Odum Library Staff Development Committee
Needs Assessment Survey - 1997
Odum Library's Staff Development Committee administered a Needs Assessment Survey to all library faculty and staff in April, 1997. The survey represents an inaugural attempt to fulfill one of the Committee's stated goals: "to identify, assess, and prioritize professional development needs as they evolve and are impacted by internal and external factors, such as growth of the Library and University, University requirements, advancements in information technology, and changing expectations of students, faculty, and staff."
The Committee endeavored to collect as much data as possible with the survey, for future as well as current use. An extensive and detailed analysis of the data has been completed. The Committee will now focus on those areas that have the highest priority as we pursue our current goal of developing a 3-year plan for staff development. A summary report of survey results is presented below.
One hundred percent of all permanent employees (47 individuals), both full- and part-time, participated in the survey. One questionnaire was not included in the data analysis because the respondent completed fewer than 30% of the survey items. Responses recorded on all remaining questionnaires were counted in data and content analysis; however, all respondents did not answer all survey questions. Thus, percentages cited were calculated based on the number of employees who responded to each item in question, and not on the total number of library employees.
Attitudes Regarding Staff Development Opportunities
Eighty-seven percent of all respondents indicate that ongoing training opportunities are either "important" or "very important" to them. The most frequently cited reason for this is the need to keep up with changes in computer applications and technology. Employees also cite the need to keep up with changes in library procedures and rules, and the need to enhance job performance and generally improve job-related skills.
Respondents were asked to rank four stated reasons for pursuing continuing education opportunities. Forty-five percent rank "personal growth and job satisfaction" highest, compared to job advancement (24%), obtaining college credit (15%), and consideration on annual evaluations (6%).
Three employees offered additional comments, noting that job security and career advancement are enhanced by one's efforts and achievements outside daily job responsibilities. One respondent emphasized improved job skills and performance (not specifically listed on the survey instrument) as professional goals.
Perceptions of Current Training Opportunities
Library employees are generally satisfied with their current opportunities for professional development. Twenty-one percent indicate that their need for ongoing training and skills development is being met "very well," while 66% indicate that this need is met at least "adequately." A small percentage of the latter group (17%) gave reasons why they were not entirely satisfied with current training opportunities, as did the 14% of all respondents who indicate that their current need for training is "less than adequately" met. The reason cited most often for dissatisfaction is the cost of participating in professional development programs.
Twenty-four percent of all library employees learn about continuing education and training opportunities through mailings and brochures. Twenty-two percent cite listserv discussion groups, and 21% co-workers and friends, as sources of such information.
|Sources of Information||% of Respondents|
|1. Mailings and brochures||24%|
|2. Listserv announcements||22%|
|3. Co-workers and friends||21%|
|4. Professional publications||16%|
|6. Other sources (routing, email)||1%|
Sixty-one percent of all employees feel that information about continuing education and training opportunities is "readily available" to them via the sources listed; all others feel that this type of information is at least "somewhat available" to them. No one responding to the survey felt that information about professional development programs was "mostly unavailable."
Attitudes Regarding Employer-Provided Support
Eighty-six percent of all respondents are aware of the types of support their employer currently provides for professional development activities. A small number of employees indicate that they do not know what is available to them in terms of employer-provided support. This group is evenly divided between technical and public services areas, between librarians and classified staff, and between those who have one to seven years of library experience and those who have seven years of experience or more. The only differentiating factor is the number of years of employment in Odum Library (two-thirds of those in this group had worked in Odum for less than 5 years).
Asked to rank six suggested types of employer-provided support for professional development activities in order of importance, 64% rank "time off with pay" either highest or second highest, followed by "consideration for merit raises" (56%), and "reimbursement for expenses" (54%). Thirty-seven percent of all employees rank "consideration for job advancement" highest or second-highest. "Recognition other than raises or promotion" is ranked highest or second-highest by only 8% of all respondents; perhaps due to lack of clarity with regard to other types of recognition which might apply.
Recent Professional Development Activities
Library employees were asked to list briefly the topics covered by professional development activities in which they have participated within the past two years. Seventy-eight percent of all employees responded to this question. While most respondents mentioned topical areas or specific programs, several simply listed program sponsors or noted that they had participated in a wide variety of activities, without indicating the particular topics covered.
