Good library services provide support for the academic community

”It's been a lifesaver -- literally.” Such feedback was given to the library by the university community in a customer survey in November 2020.

By far the largest group of respondents of the HULib Customer Survey were University of Helsinki bachelor's and master's students (70.4%). 10.8% of the respondents were postgraduate students/doctoral students, and 13.1% were researchers, university lecturers, teachers and deans. More than half of the responses came from customers studying or working at the City Centre Campus (59.7%).  

“Most of the time one gets more than asks which is very good”

Most of the student feedback concerned the availability of textbooks, opening hours and the library's self-study facilities. The competence and service attitude of the customer service staff was praised. The feedback stated that more information about the library's services could be available (e.g., for freshmen).

Feedback concerning textbooks has been covered in the previous part of this series. You can read the article here: The Library collections and new Helka

”Sometimes I wish it would be open for longer hours”    

More group working and quiet spaces were wished for in the library. There was also some feedback on the furniture, for example more adjustable electric desks were wanted. Distance teaching during the exceptional situation has also created a need for new kinds of spaces: individual workspaces, where one could participate in distance lectures without disturbing others, were needed in the library.

The libraries have been mostly closed during the coronavirus pandemic, except for the pick-up service for printed materials. Reducing opening hours and closing self-study facilities have understandably annoyed students. The library aims to open its self-study facilities when restrictions concerning the coronavirus situation allow. The development of the library’s facilities is an ongoing process, which is evaluated based on both customer feedback and the degree of utilization of the facilities. There will be changes to the library's facilities for example in Viikki. The campus library is planned to open in the renovated facilities in the autumn of 2021. Read more about the renovation of Viikki Campus Library on the library website 

Completely unrelated to the library's basic functions, but the puzzles available to customers in the library facilities are, in my opinion, the best thing about the library! :)  

”Everyone has been very polite and they try their absolute best to help you or find someone that can help you” 

Library's services for researchers received a lot of praise. Research material management and bibliometric services were especially well-liked, and the self-archiving service also performed well. There wasn't a lot of freeform feedback from the university's research staff, but there were some comments concerning the availability and evaluation of Open Access publications, as well as the need for local library services and more extensive communications about library services in general. 

Research staff were also asked how familiar they are with the library's services for researchers. The identifier and altmetrics services were already relatively well known, but open science publishing platforms Editor, Helda Open Books and Helsinki University Press (HUP) were still quite unknown. 0.3% of the respondents had used Editor, 2.4% had used Helda Open Books and 3.4% had used HUP. 10.4% of the respondents had used identifier and altmetrics services. 

It would be important to bring the services as close to customers as possible, and that the service personnel would be in direct and close contact with the researchers. Now the service remains a bit distant, even though it's very well-organized and friendly. 

During this spring, the library will organize online Meet Your Librarian visits for various faculties. The library has already visited the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences, and in May it will be the Faculty of Education's turn. More information about the Meet Your Librarian events can be found in Flamma. The library also participates in orientation events for new university employees and aims to make its services more accessible for teaching and research staff. 

This spring the library has organized two webinars about how to find and evaluate Open Access publications. Read more in the library news: Do you want to avoid predatory publishers? How to use CC licenses while sharing your work?

The research material management section in the Academy's application process was renewed for autumn of 2020. As part of data support, the library was involved in providing information and training on renewed practices. New data support training for participants in the 2nd phase of the Academy’s process was launched: Research Data Management Advanced. The parts organized by the library also concern the conditions and process of opening data. Read more in Flamma (login required): New Academy of Finland guidelines for data management plans and support for researchers 

The library's vast know-how and the services as a whole help support the researcher's career, and we are fortunate to be able to use them for our benefit. A good library also supports the researcher's identity. The library as an environment has become a significant part of my own attachment to the university community. It was sad when the library had to be closed during the spring. I am so used to doing research among the books in the library, that closing of the library facilities slowed the progress of my studies significantly. The library is more than just a provider of collections or a distributor of know-how; it's also a second home for the students. 

Library did well dur­ing a dif­fi­cult year

Helsinki University Library conducted a customer survey in November 2020. The effects of the coronavirus situation on the library services were taken into account.

The an­swer rate was good des­pite the ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances

The survey received 586 responses, almost as many as in 2018. By far the largest group of respondents were University of Helsinki bachelor's and master's students (70.4%). More than half of the responses came from customers studying or working at the City Centre Campus (59.7%). Students were asked questions about learning facilities and information seeking guidance, researchers about different services for researchers.

”Know­ledge­able staff, very good ser­vice”

The respondents were able to rate the importance and functionality of different library services on a scale of 1-5. A gap analysis was performed by comparing these figures, leading to an assessment of how well the Library has managed to meet the users’ expectations.

The library services were considered to be successful on average: on a scale of 0 to 10, the average probability of recommendation was 8.6. The corresponding average in 2018 was 8.7.

During the spring of 2020, the most popular library service was the remote use of e-materials (79%). Almost 28% of the respondents had also used the pick-up service for printed materials.

A lot of freeform feedback was given about library services during the exceptional situation, a total of 114. Most customers were happy with the services, although there had been some inconvenience with the remote use of e-resources (VPN connection).

Art­icle series de­tails the sur­vey res­ults and con­se­quent ac­tions

During April the library will publish a series of articles about the results of the customer survey. The series will detail the survey results through different themes and describe the measures the library is taking to improve its services.