroom.

Personnel, Management, Planning (5.D.1 - 5.;   5.E.1 - 2.)

From 1995/96 to1999/00, when much of the campus was in retrenchment, budgeted library staff positions increased from 39.2 FTE to 47.6 FTE (21%).   Part of the increase came about with the addition of four staff positions in 1997/98 funded by new E&G funds.   Funds for a fourth position were used to extend contract commitments for existing employees, which increased their FTE.   An internal reorganization, economies of hiring, restructuring of several positions, and extending some nine-month faculty positions to 12-month appointments have all contributed to the increase in FTE.   Additionally, the library employs approximately 21 FTE student assistants.   

To provide the quality and quantity of library services needed to adequately support the information resources and service needs of the university community, our goal is to increase staffing by five positions.

Library faculty and staff are well-trained, have expertise in their areas of responsibility, and are committed to providing quality library services to the WSU community.   All have current and accurate position descriptions in which authority, responsibility, and expectations are clearly delineated. All faculty and staff are reviewed annually and mutually agreed upon goals are set for the following year.   Ongoing training and professional development are essential, and resources are allocated to support the costs associated with improving the knowledge and skills of faculty and staff.

The library is committed to the team concept and is organized into functional areas: (1) Systems & Access Services (Circulation, Interlibrary Loans, Media/Reserve, Library Systems), (2) Bibliographic Services (Acquisitions, Cataloging, Serials, Binding), (3) Collection Management/faculty liaison, (4) Library Instruction, (5) Reference & Information Services, (6) Archives & Special Collections.   The Davis campus branch library reports to the Head of Reference & Information Services.   Strategic plans for the various areas and teams are available in the NASC Team Room and on the library's website.

Library faculty serve on the WSU Faculty Senate and on university committees.   The most relevant committees include: Academic Resources and Computing; Curriculum and General Education; Teaching, Learning, and Assessment; Research, Scholarship, and Professional Growth; Salary, Benefits, Budget, and Fiscal Planning.   Faculty (and some staff) are members of the Utah Library Association, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the American Society of Information Science & Technology, and the Special Libraries Association. Faculty also serve on a number of Utah Academic Library Consortium committees.   

As a unit within the Academic Affairs Division, reporting to the Provost, the library is fully involved in institutional planning.   The University Librarian sits on the Deans Council and is a member of a number of university committees.   Subject librarians regularly communicate with faculty and students in the departments for which they have collection management/faculty liaison responsibilities, and serve as an advocate for the information resource needs of   those colleges/departments within the library.  

Since 1996, the institutional curricular planning process has included mandatory consultation with the library.   Subject librarians review all new course/program proposals in their subject areas to assess the adequacy of educational resources to support the new course/program prior to its approval by the Curriculum and General Education Committee.   On those very rare occasions when resources are determined to be inadequate, funds are allocated to acquire the needed resources prior to the time the new course is taught.

 

Excellent working relationships exist between the library and other departments on campus.   As information resources are increasingly web-based, the library works especially closely with departments located in the Information Technology Division and relies heavily on the strong support it receives from Computing Support Services, Systems and Networking, and Telecommunications.    

Library Budget   (5.D.6)

The library receives operating funds from three sources:

  1. Education & General (E&G) monies allocated to WSU, both ongoing and one-time
  2. State monies allocated to the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC)
  3. Gifts
 

As illustrated in the "Library Budget Table", the total library budget from all three sources has increased substantially, rising from $2,296,224 in 1994/95 to $3,947,935 in 2001/02, an overall increase of 72%. These increases in E&G, UALC, and gift funds have enabled the library to make significant progress in improving its collection of information resources.

With the exception of funds to acquire additional staff, the library's overall budget (E&G, UALC funding, and gifts) is minimally adequate to meet basic operational needs.   This assessment of adequacy is based on the assumption that if information resources and facilities are perceived to be adequate, as is indicated in our various assessment surveys,   then the budget providing them must also be adequate.

Assessment of Resources and Services (5.E.3.)

Assessing the quality of our resources and services and making improvements based on the information received from our assessment efforts is an ongoing priority.   The data cited below reflect, from a user's perspective, recent efforts to enhance library services and improve the collection and make it more relevant to the curriculum.