Library employees have most often participated in programs related to computer skills or information technology (63% of all respondents); almost half of this group specifically mentioned Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This result underscores employees' written comments regarding their need to keep up with constant changes in technology. Nine percent have recently participated in training on Internet-related topics (e.g., e-mail, HTML).
Also mentioned frequently were GALILEO training (31%) and programs related to customer service or public services (20%).
Forty-eight percent of all respondents indicate that their job performance has improved, and 25% feel that their performance has at least "somewhat improved," as a result of this training.
Preferred Learning Methods
Given a list of nine learning methods, employees most often selected "live lecture or demonstration" (21%), "one-to-one instruction" (17%), and "independent reading" (15%) as their preferred methods for leaning about something new.
|Preferred Learning Method||% of Respondents|
|1. Live lecture or demonstration||21%|
|2. One-to-one instruction||17%|
|3. Independent reading||15%|
|4. Independent reading + hands-on practice||13%|
|5. Small group discussion||10%|
|6. Hands-on practice||8%|
|7. Interactive teleconference||8%|
|8. Video presentation||5%|
|9. Other methods (classroom setting, any method)||2%|
|10. Audio or radio presentation||1%|
Employees' preferred methods for learning new computer skills are "one-to-one instruction" (24%), "live lecture or demonstration" (22%), and "independent reading plus hands-on practice" (15%).
|Preferred Learning Methods (Computer Skills)||% of Respondents|
|1. One-to-one instruction||24%|
|2. Live lecture or demonstration||22%|
|3. Independent reading + hands-on practice||15%|
|4. Hands-on practice||14%|
|5. Independent reading||10%|
|6. Small group discussion||5%|
|7. Interactive teleconference||5%|
|8. Video presentation||5%|
Preferred Locations and Times
Eighty-three percent of all respondents prefer that training programs be offered during the work day (between 8 AM and 5 PM).
Most employees (57%) participate in professional development activities more frequently on the VSU campus than at off-campus locations. Forty-two percent prefer that programs be offered on the University campus. However, 56% indicate that transportation to off-campus locations is "not a problem" for them when deciding whether to participate in professional development activities.
Twenty-one percent of all respondents indicate that a lack of transportation could determine whether or not they would participate in a professional development program. Sixty-seven percent of this group are clerical employees.
Topics of Interest to Library Employees
Employees were asked to indicate whether they were "very interested", "somewhat interested," or "not interested" in any of fifty-one topics. The tables below show which topics were of greatest interest to employees in several categories (clerical staff, paraprofessional staff, faculty, supervisors of permanent and temporary staff, non-supervisory personnel, technical services employees, and public services employees).
Employees at all levels indicate highest interest in computer-related and Internet-related training. Microsoft Office, creating World Wide Web documents, electronic and/or automated reference resources, Windows 95, computer literacy, the Internet, and Netscape are all highly ranked by library employees overall, and by employees in various categories.
|Topics of Interest to All Library Employees||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. Microsoft Office||63%||13%||25%|
|2. Creating World Wide Web documents||62%||18%||20%|
|3. Reference resources (electronic and/or automated)||60%||28%||13%|
|4. Windows 95||59%||31%||10%|
|5. The Internet||58%||24%||18%|
|6. Time management||56%||17%||27%|
|8. Desktop publishing||55%||29%||16%|
|9. GALILEO and other online databases||53%||37%||11%|
|10. Customer service||52%||36%||12%|
One respondent commented that the VSU Office of Information Technology currently provides computer-related training programs. One employee suggested that it would be helpful to have more Information Technology workshops reserved specifically for library employees.
Time management is also of high interest to employees overall, library faculty, technical services personnel, and those who supervise permanent staff.
|Topics of Interest to Library Faculty||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. Creating World Wide Web documents||79%||14%||7%|
|2. Microsoft Office||79%||14%||7%|
|3. Time management||79%||0%||21%|
|4. Coping with change||77%||8%||15%|
|5. Desktop publishing||71%||14%||14%|
|Topics of Interest to Technical Services Personnel||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. Creating World Wide Web documents||75%||6%||19%|
|2. Microsoft Office||73%||7%||20%|
|3. Desktop publishing||67%||13%||20%|
|4. Time management||63%||6%||31%|
|5. Windows 95||56%||38%||6%|
|Topics of Interest to Personnel Who Supervise Permanent Staff||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. Effective written communication||83%||11%||6%|
|2. Training new employees||82%||18%|
|3. Time management||82%||14%||5%|
|4. Interviewing prospective employees||81%||14%||5%|
|5. Supervising employees||77%||23%||0%|
Public services personnel show high interest in customer service, as do clerical staff, and those employees who supervise student assistants.
