I went to Online at Olympia yesterday. The exhibition itself was the usual scrum, but there is nothing like wearing a badge saying Tom Roper, Unemployed, for protecting oneself against people trying to sell you things.
Much more interesting than the exhibition was the Health Libraries Group event, a presentation by Lucy McCaskie of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, entitled From radar to radiant users, a review of a pilot of the Libqual+ survey suite with English health libraries. Lucy's presentation is going up on the HLG website, so I shan't give a full account. But very topically, in the light of the RIN study on researchers and discovery services , which Lorcan Dempsey neatly summarises as "researchers [...]- want discovery services to be supported by effective delivery services. They want to be able to get what they find, " the key finding was that users thought library services bad at making electronic resources available to them from their offices or homes. More positively users had a high opinion of the courtesy and caring attitude of library staff, and their attention to individual users. But being courteous and caring will not get us very far if we don't have the resources our users need to do their jobs.
Lucy told us that Libqual+ was developed in the US by the Association of Research Libraries, covering three areas, affect of service, information control and the library as place. Administered through a webpage, the survey asks users to rate 22 core statements on three different scales, so is time-consuming. Ten libraries took part in the pilot, organised by the National Library of Health (NLH), nine NHS libraries, well-distributed geographically including libraries in acute trust, primary care and mental health services, as well as the Royal College of Nursing Library Services. The participating services e-mailed staff in their organisations to ask them to take part. Only 743 surveys were completed, and 25% of those who started a survey completed it, but 53% added comments to their submissions.
The survey data is offered in radar charts. NLH did not undertake a central analysis, so it was left to individual services to look at their data. In Gloucestershire Lucy and colleagues were able to implement some immediate changes, such as to stock, signs and desk cover, and incorporated other findings into their action plan, such as advertise services better, branding services more distinctively to distinguish them form others. They have also used the data in bargaining for better funding for the service and to manage users' insatiable appetite for resources. Lucy asked if the analysis work should be done by librarians, or by statisticians. Now they have baseline data, the survey need sot be repeated at regular intervals. however NLH seem to be thinking of devising their own customer satisfaction instrument. In discussion Lucy told us that Libqual+ took up approximately 60 staff hours. It is a complex survey, and the importance of using other methods such as focus groups was mentioned.