One of the ongoing issues we hear from students is that the Library is not open enough hours. We agree. Library hours are kept updated on our website at: http://www.nelson.usf.edu/npml/hours.html
We are currently open 79 hours a week, with highly trained faculty and staff being available to help:
- find print and electronic information;
- check materials and equipment out for use in and out of the library;
- with printing, scanning, and photocopying;
- use software programs on the computers and laptops in the library;
- access and interact with online classes;
- schedule a research session with a librarian;
- get set up to use a group study room or one of the new technology-enhanced collaboration stations;
- request materials through interlibrary loan;
- use the equipment and software in the ADA workroom;
- and much more.
In the evenings and on weekends, our regular staff is supplemented by a security guard to ensure that students and staff are safe.
In addition to all the normal things that most libraries do, we also run the Campus Digital Archive; we provide support to teachers in creating and managing their online courses and students in accessing them through the efforts of our Distance Learning Team; we create USF IDs; we run our own computer and technical infrastructure separate from Campus Computing; we maintain our own Web site; we design and renovate our physical space to keep up with changing needs and much more.
We provide more services than most academic libraries – including a wider range of services than those offered by the Library at USF Tampa. And we do it with only 21 permanent staff and a few additional temporary staff and student assistants. 21 people to serve 6000 students and hundreds of faculty.
What’s my point? We are stretched very thin and we don’t have staff to keep the building open longer hours. We don’t have the same level of staffing that the Library in USF Tampa has. I wish we did.
This week on the Facebook Group USFSP The Know It All’s Guide To Knowing It All! a student asked: “I have a question…. Why is our library open only till 5 pm on Sundays? Tampa’s main library is open all night and even the Sarasota library is open till 1 am. I feel our library should at least be opened later then 5pm. They could even adjust the hours and open at noon instead of 9am like the other libraries.” Several people responded with incorrect information, including one person saying that the Library was not “owned by the school, hence the short hours.”
One of our librarians then responded with the correct information noting that: “The Poynter Library, which is an official unit of USFSP (not at all connected with the Poynter Institute across the street), is regularly open from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. Opening the library for additional hours requires more library staff, a security guard, and additional building expenses. Like other USFSP units, the library had to absorb its share of reduced funding from the state last year. For the past several years we have also had extended hours during final exam week but we have seen only a handful of people using the library from 10 p.m. to midnight during exam periods. Unless more students use the extended hours during exam periods, we are unable to make the case for more money to the University administration so we can keep the building open longer.”
So, here’s the deal: when the Library is open extended hours during this semester’s exam period, students need to be in the library from 10 p.m. until midnight and demonstrate that more than 30 people need and will use the extended hours. If we have the data to prove that the building will be used, then we might be able to convince the University to give us the funding to keep it open more hours. Until we have some hard data to prove that students really want this and will use it, we will not be able to keep the building open more hours.
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com to voice your concern or offer your suggestions.
Every year, the Library surveys faculty to find out if they are satisfied with the Library. Are they satisfied with the print and the electronic collections? Do they get the help they need from library faculty and other library staff? This year’s survey showed a 98% approval rating from faculty for overall library service, with almost all services and collections being rated from 90% to 100% by the faculty using them.
The chart below shows a summary of their rankings for some of the major library services available to USFSP faculty.
.Because of ongoing disputes between USFSP and USF System on the fee paid for electronic resources (now resolved thanks to Interim Chancellor Hogarth), faculty were also asked to rate how a hypothetical significant reduction in the library’s electronic resources would affect their teaching, research, and decision to remain at USFSP:
- 72% said that a reduction in library electronic resources would Very Significantly or Significantly affect their teaching
- 86% said that a reduction would Very Significantly or Significantly affect their research
- 54% said that this would influence their decision to remain here at USFSP
This data from faculty helped the Poynter Library to make the case to Dr. Hogarth that these resources were vitally important to the faculty (and students) and that we needed to pay the System for our share of them.
Selected positive comments from College faculty about the Library:
- I cannot do my research without a library and most important, librarians. My students need help with their work as well.
