Thursday, April 26, 2007

Improving the University Libraries’ Services to the Ball State Academic Community by Listening and Implementing Suggestions from Students, Faculty

In September, 2005, the Dean of University Libraries, Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, appointed the Services Excellence Working Group (SEWG). One of their recent projects has been to create and implement a No Log Tracking System for collecting and analyzing comments and suggestions from students and faculty that are made to librarians and paraprofessional personnel.

The SEWG and Dean of University Libraries review these comments and suggestions with the objective of improving customer service. This adaptability and flexibility in listening and hearing our students and faculty has helped to develop and enhance long-term relationships and to keep our students and faculty delighted with our services.

The purpose of the No Log Tracking System is to find and identify patterns in service limitations and to raise the awareness of service quality and content so that the University Libraries’ operations and procedures are continually reviewed and reassessed to assure excellent customer services.

The idea for a No Log Tracking System came from Kathy McMillan’s article, “Generating Goodwill: Turning No into Yes,” American Libraries 36(10): 48-49; November, 2005. According to the article, the idea was originally that of Jackie Sollers, head of the Carroll County, Maryland Public Library’s Eldersburg branch, Eldersburg, Maryland.

Listed below are some examples of changes that have been made to the University Libraries’ operations and procedures as a result of comments from students and faculty where the Libraries’ administration has strived to turn a former “No, we cannot do that” into “Yes,” resulting in improved service and customer satisfaction:

· Adding public catalog access through PCs throughout the Libraries for quick public catalog searches, saving people time to access the catalog (other PCs require log-on)
· Allowing non-reserve music CDs to circulate
· Equipping all of Bracken Library’s public computers with print drivers to allow customers to send print jobs directly to the color printer/photocopier at the low cost of 25¢ per copy
· Implementing laptop wireless printing (without charge to students, faculty) throughout the University Libraries
· Implementing printing (for free) from the University Libraries’ iMAC computers
· Increasing the circulation period for alumni to borrow DVDs and VHS materials
· Increasing the Libraries’ hours to provide more service on Sundays and later hours at night until 3 a.m. (120.5 hrs/wk)
· Increasing the number of recycle bins throughout the University Libraries
· Installing a vending machine area in Bracken Library’s lower level, complete with a large-screen television, microwave, and comfortable chairs and tables
· Opening of the now popular Bookmark Café @ Bracken Library through Campus Dining Services following a Bracken Library survey about a café in the facility
· Providing a drop box for U.S. and campus mail inside Bracken Library
· Making available desktop computers and software for persons using reserved scholar study rooms
· Providing larger waste receptacles throughout the Libraries to accommodate refuse from the consumption of food and beverages
· Making available plastic copy cards for sale for the photocopy machine in the two branch libraries

Members of the SEWG provide recommendations to the Dean of University Libraries through suggestions concerning targeted staff development for professional, faculty, and classified Libraries’ personnel through technology instruction, customer service training, and promotion of service knowledge to maintain a high level of professional expertise and service. The SEWG does this, in part, by recommending and helping to develop service training rubrics for students assistants and reviewing guidelines for and adoption of self-assessment service standards.

For more information, contact Arthur W. Hafner Ph.D., M.B.A., Ball State University’s Dean of University Libraries,, (765) 285-5277.

This newsletter article first appeared in The Library Insider 5(4): 2; April 2007.

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