|Topics of Interest to Public Services Personnel||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. Customer service||75%||25%||0%|
|2. Reference resources (electronic and/or automated)||68%||27%||5%|
|4. The Internet (searching, Telnet, FTP, WWW, etc.)||64%||18%||18%|
|5. Computer literacy (the basics)||59%||27%||14%|
|Topics of Interest to Clerical Staff||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. Computer literacy (the basics)||59%||24%||18%|
|2. The Internet (searching, Telnet, FTP, WWW, etc.)||59%||24%||18%|
|3. GALILEO and other online databases||53%||35%||12%|
|5. Customer service||53%||32%||16%|
|Topics of Interest to Personnel Who Supervise Student and Graduate Assistants||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. The Internet (searching, Telnet, FTP, WWW, etc.)||67%||21%||12%|
|2. Supervising employees||66%||28%||6%|
|3. Training new employees||63%||31%||6%|
|4. Customer service||62%||32%||5%|
|5. Computer literacy (the basics)||61%||33%||6%|
As might be expected, employees who supervise others indicate higher interest in topics related to interviewing, supervising, and training employees, than do those without supervisory responsibility.
|Topics of Interest to Personnel With No Supervisory Responsibility||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|1. Microsoft Office||75%||17%||8%|
|2. Windows 95||73%||18%||9%|
|3. Creating World Wide Web documents||73%||9%||18%|
|4. Desktop publishing||64%||27%||9%|
|5b. GALILEO and other online databases||60%||30%||10%|
Paraprofessional employees also express high interest in computer- and Internet-related topics. Paraprofessionals were the only group indicating high interest in "Internet access from home".
|Topics of Interest to Paraprofessional Staff||Very Interested||Somewhat Interested||Not Interested|
|2. Internet access from home||88%||0%||13%|
|3. Reference resources (electronic and/or automated)||78%||22%||0%|
|4. Windows 95||78%||22%||0%|
|5. Creating World Wide Web documents||78%||11%||11%|
A small number of employees suggested additional topics for staff development programs, including how to get published; research in librarianship; harassment; understanding and managing work relationships; disaster preparedness; archives management; and management skills for supervisors. One respondent emphasized the need for all employees to be familiar with reference resources
Plans for Staff Development
The Needs Assessment Survey is the Committee's first step in the creation of a Staff Development Plan.
While the Plan will be formulated using priorities identified in the survey as a guide, the Staff Development Committee may also consider programs and activities not specifically indicated by the survey results. The input of the Committee is necessary for the development of a comprehensive plan. As an example, earlier this year the Committee initiated an in-house recognition program to acknowledge employees' professional accomplishments. The program was very well received, although the survey results show little interest in recognition not involving either merit raises or financial support for specific programs (only 8% of all respondents ranked "recognition other than raises or promotion" highly as a desirable type of employer-provided support).
In the future, the Committee may also wish to assess areas not considered in the 1997 survey; for example, supervisors' perceptions of their own professional development needs were assessed at this time, but not their perceptions of their employees' needs.
Through the Needs Assessment Survey, Library employees were given an opportunity to register their satisfaction or dissatisfaction, to offer suggestions, to ask for information, and to express concerns regarding staff development issues. We hope that the survey has brought us closer to fulfilling another of the Committee's stated goals: "To promote overall communication within the Library and with Library users regarding issues that may impact professional development." We look forward to further collaboration with all Library employees as we pursue our goals.
--Maureen J. Puffer-Rothenberg 04/98
Send comments to:
|Dr. Mark Winston Chair, Staff Development Committee Odum Library, Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA 31698 Office: (229) 333-7185 FAX: (229) 333-5862 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org||Maureen J. Puffer-Rothenberg Staff Development Committee, 1996-97 Odum Library, Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA 31698 Office: (229) 249-4857 FAX: (229) 333-5862 Email: email@example.com|
Last updated April 29, 1998.