3.2 Reference Service and Program Effectiveness
Cost, benefit, and quality assessments of reference services provide meaningful and practical feedback for the improvement of services, staff training, and continuing education. To determine levels of service effectiveness, costs, benefits, and quality, data must be judged in light of specific library goals, objectives, missions, and standards. A variety of measures, such as quality or success analysis, unobtrusive, obtrusive or mixed observation methods, and cost and benefit analysis provide invaluable information about staff performance, skill, knowledge, and accuracy, as well as overall program effectiveness.
3.2.2 Quality Analysis - Patron Needs and Satisfaction
The perceptions and needs of patrons are important measures of the quality and impact of reference services. Surveys, combined with other measures such as numerical counts, observation, and focus groups, are commonly used to conduct comprehensive assessments of service performance and patron needs.
Traditional Reference Services
- LibQual+™ - (Association of Research Libraries, 2001). Use to measure user perceptions and expectations of library service quality. LibQUAL+ ™ surveys are used to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of library service quality. http://www.libqual.org/
- Library Anxiety Scale (Bostick, 1993). Use to measure the construct of library anxiety in college students of all ages. The Reference Assessment Manual, 1995.
- Reference Satisfaction Survey (Van House, Weil, McClure, 1990). Use to evaluate the success of reference as determined through user opinion of the services offered. The Reference Assessment Manual, 1995.
- Survey of Public Library Users (Yocum, Stocker, 1969). Use to obtain data on patron use of services and how important they consider those same services. The Reference Assessment Manual, 1995.