Some CSE Survey Results

April 20, 2008

I am currently finishing up final edits on my research paper on computer self-efficacy in academic library workers. It is now titled – Computer Self-Efficacy and the Academic Library Employee: An Examination of Their Relationship (and yes, titles are not my forte). Several people have asked about reading the paper and getting the results. I’m not quite ready to share the paper (but will share with those who asked to see it after the semester is over – and possibly after grades are in). However, I do want to publicly share the findings from the survey.

The following tables give the mean computer self-efficacy levels for those demographic variables that turned out to be major determinants. Some notes: SD stands for standard deviation; Total # is the total population for that category and # is the total percentage of the entire population (which is 167).

Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Technical Support Model
Category Mean SD High Low Total # %
Entire Population 153.29 16.06 179 81 167 100
Library Systems Support 151.3 16.93 179 111 81 48.5
Combined Library/IT Support 155.08 11.51 172 126 24 14.37
IT Support 154.9 16.03 178 81 41 24.55
Vendor Support 147 n/a 147 147 1 0.6
No Formal Support 135.67 34.15 173 106 3 1.8
Other Means of Tech Support 157.75 6.02 163 150 4 2.4
Multiple Means of Support 160.23 10.65 177 142 13 7.78


Compute Self-Efficacy Levels by Age

Age Mean SD High Low Total # %
20-29 Years of Age 156.92 10.05 171 134 50 29.94
30-39 Years of Age 153.74 15.18 179 111 68 40.72
40-49 Years of Age 155.51 16.54 175 115 29 17.37
50-59 Years of Age 140.07 28.37 179 81 15 8.98
>60 Years of Age 137.8 16.81 167 126 5 2.99


Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Sex

Sex Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
Female 154.03 15.52 179 81 137 82.04
Male 149.93 18.27 171 123 30 17.96


Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Educational Attainment

Degree Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
High School Degree 156 16.44 174 126 7 4.19
Bachelors Degree 156.6 11.93 177 141 25 14.97
Masters Degree 152.57 16.85 179 81 129 77.25
Doctorate 152 14.64 175 135 6 3.59


Computer Self-Efficacy Level by MLS or Equivalent

MLS or Equivalent Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
Library School 155.48 10.09 171 135 16 9.58
No MLS 155.57 14.06 177 126 21 12.57
MLS or Equivalent 152.66 16.96 179 81 130 77.84


Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Length of Career

Length of Career Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
<10 Years 154.18 15.64 179 81 108 64.67
10-19 Years 154.63 14.48 178 125 41 24.55
20-29 Years 148 18.7 176 123 12 7.19
30-39 Years 139 25.88 167 106 5 2.99
>40 Years 137 0 137 137 1 0.6


Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Job Classification

Job Classification Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
Library Assistant 152.71 15.23 177 126 38 22.75
Other 156.83 9.5 168 147 6 3.59
Professional Librarian 153.3 16.63 179 81 123 73.65

 Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Job Satisfaction

Job Satisfaction Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
Extremely Satisified 160.44 11.27 179 125 36 26.28
Mostly Satisfied 152.9 15.98 179 81 98 58.68
Neither Satisf. Nor Unsatisf. 137.33 19.86 171 106 9 5.38
Somewhat Unsatisfied 151.32 16.53 175 111 22 13.17
Unsatisfied 137.5 0.71 138 137 2 1.2


Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Computer Experience

Computer Experience Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
Extremely Experienced 162.7 11.08 179 131 50 29.94
Much Experience 152.42 14.03 177 115 96 57.49
Some Experience 134.9 18.07 163 81 21 12.57
Little Experience 0 0 0 0 0 0
No Experience 0 0 0 0 0 0


Computer Self-Efficacy Levels by Computer Training

Computer Training Mean S.D. High Low Total # %
No Training 154.81 16.71 179 106 36 21.56
Training 152.88 15.92 179 81 131 78.44

The Cutest Library-Theft Story Ever

March 18, 2008

What ever happened to the check-out cards left in the back of your books when the library automated? Did they become an “Object of Desire”? Check out this story of a library where these cards became something of interest to some 2nd and 3rd graders and the theft ring that formed around these cards. Warning – this story made me chuckle.

The Library Website: More Than A Conundrum

March 18, 2008

After several years of working in library systems, I have come to the conclusion that the most challenging, difficult and frustrating part of my job comes from the fact that I am responsible for my library’s website – and assorted web-based systems. Currently, the college where I work is in the midst of both a website redesign and a migration to a content management system. Because of this, the usual love/hate relationship that I have with this part of my job responsibilities is more of a hate/hate relationship – which has created vast amounts of stress, some questioning of my career choice and eye strain from spending too much time looking at code. This is all a rather large headache that is consuming almost every waking moment of my life (except for that which is being consumed by my ILS680-Evaluation & Research project). I have been spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort on producing something that may well be inherently flawed.

