November 02, 2007

Library says "RSVP"

Alloway Library is looking forward to hearing the results from a survey it commissioned this fall. “Here’s your chance!” says Alloway Librarian Sylvia Stopforth, “Students will have an opportunity to shape the library.”

Stopforth has been liaising with business faculty as they and their students develop a library marketing survey. This summer, the library was selected as the "client" for Professor Don Hill’s Business 430 – Marketing Research class. Since September Stopforth, Hill and seven marketing students, have been meeting to explore the goals and objectives of the project.

Stopforth explains, “This research is something we've wanted to do for years, but have simply never had the opportunity to pursue. TWU as a whole is going through a strategic planning process, and we hope to use some of the information generated by this project to support and direct that process within the library. The Big Questions for library staff are: Is the library providing resources and services that meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff? Are there currently obstacles to user satisfaction, and if so, what are they?”

To give the researchers a better idea of the work of the library, Stopforth gave them a tour of the library. Since then, the students have been busy conducting research, identifying the most effective marketing research strategies for the project, and, with input from library staff, creating surveys and interview questions which will gauge respondents’ awareness and perception of Alloway Library’s services and resources

With the research design phase nearing successful completion the next step is up to library users, and non-users, too. “We're hoping for a good response from students - those who use the library on a regular basis, as well as those who may not,” says Stopforth, “so that we can gain a better understanding of what students expect from a library, what they need, how well the library is currently meeting those needs and expectations, and what must be changed in order to ensure we effectively meet the needs of our users into the foreseeable future.”

The marketing students conducting the awareness survey are encouraging students to check their mytwu email for an online awareness questionnaire sent to a random sample of students. Live interviews will also be conducted at the library by student researchers over the next few weeks. In late November, when the data is collected and analysed, the research will be presented to library staff who will incorporate their findings into immediate and longer term plans.

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