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What's New

Communiqué to our clients regarding the LibQual survey

In the fall of 2005, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) invited you to participate in an online survey about on-site client services at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. At that time, we promised to share the survey results once they were compiled, analyzed and evaluated. Although we are delayed in releasing the results, we are pleased to tell you that we have implemented a number of the service priorities you identified in your responses, and we continue to incorporate the improvements suggested.

The following information was compiled from the 183 respondents surveyed:

  • area of work or research: Canadian history (47%); education and training (11%); genealogy (9%); government/politics (8%); non-Canadian history (6%); society and culture (4%).
  • male (57%); female (43%).
  • largest age grouping (31 to 45 years); second-largest (46 to 65 years).
  • having a doctorate degree (44%); a master's degree (33%).
  • having permanent employment (43%); student status (30%); contract status (15%).
  • having home Internet access (91%).
  • using LAC online services weekly (42%); LAC on-site services quarterly (43%).
  • using a non-library search engine daily (75%).

Thank you once again for taking the time to complete the survey. We will continue to seek your opinion on current and planned services so that we may respond accordingly to your needs. We invite you to comment on LAC services at any time by emailing us at We look forward to ongoing dialogue with you as we improve existing LAC services and develop new ones.


What you said

What we have done, or plan to do

Survey Many of you expressed frustration with the survey instrument itself. The questions were either too library-specific or did not match your experiences and requirements well. Thus, the type of information we were seeking was not obtained in all cases We have established a Performance Measurements Working Group, which is charged with developing and implementing regular, statistically valid, robust user surveys. The group is currently evaluating options for measuring our service performance and user satisfaction so that we may design survey instruments that can better and more accurately reflect the opinions of clients regarding LAC services. We encourage you to continue to give us your comments and suggestions, which will be considered and incorporated, as resources permit, to attain our goal of improving the delivery of services to our clients.

A short questionnaire has been developed as a first step in providing LAC with a better understanding of how clients use various communication channels to obtain the information they need from LAC. The questionnaire will be distributed in spring 2007.
Access to LAC:

Hours Some commented on the current service hours. Others stressed the importance of after-hours access to key reference collections and materials, both hard-copy and electronic versions. To address user feedback in this area, in 2007, LAC will consult with clients on how to best organize our hours of service and improve service features to benefit them. We will seek advice on such matters as the quality of the current work and research environment and ways to improve how well it functions.
Materials Respondents indicated the need to make online material more available to them (e.g., finding aids, indexes and databases) and to have the option of ordering hard-copy materials online before arriving in person to do research. To provide easy access to LAC online services, the "Services to the Public" section on the LAC website includes "Preparing for a Visit." This section presents clear and user-friendly information about LAC reference services.
    We are improving user access to finding aids by launching a pilot project to automate five small finding aids. This will allow us to test the value, methodology and cost of converting finding aids to electronic format, setting the stage for larger-scale projects in the future.
    Improved access to archival material will be implemented in 2007 for clients visiting LAC. They will be able to order archival material electronically similarly to how library material is ordered on-site now. As the functionality of our automated catalogue systems improves and an online self-registration service is put in place, LAC clients will be able to order both archival and library material online before their visit.
    Another improvement in providing client access to LAC collections is the Federated Search: /fed/search.jsp?Language=eng
    This tool provides first-stop access to LAC information resources by searching both published and unpublished holdings. Launched in March 2006, Federated Search provides an integrated searching capability for primary resources, AMICUS (library catalogue), Mikan (archival descriptions) and the LAC website. Although currently offering a search capability for only a selection of information resources, it has allowed LAC to test assumptions about user needs and functionality. User feedback of Federated Search is encouraged. Once funding is secured, the next round of improvements to Federated Search will include incorporating additional databases and improving usability and functionality.
  A number of you mentioned the large backlog of Access to Information requests. We are pleased to announce that the significant backlog of Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests has been resolved. Legislated timeframes are being met for all formal ATIP requests. A key factor in this achievement was the internal reorganization of work units and the extensive cross-training of staff.
Equipment You requested the option of using digital cameras to capture information from LAC materials. Many of you also wish to scan material using portable scanners, or would like scanners available on-site. In November 2005, LAC launched a pilot project (Self-Serve Digital Copying) for six months to allow on-site clients to use their own photographic equipment (digital and non-digital cameras) and LAC microform printers/scanners to copy certain documents for the purpose of research and private study. In May 2006, this initiative became a permanent service. A detailed action plan based on input from users and staff to improve the delivery of this new service has been completed, and improvements will begin in 2007.
    Self-service "burn to CD" digital copying of microfilm is also now in place as part of the self-serve digital copying service, providing a simple and cost-effective means for copying from microfilm.
    Clients may now use an online order form to obtain photographic and digital copies of photographs, maps, artwork, etc. This service improvement has been well received.
    We are seeking more options for using new technologies to provide LAC clients with convenient and easy copying functionality for the purpose of research and private study. We are also reviewing the existing service model regarding copying and on-demand digitization services to improve the delivery of material from LAC collections.
  Clients commented on the poor condition of microfilm equipment and the lack of self-serve photocopying equipment. The current cost of photocopies was often mentioned, as was the turnaround time for photocopies supplied by staff. As funding permits, we are upgrading current equipment. Clients can now reproduce documents on microform; copies from 105-mm microfiches of maps and architectural drawings documents continue to be produced by LAC staff. Two self-serve microform rooms were merged during the renovation of the 2nd and 3rd floors, and clients now have access to a larger pool of microform reader/printers. In September 2005, costs for using self-service copiers for copying archival microforms were reduced; however, the cost of self-serve photocopiers has not changed.
    LAC successfully met the processing standard for regular photocopy orders (30-day turnaround) 98% of the time during 2005 to 2006.
Wireless Clients stated they need adequate Internet access during the day and after regular business hours. For clients using their own electronic equipment, free wireless Internet access is now available on the 2nd and 3rd floors. In the consultations to come, we will seek input on the requirement for additional computer terminals and connections for personal laptops.
Client Services:

