“What do you value most about the library?” A single open-ended question on a recent San José State University survey of faculty and students revealed a world of difference between what these two groups want from a library. Students valued the library for the quiet space it offered. They commented less on the library collection and more on library services. Faculty, however, valued the variety and quality of the library resources. Their responses focused on the collection, with an emphasis on the print collection’s breadth and depth. Not only did student and faculty responses differ, but among the faculty, different disciplines demonstrated different priorities in what they needed from the library. While science faculty almost exclusively valued access to online journals, faculty in the humanities viewed the print collection as their lab space and treasured the serendipity that came from browsing the bookshelves. As resources increasingly move online and circulation statistics for print materials drop, the question of how a library effectively serves all its communities becomes more complex. This paper analyzes the survey responses, examines the ensuing campus debate, and reflects on how perceptions of library value inform the conversation on the library of the future.
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Agee, A. & Becker, B. (2016). Faculty, Students, and Perceptions of Library Value. Paper presented at the California Academic & Research Libraries 2016 Conference, March 31-April 2, 2016, Costa Mesa, California. Retrieved from http://conf2016.carl-acrl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/AgeeBecker-ContributedPaper_final.pdf