The Trecker Library undertook a formal, written survey process during the early weeks of the 2009 fall semester to determine the satisfaction of students who attended our First Year Experience classes. As presently designed, the classes include a tour, an online/PowerPoint overview of services, and a PowerPoint history of the library & campus (which dates to 1939).
Questions which required responses on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) point scale covered both presentation and content.
The mean score for this set of questions for the 129 respondents was 4.4.
A second set of questions, open ended in nature, sought specific information useful for the improvement of the design and content of the classes.
A review of the comments accompanying each session revealed some interesting trends:
*Respondents in the earlier sessions valued each of the sessions reasonably equally with a slight edge given to the library/campus history.
*Respondents in the later sessions showed increasing interest in the tour and the library services parts of the presentation, especially where to find books and articles in the library and online.
*Scores and comments for the library services presentation improved when it was moved from an internet based offering to a more structured, hyperlinked PowerPoint presentation.
*The history part of the presentation received generally very high marks for its content but not as much support for its relevance to the overall presentation, especially for the later groups.
*The high mean score for satisfaction, 4.4. overall, suggests that students value and like the library’s FYE tour and presentations.
*The survey was a useful methodology to gather suggestions for improvement.
*The survey, when analyzed following each session, allowed us to respond effectively to issues and concerns and to make improvements in an ongoing manner.
*Similarities in the responses of each group suggest that is may be possible to do this survey with a subset rather than all of the FYE classes.
*If the FYE sessions are to be truly introductory sessions they need to occur very early in the semester. Questions and comments received from FYE classes conducted later in September were often more suitable for answering in the upcoming, more detailed and focused, instructional classes.
*All three parts of the presentation — tour, overview and history – were valued by attendees but the history might do just as well, or better, being made part of a general campus introduction session for all new students (including transfers and others beyond the freshman year).
Appendix: Sample Comments.
A. Some things students liked as reported in the open ended questions:
“Finding out where the books were located was the most useful part.”
“I enjoyed it.”
“I look forward to now using the library as a good source.”
“Seeing how to navigate the internet portion of the library.”
“The tour showed me where everything was.”
“I want to read even more after this session! I want to become a History teacher and this session gave me more motivation to learn. I loved the history of the campus.”
“I enjoyed how the instructor explained how virtually any book can be obtained from the majority of the UConn campuses.”
“Where she showed how to access books that are complementary to a class that we are taking.”
“Seeing where the private study area was.”
B. Some suggestions as reported in the open ended questions:
“Some type of pamphlet about library searching or a map.”
“An online example of the web pages we saw so we know how to use them.”
“More walking around”
C. And some comments that defied categorization:
“It was all legit”
Our thanks go to the students and their instructors for a marvelous response to our survey.
— William Uricchio, Library Director