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Quality Measures of Library Reference Service.

Quality Measures of Library Reference Service.

The Virtual Librarian Service and its professional librarians offer 7 day a week email reference service. The librarians do not operate a chat service, hunched over our laptops 24 hours a day, demanding that the student who needs help stay in their seat to engage, right now, in long conversations in short tiny chat boxes. Regardless if the student is at work or in less than perfect conditions. Rather, the Virtual Librarian Service duty librarian monitors the client custom email coming to the reference librarian at all hours of the day and night, every day, even holidays. Replies are by email usually within minutes, or sometimes hours from the time of the student sending a reference help request. Reference request replies are predicated on knowledgeable librarians who know the client’s resources and how that content supports the unique programs and often the course assignments.

Problems with an Accrediting Agency - will it affect the library?

Problems with an Accrediting Agency - will it affect the library?

As a librarian I am looking askance at the issues some of our clients may face if they are accredited through ACICS. And when the institution is ACICS accredited, that means their students have access to Title IV student assistance funding.  This DOE negative decision has been looming for a while, and this summer, based on the DOE staff  report, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity voted to deny ACICS the recognition ACICS itself needs to continue. There is a very explicit process for an agency to be recognized as an accreditor. Here is the DOE description of the accreditation process in America: (

The Accreditor Peer-Review Experience

The Accreditor Peer-Review experience

Site visits by peer review teams can be quite intimidating for the librarian responsible for the self-study report. In large institutions only the Head Librarian or Dean of Libraries may be involved. In smaller institutions using a sole librarian, they are the contact person. In all cases, whether programmatic, regional or national accreditation, the librarian responsible should be thankful that they might be visited by a team with a professional librarian. This level of attention can be pretty much guaranteed at the regional level of accreditation, but not expected for other peer review site teams. For those teams, a subject matter expert or faculty member will probably volunteer to review the report and do the site interviews and report back to the team. That is one reason why writing the library’s section of the self-study report should balance library jargon with general terms and theories. Know your reader.

The Implications of Cancelling a Library Subscription Database

The implications of cancelling a library subscription database

Adding an eResource is easy. The effect of cancelling the eresource subscription is not.

Retention Rates and the Librarian

Academic librarians should be involved in the discussion of retention at their educational institutions. Combine all the research about this topic with the need to demonstrate efforts to improve retention rates for the accreditation bodies, regional, national and programmatic, and you will see several threads that weave through the dialog that librarians can get involved in. Institutions, in trying to improve retention rates, have discovered they must identify, intervene and repeat the process. And they must do this fast and as soon as possible in the student’s program.

So how can the librarian help?

Up goes the cost for content - rent to view

Libraries in the future can only expect the price of content to really escalate.

The price of licensing access to an aggregator such as Ebsco, Gale, ProQuest and others can only rise – a lot more than the 3-5% annual rate we have come to know. Why?

Retrieving content with paper indexing vs. web-based indexing

Retrieving content with paper indexing vs. web based indexing: How web-based indexing has failed students

Cheri Rauser, MLIS, MA
Head of Reference Services

Standards for Higher Education Academic Libraries

Preparing for an accreditation first application or renewal starts years in advance and involves all the stakeholders  - top to bottom.  It needs an attitude of, or desire by, all levels of the institution to commit to the funds, staffing and the job ahead. It is not easy, but it is doable. I have participated in making sure the library and information technology departments of many higher education institutions do not let the greater organization down. I have been in institutions who have gone from zero to regional or national accreditation and programmatic accreditation-in some cases it took almost 10 years. I work to never be the unit of the organization that has Recommendations from the peer-review site committee. But, I think it is attitude and willingness to build a quality higher education institution, more than anything else-and it does not matter if it is private not-for- profit, or private for-profit.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Using their library data

This is finishing the discussion about the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Comparative library data. Email me for help if this all sounds like too much work and we will be glad to do this for you.  Not always, but sometimes, our educational institution client may wish The Virtual Librarian Service to express their library in a comparative tone. Comparisons may be done secretly as in competitive intelligence and reported just to the Provost, or in a self-study programmatic or accreditation report positioning what the library has or does in a certain light. You can use the NCES site to pull up data to compare your library. 

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Gathering Library Data

Our focus at The Virtual Librarian Service is the providing of management of resources and services to the solely online student, the hybrid student using the online library or the campus based student using the online library. How we describe the library in the self-study report requires many pieces of information from many organizations, but I pay attention greatly to the reporting Agencies, the USDE and the various accrediting bodies. So how the NCES gathers data and how they define things in the virtual library interests me. And sometimes before your very eyes, you can see the national trend forming or the education department reaction to changes being implemented by the education industry. Before I discus the use of the NCES academic comparative analysis tools, I am going to share what I have learned about their gathering of that data.