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NSU Libraries' Student Survey 2016: Law

Panza Maurer Law Library - Student Survey 2016

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81 students completed the survey for the Panza Maurer Law Library.

Question 1

28 1L students, 21 2L students, 23 3L students, 4 4L students, 1 Master’s Degree in Law student, and 4 students in other programs completed the survey.

Question 2

Students were asked how often they engaged in various activities at the law library.  Greater than 50% of students indicated that they make use of the law library’s catalog, online resources (Westlaw, Lexis Advance, HeinOnline, etc.), reference services, copiers, printers, study rooms, circulating materials, social and study spaces, and faculty reserve books, either once per term, once a month, once a week, or more than once a week.  Students use the law library for its online resources and printers in the highest frequency.  Students use the law library to study with friends and socialize in the next highest frequency.

Question 3

When asked what the law library can do to provide a more comfortable and useful space, students indicated that the work space in the law library is in need of improvement.  Students requested additional chairs and tables, working outlets, noise reduction, fresh paint, new carpet, better lighting, thermal comfort, and restrictions on use of the study space.

Renovation of the law library, which will be completed this summer, addresses the work space concerns mentioned by the students. 

The third floor of the law library is used as an event space for the College of Law.  Students are concerned about noise in this area, relocation of furniture, and inaccessibility of the space when events are scheduled.

The concerns regarding the event space are being addressed by the renovation of other parts of the law library and additional study rooms.  The law library staff will continue to observe use of the space following the renovation and will help students identify quiet study areas.

Students requested that the law library provide extended hours during the academic year.  The law library offers extended hours for bar study, prior to the February and July bar examinations, which accommodates this need, though the law library is not open earlier than 8 a.m.  The law library tracks the number of patrons who utilize extended hours, and usage statistics are available upon request.

Students were concerned about students in other programs using available study space at the law library during final exams.  In response, the law library has designated areas that are restricted to law students during final exams.  This concern may also be eased by the renovation and additional study rooms.

Students were concerned about the law library’s printers and replenishment of paper by law library staff.  The law library is addressing these concerns with additional training for staff and better signage to indicate service points in the law library.

Question 4

When asked whether the law library provides students with appropriate resources to be successful in school, many students indicated that the law library does provide them with appropriate resources, and when resources are not available, staff is friendly and available to help students locate needed resources.  Students mentioned that they would like additional study guide materials.  The law library subscribes to an online study aid subscription, accessible to each student remotely and simultaneously, and provides a print study guide collection and a student collection with updated titles and additional copies.  The law library’s collection development committee is considering additional access to study guide materials as well as changes to loan rules.  Students are encouraged to share their title recommendations with the librarians.

Students requested improvements to the work space and printing.  These concerns are being addressed as mentioned above.

Question 5

When students were asked how important it is for the law library to focus on (1) an easier way to search the main catalog and article databases; (2) a redesigned and simplified website; (3) increased digital access to unique or rare primary source materials; (4) functional and aesthetic improvements to library study spaces; and (5) an easier or more effective way to find full text journal information after finding a citation, more than 40% of the students responded that each of these areas were “very important” to them.

In response to these focus areas, the law library participates on the NSU Libraries WebOPAC committee, which evaluates the main catalog and implements changes that improve access to databases and journals.  The law library has expanded its technical services department to improve access to materials.  The law library has created a campus guide, which is linked to its website, to provide critical and timely information to students, and it will continue to make improvements to its website.  The law library continues to expand digital access to primary source materials as part of its ongoing collection development efforts and focus on increased digital access to library resources.  As mentioned, renovation of the law library is a positive response to student concerns regarding functional and aesthetic improvements to library study space, which was valued as “very important” by more than 77% of student respondents.

Question 6

When students were asked what factors would influence them to use the law library more, the factors with the highest relative frequency were (1) more comfortable seating (76.54%); (2) quiet study (62.96%); and (3) additional group study rooms (59.26%).  In comments, students echoed their previously mentioned concerns regarding the law library’s work space.

Question 7

Students were asked to rate their satisfaction with the law library in 12 areas.  Of the criteria, in person law librarian assistance was rated with the highest frequency of satisfaction and usage, with more than 77% of students indicating satisfaction and only 7.41% of students reporting that they did not use reference services or found them not applicable.  Students were generally satisfied with all criteria, but there was a small percentage of students who indicated dissatisfaction (greater than 10%) with law library hours and the law library’s webpage.  As mentioned, library hours are extended regularly to support bar study; and all students benefit.  The law library has plans to develop and improve its webpage.

Question 8

When asked if there is anything law library staff is doing that has made students particularly happy or has been helpful to them, students responded that the librarians provide friendly and helpful research assistance and the circulation staff provides courteous and helpful service.  A small number of students indicated that the law library had not provided the exemplary service that it strives toward.

Question 9

When students were asked if there was anything the law library could do to improve the Panza Maurer Law Library, they again mentioned improvements to the work space, chairs, tables, study rooms, temperature, library hours, quiet space, printers, and loan period for popular items.  These items are being addressed as mentioned above.

Question 10

When asked about the type of computer they used, more than 60% of students indicated that they use a MAC (OS X).

Question 11

When asked whether they use a library in addition to the law library, 42 students, slightly more than half of the students, reported using the Alvin Sherman Library in addition to the law library.  Less than 20 students indicated that they use the Health Professions Division Library, Broward County Library, or an alternative public or academic library.  35 students identified the law library as the only library they use as an NSU student.

Question 12

When asked why they use a library in addition to the law library, students indicated that they did so for a more comfortable work space with more available study rooms and a reservation system.  The law library has plans to implement an online reservation system for study rooms.  A few students indicated that they use another library because of its proximity to home.

Question 13 & 14

Greater than 95% of students who responded to the survey were from the College of Law, attending classes on the Davie campus.

Summary

While students called for improvements to the work space in the law library, renovation will be completed this summer in response to those concerns.  The renovation plan includes additional study rooms.  The law library will continue to assess the collection to make sure it meets the needs of students.  A largescale deaccessioning project was recently completed to improve the quality of the collection.  The collection development policy has been revised to reflect changes in legal education, and new titles are added regularly to support the curriculum.  The collection supports on-campus and distance students in all programs at the College of Law as well as students in other NSU programs who engage in interdisciplinary research.  Additionally, there is a growing practitioner collection to support alumni from the College of Law and NSU.  Training is available on all library resources and librarians are available to provide library, classroom, and remote instruction.

The results of the survey indicated that students appreciate the law library’s student-centered approach to library services.  In addition to reference services, librarians provide instruction as guest lecturers in law school courses.  Librarians also teach Advanced Legal Research Techniques, online and face-to-face, as part of the law school curriculum, and the director of the law library teaches Advanced Legal Research Techniques and courses in both the Master’s in Law and JD programs.  Participating in law school courses, programs, and events, supporting law school departments and working closely with law faculty, and teaching, allows the law library to play an important part in the student experience.  The law library will continue to provide additional opportunities for information literacy instruction to students by working with the College of Law and campus libraries to provide exceptional resources and services.