- From 1996 - 2000 WSU annually administered the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) to approximately 1,000 students ( http://weber.edu/ir/surveys.htm)   The SSI includes two statements which are relevant to the library: "library staff are helpful and approachable", and "library resources and services are adequate".   Based on a Likert-scale, four-year trend data indicate WSU students' satisfaction levels with library staff, resources and services have increased.   The SSI will next be administered by WSU in 2003.
- Results from interviews conducted in 1998/99 and again in 2001/02 with over 200 students who were using the library indicated strong satisfaction with library resources and services.   Approximately 90% of the students interviewed in 1998/99 and over 93% of those interviewed in 2001/02 said they were satisfied with both the assistance they received and the resources available to them.
- Biennial surveys are conducted to assess student satisfaction with the services provided in the public service areas of the library.   The results of these surveys indicate an overall high level of student satisfaction with the services provided.   Over 95% of the respondents in 2002 indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of service provided in the various Access Services areas.   Student satisfaction with Reference & Information Services was similarly high.   Over 94% of the respondents indicated overall satisfaction with the assistance provided by reference staff; 89% were satisfied with the electronic resources; and 88% expressed overall satisfaction with the library's website.  
- Faculty satisfaction with library resources and services is assessed biennially also.   Consistent with the student feedback cited above, the results of our faculty surveys indicate strong faculty satisfaction overall with library resources to support their teaching and student assignments, and with the general knowledge, efficiency, and helpfulness of library staff.   On a one to five satisfaction scale, nearly two-thirds of the faculty respondents in 1998/99 and over 80% of the respondents in 2001/02 indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with library resources, and 95% (1998/99) and   97% (2001/02) indicated similar levels of satisfaction with the library staff.   
- Student evaluations are collected for all library courses, for the sessions   provided for English 2010 and FYE classes, and for a representative number of subject-specific sessions.   During the past year, 96% of students surveyed subsequent to course-integrated instruction sessions in English composition and First Year Experience courses indicated satisfaction with the instruction provided by library faculty and staff.  
- The library routinely uses student and faculty focus groups to assess and help improve specific services.   A recent example is usability testing of our website.   Focus groups provided important input on what they didn't like about our old site and that information was used in developing the new site.   Focus group testing of the new site resulted in additional improvements that made the site more intuitive, user friendly, and graphically pleasing.

  

II. SIGNIFICANT CHANGES SINCE 1994

Although our mission has not changed since 1994, we have made a number of important changes - some in response to recommendations contained in NASC accreditation reports and thers as a result of our various assessment activities.   Significant changes include:

- Improvements made to the on-site and online collections (see Table).
- Our instruction program was redesigned to meet information literacy standards established by the Association of College and Research Libraries. The newly designed program was acknowledged nationally in 2002 when it was selected by ACRL as one of the top ten programs that model best practices in information literacy programming for undergraduates.
- A full-range of library services are now available at the Davis Campus Information Commons.
- Because of the growing importance of web-based resources, the library's website was redesigned and professionalized and ongoing usability studies were instituted.

- Off-campus access to electronic resources was significantly improved and simplified with the installation of    EZProxy software.

- An electronic reserve system (Ereserve) was implemented,   which allows students to have 24/7 access to materials placed on reserve by their professors.   The use of the system has more than tripled in the last year.
- A document delivery service now delivers library owned and interlibrary loan materials to faculty and staff on campus and at WSU Davis.
- More than 65 additional PC's have been placed in the public areas of the library to better meet the computing needs of students.   The library will be completely   "wireless" by the end of   the 2002/03 academic year.
- Library hours have been increased to 105 hours per week during regular semesters, which is comparable to those at the University of Utah, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University libraries.
- The Friends of the Stewart Library organization was established and has grown to approximately 450 dues-paying members.  

III. STRENGTHS and CHALLENGES

Strengths:

- The library faculty and staff - they are well-trained, knowledgeable in their areas of expertise, dedicated, and give high-quality service to students, faculty, and the community.
- The improvements that have been made to the online and on-site collections.

- The progress we have made in becoming a much more digitized library and in making our e-resources more easily accessible.   As stated in the 1999 NASC Regular Interim Report, " In the area of technology, [the Stewart Library] is no longer behind, but is most likely among the top 20% of electronically connected academic libraries in its class (i.e. comprehensive four year colleges and universities)."

- Utah Academic Library Consortium funding and consortia e-resources.

-The information literacy focus of our instruction program.  

