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The FM Evans Library – How Are We Doing?

Posted: January 13, 2020 — For some people, the idea of a college library still brings to mind columns of bookshelves and a stern (but helpful!) librarian waiting in the wings to provide assistance as required. This quaint but inaccurate picture is not a vision which is in any way indicative of the academic library found on the campus of Fulton-Montgomery Community College.  As anyone who has ever read my columns in the past know, the Evans Library continues to evolve as student needs change and provide students with services, resources, and spaces that support their learning.  The students who use the library continue to find what they need to succeed – and I can prove it!

This past fall the Evans Library gave students the opportunity to share their thoughts about all aspects of the library. We asked about their level of overall satisfaction, we wanted to know what they thought of our staff and of our services as well as about the materials we purchase and the spaces we provide.  Printed surveys were dispersed throughout a week in November with an incentive – return a survey, get a (Hershey’s®) kiss!

While the response rate was less than desired (51 unique student responses), those who did participate provided us with thoughtful answers to our questions.  The majority of students polled are “Very Satisfied” overall with the library as well as specifically with the resources, services, and hours; they overwhelmingly “Strongly Agree” that the people who work in the library are “helpful and courteous” and that the library is “clean, comfortable, and inviting”.

As to positive feedback, we found that students enjoy posting comments on our designated whiteboard walls.  They also appreciate the number of computers available to students, the different study areas, and the Sunday hours.  There were numerous shout-outs to library staff who are “kind, inviting, and very helpful.” Accolades notwithstanding, there were a few items that will require our attention in the upcoming semester and beyond.  Some students have asked us to be more diligent about ensuring the rooms designated for individual/quiet study were maintained as such.  We were also asked to review our open hours and be more pro-active with training on library equipment – the cloud-based printing system was specifically mentioned several times!

In addition to addressing these student issues in the upcoming spring semester, we will continue to gather information from our stakeholders by developing a survey specifically for the faculty to gauge their level of satisfaction with our support of their teaching. We will also develop a survey similar to our student form to query the over 75 registered community members who use our services to see if we are fulfilling our mission to provide academic library services to our host populations.

It is important that academic libraries continue to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world while maintaining  traditional services performed by libraries around the country and the globe.  We will do this as we always do, by keeping current with our professional principles and, most importantly, by listening to our students, our faculty and our community.

This article was written by Mary K. Donohue, Library Director & Professor

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