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An investigation into the effect of
increased tuition fees on the attitudes and
opinions of UK academic library staff
towa...
REASONS FOR THE DISSERTATION TOPIC
 Worked in academic libraries since 2011.
 £9K tuition fees – common topic.
 Nationa...
RESEARCH AIMS
1 – How do library staff feel about students being
considered consumers?
2 – Have Library Managers made chan...
METHODOLOGY
 Qualitative mixed-methods approach.
 4 x interviews with Library Managers.
 2 x focus groups with Library ...
SAMPLE
Name Age Size Research
University A 1900s 9,000 Interview only
University B 1920s 17,000 Interview and focus group
...
DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
16-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 66+
Library
Assistants
Library
Managers
Age of parti...
DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE
0
1
2
3
4
5
<1 year. 1-5 years. 6-10
years.
11-15
years.
16-20
years.
21 years+
Library Assistan...
DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
None
GCSE
Alevel
Bachelors
degree
Masters
degree
PhD
Other.
Library
Assistants
L...
HOW DO LIBRARY STAFF FEEL ABOUT
STUDENTS BEING CONSIDERED CONSUMERS?
 Majority of participants felt students have higher
...
HOW TO LIBRARY STAFF FEEL ABOUT
STUDENTS BEING CONSIDERED CONSUMERS?
 Varied opinions about the term “customer”
 General...
HAVE LIBRARY MANAGERS MADE CHANGES
AS A RESULT OF THE INCREASED FEES?
 Increased competition to attract students.
 “Stud...
DO LIBRARY STAFF FEEL THEIR ROLES
/WORKING LIVES HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED?
 Increase in complaints/confrontational situations...
HAVE LIBRARY MANAGERS RESPONDED TO
ANY IMPACT ON THEIR STAFF?
 LMs placed great importance on staff training – but more
d...
LIMITATIONS
 Limited to London and the South-East.
 Research was conducted during autumn term –
many libraries were too ...
QUESTIONS?
marion.harris@gold.ac.uk
@M_InTheLibrary
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An Investigation into the Effect of Increased Tuition Fees on the Attitudes and Opinions of UK Academic Library Staff Towards Their Customers and Their Roles - Marion Harris

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Presented at LISDIS 2015, Saturday 15 November 2015

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An Investigation into the Effect of Increased Tuition Fees on the Attitudes and Opinions of UK Academic Library Staff Towards Their Customers and Their Roles - Marion Harris

  1. 1. An investigation into the effect of increased tuition fees on the attitudes and opinions of UK academic library staff towards their customers and their roles. Marion Harris Goldsmiths College, University of London A dissertation submitted as part of Aberystwyth University’s MSc(Econ) Information and Library studies programme, supervised by Dr. Judith Broady-Preston and Prof. David Ellis.
  2. 2. REASONS FOR THE DISSERTATION TOPIC  Worked in academic libraries since 2011.  £9K tuition fees – common topic.  National Student Survey – increasingly important.  Decided to take library staff angle.
  3. 3. RESEARCH AIMS 1 – How do library staff feel about students being considered consumers? 2 – Have Library Managers made changes to their services as a result of the increased fees? 3 – Do library staff feel their roles /working lives have been influenced by the increased fees? 4 – Have Library Managers responded to any impact the increased tuition fees have had on their staff?
  4. 4. METHODOLOGY  Qualitative mixed-methods approach.  4 x interviews with Library Managers.  2 x focus groups with Library Assistants (5 and 6 participants).  Semi-structured questioning.  Short demographic questionnaire.
  5. 5. SAMPLE Name Age Size Research University A 1900s 9,000 Interview only University B 1920s 17,000 Interview and focus group University C 1960s 11,000 Interview and focus group University D 1990s 12,000 Interview only
  6. 6. DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 16-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 66+ Library Assistants Library Managers Age of participants
  7. 7. DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE 0 1 2 3 4 5 <1 year. 1-5 years. 6-10 years. 11-15 years. 16-20 years. 21 years+ Library Assistants Library Managers Participants' lengths of experience in the academic library sector
  8. 8. DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 None GCSE Alevel Bachelors degree Masters degree PhD Other. Library Assistants Library Managers Participants' highest level of qualification
  9. 9. HOW DO LIBRARY STAFF FEEL ABOUT STUDENTS BEING CONSIDERED CONSUMERS?  Majority of participants felt students have higher expectations.  Reluctance around added costs.  Demands themselves are not new but students are more confident in campaigning.  Concerns about “entitlement”.
  10. 10. HOW TO LIBRARY STAFF FEEL ABOUT STUDENTS BEING CONSIDERED CONSUMERS?  Varied opinions about the term “customer”  General feeling that the role of the library is educational, not transactional.  Sympathy towards the financial difficulties facing today’s students  Students appear to be more motivated since the fees increase.
  11. 11. HAVE LIBRARY MANAGERS MADE CHANGES AS A RESULT OF THE INCREASED FEES?  Increased competition to attract students.  “Student experience” mantra.  Increased focus on NSS results - useful for funding bids e.g. 24-hour opening (LMs).  All 4 libraries had/about to have major investment.  Other factors: changing pedagogical styles, growth of e-resources.
  12. 12. DO LIBRARY STAFF FEEL THEIR ROLES /WORKING LIVES HAVE BEEN INFLUENCED?  Increase in complaints/confrontational situations (LAs).  Essential elements of library work fairly constant.  Changes to working life more often due to other factors.
  13. 13. HAVE LIBRARY MANAGERS RESPONDED TO ANY IMPACT ON THEIR STAFF?  LMs placed great importance on staff training – but more due to digital transition that increased fees.  At one university LAs felt that since the fees increase their university had cut back training for support staff to focus on teaching and learning.
  14. 14. LIMITATIONS  Limited to London and the South-East.  Research was conducted during autumn term – many libraries were too busy to take part.  Only small/medium sized, 20th century universities included.  One focus group participant was lost due to a work-related problem.
  15. 15. QUESTIONS? marion.harris@gold.ac.uk @M_InTheLibrary

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