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Reference Services: Assessment

Reference Librarians: We make your research easier & your results better!

Assessment of Reference Services

All librarians providing reference service are involved in the recording of reference inquiries. Statistics and record keeping are essential in providing a factual base for review of reference service, staffing levels, and/or participation in professional surveys. Each librarian on reference duty is responsible for recording the appropriate data during his or her shift; each librarian responding to email, phone, chat, or in-person requests, or faculty research requests off the desk is responsible for entering that data in our daily statistics sheets, which are then cumulatively analyzed by the Reference and Instruction Services Coordinator.

The Reference and Instruction Services Coordinator oversees the consistent gathering and compiling of reference/instruction statistics. These statistics reflect number and type of reference queries daily, monthly, and cumulatively. Data also includes courses for which we make an impact. The type of statistics tabulated should not be changed without the consent of the Head Librarian.

The Reference and Instruction Services Coordinator will periodically evaluate the services provided by other means as well. This may be done using various methods, such as with unobtrusive observation, analysis of statistics gathered, user satisfaction surveys, chat transcript evaluation, the retaining of patron comments for the purposes of future evaluation, or with anecdotal evidence or surveys from the librarians who provide reference service.

We also keep usage statistics of our Research Guides and online instructional guides and tutorials. Our course-specific Research Guides are additionally equipped with student learning outcomes based on syllabi outcomes. 

Assessment of Service Quality & Impact

The Reference and Instruction Services Coordinator periodically evaluates the services provided. This may be done using various methods, such as with unobtrusive observation, analysis of statistics gathered, user satisfaction surveys, the retaining of patron comments for the purposes of future evaluation, or with anecdotal evidence or surveys from the librarians who provide reference service.

When we assist students with assignments, we also note which courses the assignments are for. Additionally, chat transcripts afford an opportunity to assess student documented learning during the chat reference interview.

In related matters, our Research Guides by Subject and Course Research Guides are assessed for usage, from page views to usage of online instructional materials provided.