Staff and services Many of you expressed satisfaction with the frontline staff and services at LAC. Others described some staff as less client-centred in their approach and suggested the need for improvement. Building on the internal restructuring of services last year, LAC is preparing staff for a new approach to service delivery. In addition to increasing staff awareness on the values of service, we are developing training that will be important for engaging staff in improving how we deliver our services.
  Still others expressed dissatisfaction with cumbersome internal procedures and requested that these be simplified to improve the delivery of services. Based on client input, a working group is revising consultation and circulation procedures in the newly configured 2nd and 3rd floors. The anticipated outcome is streamlined, with user-friendly processes and increased client autonomy.
  Some voiced the need for access to subject specialists. We are in the midst of implementing a new service delivery model with the objective of providing integrated reference services to LAC clients. This model seeks to ensure coordination across the institution, from reference staff to subject specialists, in responding to client reference needs. This integrated approach also involves assessing current practices and procedures to improve service delivery for our users.
    To summarize, from a user perspective, we have integrated the physical service areas at LAC and have undertaken significant and ongoing cross-training of staff. We are now beginning to examine existing work methodologies and service policies to bring about improved services to clients.
Amenities You pointed out that there are no coffee machines on the 5th floor and no fresh food available after 3 p.m. In 2007, we will consult with clients on possible improvements to our physical premises at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. We will ask for comments on convenience, hours, location and quality of services, such as those offered in the cafeteria.
  You indicated the need for quiet areas for study and learning. In February 2006, LAC launched a lengthy period of extensive renovations to the public research areas at 395 Wellington Street.
    When construction is completed, the noise level in public areas will be greatly reduced. For example, in the 3rd floor consultation area, the circulation desk will be separated from the public consultation space by glass wall enclosures and doors. This arrangement will allow staff to monitor the public space for service and security purposes while ensuring minimal disruptions to client research.
    We have reorganized the public research areas on the 2nd and 3rd floors, reflecting the integration of services following the amalgamation of our two former institutions. In 2007, we will be seeking input from clients on possible improvements to the LAC service areas at 395 Wellington Street, including the quality of work and research areas-their functionality and general environment.
  Some respondents mentioned the need for improved signage and effective directions within the building. Given the renovations on the 2nd and 3rd floors, we will work with professionals in 2007 to create signage to ensure that these public service spaces are clearly identified.

Your comments and our responses to date are part of a larger initiative set in motion recently. LAC has determined that only through regular, ongoing collaboration with our client communities will we be successful in fulfilling our mandate of being a knowledge institution.

A most important goal is to establish a LAC Services Strategy that provides a cohesive framework for providing clients with the services they expect from a national knowledge institution. In such a Services Strategy, LAC recognizes the importance of understanding the needs of clients and that they must be given opportunities to provide feedback and offer new ideas. As well, LAC must improve its communication with clients to promote a better understanding of what it is trying to accomplish through service innovation.

To achieve the above objective, LAC will undertake consultations with clients in 2007: to determine what they expect of LAC services, programs and products; to identify gaps in current services; to validate proposed service improvements; and to build capacity within LAC to include all clientele in service improvement planning.

Consultations with both clients and staff will provide the opportunity to ask the right questions and to listen to the responses before making decisions. These consultations will help LAC determine where resources should be allocated to increase client satisfaction. They will also elicit ideas for ongoing consultations and surveys that will contribute to the continued relevance of LAC and its flexibility in responding to the changing needs of its clients.

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