- A systematic assessment process that informs our efforts to improve services and enhance   resources.
- The availability of comparative data reflecting, from a user's perspective, a high level of satisfaction with library resources and services.
- Strong donor support from the Stewart Education Foundation and others.

Challenges:

- Too few positions.   We're struggling to maintain our current level of service at the Stewart Library and   concerned about meeting the demand for services at the Davis campus.   WSU's information literacy requirement has significantly increased the demand for library classes - a demand we cannot meet without additional positions.  

- The ongoing need to increase private funding in order to off-set anticipated decreases in E&G funds.  
- The cost of maintaining and enhancing library technology.
- Addressing the changing library reference service needs of students and faculty.
- Incorporating information literacy concepts into more upper-division courses.
- Improving assessment procedures in the non-public service areas of the library.
- The deteriorating infrastructure of the Stewart Library building - wiring, elevators, ceiling tiles, plumbing, etc.

 

IV. NEXT STEPS/ACTION ITEMS

- The library will continue to seek E&G funding for five additional positions.   In the meantime, income from the Stewart Endowment will continue to be used to fund two staff positions at the   Davis campus.   We will also continue to explore all viable options for shifting staff from static growth areas to growth areas such as instruction, collection management/faculty liaison, interlibrary loans, and media/reserve.
- There is growing recognition that state funds will never be sufficient to adequately support the university or the library.   To continue to provide the information resources and services needed to support the university's mission, the library must increase its fund raising and grant writing efforts.   A first step in this process is   re-focusing   the Public Outreach Coordinator's position on grant writing and recruiting additional members to the Friends of the Library organization.   Additionally, beginning in 2003/04,   the University Librarian and the Curator of Special Collections will scale back their various committee assignments in order to devote more   time to fund raising.              
- A comprehensive technology plan for the library will be completed in 2003/04.   Included in the plan will be a schedule for technology upgrades and replacements and a proposed budget.   Our technology plan will be incorporated into an overall Utah Academic Library Consortium technology plan and included in UALC's   2003/04 and 2004/05 legislative funding requests.   We will also pursue other sources of possible funding, including LSTA matching grants and private gifts.

- As evidenced by comments from students and faculty, changes in our statistics, and an increasing number of articles in the library literature, the manner in which students use library reference services is changing.   This change is particularly visible at WSU due to our large number of working, non-traditional, and online students as well as the high level of connectivity within the university community and in Utah in general.   WSU students want and need increased access to resources and help in the virtual realm as well as a centralized location that addresses all of their on-campus information needs, including help with library resources, word processing and other programs, access to presentation software and equipment, and a place to study alone and with groups.   Reference staff have traditionally provided help with library resources; providing help with related services is a logical expansion of their work.

We intend to combine the best features of the information commons concept with the best of traditional reference service.   During the 2002/03 academic year, we will assess patron needs, explore different staffing patterns, and develop a plan for the physical rearrangement of the Reference & Information Services area.   In 2003/04, the space   will be reconfigured   into an information commons area.   
- Incorporating information literacy concepts into a greater number of upper-division courses and working with faculty to develop assessment procedures and learning outcomes will occur over the next three to five years.   Subject librarians will begin the process during the 2002/03 academic year.
- While the library's assessment procedures for the public service areas are ongoing and systematic, this is not yet true for all technical service areas.   Assessment procedures and outcomes need to be more fully integrated into the work of Bibliographic Services (Acquisitions, Cataloging, Serials, Binding/Processing.)   Developing departmental outcomes and an assessment plan will be completed in 2002/03 and implemented in 2003/04.

- The renovation of the Stewart Library in the mid 1990's created a well-lit, pleasant, and reasonably spacious environment.   It did not, however, address a number of infra-structure issues that have increased in severity over the intervening years.   Ceiling tiles throughout the building are damaged or delaminating, the freight elevator is constantly out-of-order and needs to be replaced, and ongoing plumbing and ground-water problems are a continual source of complaints.   Because the cost of addressing these issues is so great, our action plan over the next several years is to continue to make the university aware of the problems and aggressively seek to move up in priority on the WSU capital improvements list.

 

Updated November 18, 2004 . Please send comments to Joan Hubbard, University Librarian.
Weber State University, Stewart Library. Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Stewart Library - Weber State University - Ogden, Utah 84408. (801) 626-6403 - Copyright © 2008 ALL Rights Reserved