Surveying Academic Librarians

Jim McGinty’s been going through his results from a survey of U.S. and European academic librarians. There’s tons of data here, so I can only record a few things that I thought were interesting. Head librarians, reference librarians, and subject specialists had different views on issues. Trade shows are extremely important to head librarians more than those further down the hierarchy. In the U.S. 40% of all librarians think the Internet has improved the standards of scholarship, while 70% in Europe agree. A key variable is faculty, so Jim advised the audience to pay attention to faculty. Librarians in general aren’t satisfied with their outreach programs. The three most dominant issues for academic librarians are open access, institutional archiving, and Google Scholar.

Final thoughts on librarians from Jim: They’re approachable but time sensitive, stressed by change driven environments, service sensitive, especially in technical areas, educated consumers who are focused and process oriented. They expect and appreciate competency and react differently depending on position and responsibility. Outreach is a big deal. Archiving in an electronic environment is major issue, faculty involvement is critical to digital research, current awareness of advantages and pitfalls of web, consortia has become a very important communication channel, and reps are important, but must meet librarian expectations.

There were 4 pages of answers to the open ended question of what they wanted to tell NFAIS attendees. They fell into four general categories: budget/economics, interface/product capabilities, communication/sales, and industry issues. Jim says he’ll put these up on the NFAIS Web site.

Marydee Ojala
Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Professionals

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