- I would like to specifically praise the quick response time of the A/V support personnel. They are right there as soon as you call to help out when something isn’t working properly.
- Please do not reduce library budget…The Library is a treasure trove and a lifeblood of any educational institution
- I believe that the library faculty and staff are without exception the most effective group on campus.
- The library events and exhibits humanize the campus and bring us together. Finally, I think that the library forums for sharing faculty research are the most effective on campus.
We are gratified that faculty are generally very satisfied with the Library’s services and we appreciate the many positive comments received.
Selected negative comments from College faculty:
- More money for services and staff.
- I would like to get help from an instructional designer for my online class.
- Please make the library website more intuitive /easier to use. It is very difficult to understand why some things are classified the way they are.
- I would like to suggest that faculty be able to complete an online survey / offer feedback after each and every library instruction done for our students.
Regarding the negative comments above:
- I am happy to report that the our budget requests were given serious consideration this year by Interim Chancellor Hogarth and that we will be able to fill two vacancies and will have a slight increase to our operating budget. Thank you to the faculty and to Vice Chancellor Noonan and Regional Chancellor Hogarth for their support of the Library and its contribution to the academic success of USFSP.
- Instructional designers are available to help with online classes according to a process coordinated by the Division of Academic Affairs at: http://www1.usfsp.edu/academics/
- We are working on redesigning the library website based on user feedback and hope to unveil the new design shortly
- We have already implemented surveys to gather feedback as a routine part of every library instruction class
If you would like to read a more complete analysis of the survey results, you may find them in the USFSP digital archive at: http://dspace.nelson.usf.edu/xmlui/handle/10806/4732
Every year, the Library surveys students to find out how they think we’re doing. Are we helping them study and do their research? Are we providing a good place for them to work together or alone, or just hang out? The chart above shows the summary of their rankings for some of the major library services available to USFSP students at the Poynter Library.
In addition to ranking facilities, collections, and services, students were asked about their perceptions on how the USFSP library contributed to their academic development. Specifically,
- 84% of the students state that the library contributed to their ability to obtain and effectively use information for problem solving
- 76% thought that the library helped them develop critical and analytical abilities
- 82% thought that the library helped them develop the ability to distinguish scholarly from non-scholarly resources
- 76% stated that the library helped them develop the ability to evaluate the quality of information from various media sources
Selected positive student comments:
- The staff in the library is great and very helpful.
- I use the library website all the time and really appreciate the resources offered.
- The access to computers is really great; there is always an open one to use.
- I really like the study places, study rooms that you can get; it allows for group members to be here and still communicate with each other above a whisper.
- Great place to get my work done with a great environment.
- Content is easily available and seems extensive.
- I have had good productive experiences every time I enter the library.
- All library services are easy to use and easily accessible.
Selected negative student comments:
- More study rooms.
- We need free printing, scanning, and longer hours to accommodate our commuter population.
- It would be better to have a coffee place and get more arm-chairs for individual readers.
- There should be a quiet computer area.
- Make library hours longer. The current hours are a joke for a college library; the min hour a library should close is 1am on a school night.
- Provide tutoring in the library for classes and have more tutoring hours.
We are so happy that the students overall are satisfied with the staff, the collections, and the facility. The negative comments are all about resources. Students need longer hours; they need free printing and photocopying; they need more services; they need more comfort and convenience. The Library faculty and staff agree – students do need more! And we would love to give you more of what YOU need. But WE need your help.
In the past few years, our ability to meet student needs has become more challenging. Specifically,
- Enrollment has gone up 19.6% in the last 4 years
- Traffic into the library has increased 29.6% in last 5 years, outstripping the increase in enrollment
- Circulation activity has increased 5% in last 5 years
- The number of library instruction sessions offered by librarians increased 70% in last 5 years
Yet, in the face of the growing demand for library services, permanent library staffing has declined 13.6%. We are stretched very thin — too thin to be able to give you all the help and resources you need. Our budget has been cut and we are able to make additions to the Library only by tapping into donations through the USF Foundation.
I would love to hear from students on how we can work together to increase the funding for resources, facilities and staffing so we can continue to give you what you need and want from your library.