Measuring the use and outcomes of scholarly reading demonstrates the value of library collections and helps librarians make decisions about collections and services. This presentation presents data on how faculty and students at Seton Hall University locate, obtain, read, and use scholarly articles and books, how librarians can learn from the findings to better meet user needs, and how the library can present its findings to stakeholders.
Data were gathered using questionnaire surveys of university faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students as part of the IMLS Lib-Value project and based on Tenopir and King Studies conducted since 1977. Many questions used the critical incident of the last article and book reading to enable analysis of the characteristics of readings, in addition to characteristics of readers.
Seton Hall’s e-journal collection is vital to its users, supporting faculty research and teaching and student coursework. However, high use of books from non-library sources suggests some deficiencies in the collection. Findings show an opportunity to brand library material to clearly distinguish it from what is perceived as ‘free on the web’, examine use of both print and e-books, and work with professors to increase student awareness and use of library resources.
Our presentation highlights two areas of importance for librarians and its stakeholders. First, we demonstrate a useful method for measuring library value. Second, we show how a university library can apply survey findings to its situation, informing collection development and budget allocation. Seton Hall University is not alone in its struggle for funding during nationwide budget cuts coinciding with rising journal prices, and is an example of how libraries can express their value and learn how to best meet its users’ needs.