Demonstrating value and delivering satsifaction

Last month SLIC published the first annual Scottish FE Library survey where, in partnership with JISC RSC’s,  we scoped trends and developments in library services across the country. Our findings included the fact that most library managers are qualified librarians and colleges take a positive approach to staff development for library staff. Significantly,  where the college library has no professional librarian, learners are less likely to have access to electronic resources or induction sessions in making best use of library resources.

Now another survey report has taken this a step further in its review of student satisfaction and library provision in the UK  higher education sector. The report prepared by CIBER on behalf of Research Libraries UK analysed data from the National Student Survey and SCONUL national library statistics to uncover links with student satisfaction.

Some of its findings are very interesting and support CILIP’s advocacy for the service our members provide  and the value they add to the work of their organisations as well as our commitment to CPD in post:

  • After institutional size, the strongest predictors of overall library satisfaction are the percentage of library staff that is professionally qualified, followed by the level of library spending;
  • The strongest library predictors of overall course satisfaction were staff hours spent in (library) training per student FTE and annual loans per FTE user.

This type of analysis is set to become more important as the financial challenges and competition for budget share increases. RLUK’s report on the importance of libraries and the difference made to student satisfaction by availability of professional library staff, connects to another study being led by the University of Huddersfield (home of Information Professional of the Year, Dave Pattern) under the JISC Activity Data Programme. The aim of this project, which began last February, is to prove a statistically significant correlation between library usage and student attainment.  Due to conclude in September, CILIP in Scotland has managed to secure an ‘early indicators’ report from the Project Team who will deliver a session at our annual Conference in Glasgow on 7th June as part of the FE/HE strand. That’s one session I don’t intend to miss.  What about you?


Teens and social networks

Check out the dissertation from Danah Boyd at University of California in Berkeley,Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics available at:

Anyone with an interest in social networks will find this really fascinating stuff, Danah spent 2.5 years studying the use amongst teens in the US.

Welcome to the Scottish Information Literacy Project

Welcome everyone to the Scottish Information Literacy Project and weblog we are delighted with the help we received from the invaluable Warren Smith in IT in setting it up. Things are reasonably good at the moment as we are currently funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Many Thanks to this body for keeping the show on the road. However although we are funded until the end of September 2009, now is not too soon to be thinking about finding future funding. 

We have recently been doing our first piece of consultancy, some subcontracting work for Becta. This has proved to be very informative and it shows that Becta is becoming aware of information literacy or digital literacy as they prefer to call it.  There is also growing interest in the early years/parental involvement agenda, the role of information in these areas and media literacy which is something we are interested in having previously had contacts with Ofcom Scotland. It was also flagged up strongly when I visited Washington in October last year to meet US experts on information literacy. However I feel that, while LIS research is using educational findings, I do not think that, on the whole, the converse is true. I attended a discussion last month on a pre print about digital natives and although information literacy was discussed in the text there were no references to LIS journals or research.

Christine and I are currently scurrying about meeting employers’ organisations, the STUC, the Employability & Skills Division of the Lifelong Learning Directorate and Skills Development Scotland who are interested in the role of IL in careers guidance.  There is no doubt at all that the skills agenda is going to play a big part in the future of IL development and it is essential that it should be seen as a discrete skill and not just buried  under umbrella terms like ‘problem solving’ and ‘soft skills’. A recurring problem for us is that we have no policy formulated by our professional body (CILIP) to show them.  An issue for the Policy Forum?

I am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) which has a strong interest in vocational education and skills development.  We recently had a meeting with the RSA Outreach Officer who has agreeed to promote IL awareness among IL members.


Best wishes


John Crawford


Project Director