The Efficiency of Library Services
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This paper studies effectiveness of conducting a survey using a questionnaire. The process involved developing a questionnaire containing five distinct questions. The questionnaires included either closed-ended or open-ended questions, and were distributed to ten randomly chosen interviewees either manually or through emails. The time span for conducting the survey being short, the interviewees were required to return their feedback as soon as possible within the timeframe given, because the questionnaire was short and also because this would make it possible not only to gather primary research data quickly, but also in a more accurate manner.
The interviewees’ responses were evaluated by calculating and analyzing their answers. Their various answers to the two types of questions asked, i.e. open-ended questions and closed-ended questions, were analyzed by using the rating and ranking scale, in accordance to the questionnaire having multiple-choice answers in the closed-ended questions category. Open-ended answer questions were critically analyzed and compared among the respondents to determine their collective views. Participants were informed of the significance of conducting the interview and were, therefore, encouraged to be very accurate in their responses to achieve consistency. Those who did not understand some details were given a chance to ask questions before they could start filling in the questionnaires.
The validity and reliability of the questionnaire was ensured by interviewing only relevant participants. This was a very important approach because it enabled to achieve a high level of consistency in responses, as well as relevance. As a result, this helped achieve a greater efficiency in conducting the whole survey process.
The scaling study conducted involved a survey on the efficiency in the provision of library services in a college. The research involved interviewing various respondents visiting a particular library to find out their views on the services offered. Since the survey was limited, respondents were only comprised of scholars using the library, i.e. undergraduate students, master’s degree students and even doctorate degree students. On the other hand, the interview also detailed whether the interviewees were liberal arts or sciences students.
The first question sought to know the details of the respondents, including their names (even though they could choose to remain anonymous), school and degree course of study, as well as a year of study. This was paramount in order to sample the respondents interviewed and make certain deductions from the feedback received. Most of the respondents interviewed generally comprised undergraduate degree course students who formed a majority of the survey, followed by master’s degree students, and lastly doctorate degree course students. This has a bearing on projecting the likelihood of undergraduate students furthering their studies to either masters or doctorate degree courses and having to use the library in future. Such information is also of great importance to the library because of budgeting and procurement of learning resources for various users of the library.
The next category of the questionnaire involved asking the respondents about their view of the learning environment within the library. This question was meant to gauge the respondent’s perception of the library in terms of cleanliness of the floor, provision of dustbins, arrangement of books and furniture, as well as noise level. The respondents were also asked to measure the conduciveness of the library's opening and closing hours. All these involved multiple-answer questioning, thus the respondents were required to determine whether this was very satisfying, satisfying, neutral, dissatisfying or very dissatisfying.
On the other hand, the questionnaire sought to establish the level of availability of learning resources in the library. This was necessary to know the level of insufficiency of materials in the library, and hence the adequacy of books, journals, magazines, reference books, research papers, as well as a range of other electronic databases in the library. Possible answers were categorized as follows: very adequate; adequate; just average; inadequate; very inadequate. Interviewees were, therefore, needed to check it appropriately. This is of great significance, as it would also enable the library to determine the range of books, journals, as well as other learning materials, and then stock up the on necessary resources.
A yet another question asked the interviewees to respond to the availability of other library facilities, such as furniture and lighting, as well as electronic resources, such as sockets and internet ports. This was aimed at establishing the areas which needed to be improved. Most respondents were satisfied with the supply of furniture in terms of reading tables and chairs, as well as their condition. However, several respondents noted the worn-down state of some of the chairs and voiced the need to replace them with new ones. Most respondents were not satisfied with the available number of internet ports and electric sockets in the library.
The survey also sought to establish the efficiency of the library's electronic learning resources. This was, however, not tied to the number of computers available in the library. Instead, the library sought to know the usefulness of the online public access catalogue compared to the manual catalogue. The respondents were also asked to evaluate their level of satisfaction in terms of the Internet access and online public access catalogue. There was also a question about how fast the Internet speed was, the ease of navigation through the library services portal or even the online public access catalogue. Respondents were also required to provide feedback on the range of electronic databases and electronic journals on the library’s online portal. Lastly, the survey sought to establish the respondents’ level of satisfaction with the assistance provided by the library’s staff. Most notable was the way postgraduate students expressed their satisfaction with the help of librarians in accessing online databases and research paper materials.
The data collected was fed into an analysis program, with a spreadsheet being used in this case, and the answers were compiled in a central location, which made it easier to read and understand the respondents' feedback.
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