After all, how can we build effective library websites when we have little understanding of what this even entails? Can we ever have effective online presences when we piece together disparate systems and fit them into existing architectures? Do we know what our goal is? I have been wrestling with these questions for a long time, and it scares me to admit that I don’t have a good idea of how to start answering them. For me, website design, creation and management seem like add-ons or secondary responsibilities. I do general maintenance on a regular basis and spend more time doing design or creation when we add new systems or services. However, it isn’t until outside forces converge in the form of a college-wide-website-redesign project that I spend any significant time on the library website. And even then, this process seems to be one where I try desperately to carve out a niche for the library website from a project that is driven by forces with vastly different needs and goals. Thus, the end result is flawed before it even comes to fruition.

So, this is where my head is at right now. I’m immersed in carving out a niche from a market-driven redesign project with templates that were not created with the library in mind. I’ve been trying to figure out where to go from here – how to figure out the right way to move forward. Fortunately, a post from Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog, An effective web presence?, offered some insight. There is a link in this post to a Library Web Consultancy document prepared by the University College Dublin Library. The library wants to get a sense of the context into which the library website should fit. This is a step they are taking in advance of even thinking about a redesign project. They are hoping to understand their entire online environment and how the library fits into it. They are also trying to figure out how they want their website to work for 2-3 years into any redesign. This seems like a very well thought out project that aims to truly figure out how to design an effective online presence. I can only hope that the people at the University College Dublin continue to post information about the process. I know that I could learn quite a bit from what they find out – and maybe, in time, come to embrace my website job responsibilities.

For The Love Of MARC

February 11, 2008

Today, I felt very librarian-y. I spent hours downloading, uploading, importing, exporting and editing MARC files, tweaking settings and then going through the process all over again. I might have had some trouble trying to keep my head from exploding (but that might also be because my cell phone/PDA DIED), but know that librarianship can’t get much better. Ok, I admit to being a bit sarcastic. Actually, I did enjoy mucking around with the MARC records once I was able to get all of the settings right. I don’t really want to admit that the settings might not be right and that I won’t find out until sometime tomorrow. Big sighs!!!!!!

Finally, A Much Better Discussion

January 27, 2008

Library 2.0 – what does the term really mean? Honestly, I’ve followed the discussions in the library world for the past couple of years pretty closely, and I still have no idea. Neither do I think it is important to actually have a hard and fast definition. It is a label that I suspect means many different things to many different people – and should have different meanings. While I think that some of the discussions that have taken place around Library 2.0 have been important, I was extremely bothered by the subtle thread of hostility that often crept into the debates. There seemed to be some unspoken belief that Library 2.0 would save libraries and that if your weren’t on board, you would be contributing to the demise of the library. The 2.0 concept seemed to be one that had the ability to divide the library world into two separate camps rather than helping librarians work together to solve real problems.

To me, the recent discussions taking place about Library 2.0 are much more important. They are real, more honest – and I think they offer a better glimpse of reality in today’s library world.

Some of the posts:

Ponytailed Young Men And Older Women Librarians – Bad Mojo?

January 16, 2008

My boss sent me a link to an article from the January 18, 2008 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education – “Strains and Joys Color Mergers Between Libraries and Tech Units” by Andrea L. Foster (Section: Money & Management, Volume 54, Issue 19, Page A1). As a systems librarian, this is a subject that is of great interest to me. Despite the fact that I do not work in an institution with a combined IT/library department, I know that I can learn something from the successes and failures in this arena – and be prepared for any discussions that may come up at my place of work.

The article was an interesting read. The bottom line is that sometimes such mergers are succcesful, but sometimes are not. More often than not, these mergers seem to happen at smaller and less complex institutions. The mergers are not a cost-saving move. Usually, the library is absorbed into the IT organizational unit and the chief librarian position is eliminated. Librarians are often quite apprehensive about such mergers, and books seem to be the biggest loser. There is often an underlying assumption that books are becoming less important to the academic mission. Many are usually moved to make room for “information commons” areas.

The most interesting part of the article, however, was a discussion about a highly problematic merger at Gettysburg College. Foster writes:

Tensions arose when technology workers, ponytailed young men, began sharing the same office space with librarians, most of whom were older women, said Ms. Wagner. According to her account, the men brought in a huge microwave, were slobs, had messy cords dangling from equipment and said they worked much harder than the librarians who left work at 4:30 and took breaks throughout the day.

Yikes! This definitely doesn’t sound like a successful venture. The account gave me a rather comical vision of shushing-type, bun-wearing, librarians having their space invaded by food-stained microwave ovens covered in cords behind and odd young men with long hair. Sounds like a big no, no to me.

Library Musings From A Six-Year Old

November 9, 2007

Tonight, I celebrated my birthday (which isn’t until Monday) with my family – my husband, my mother, my father, my brother, my sister in law, my 8 yr old nephew, my 6 yr old niece and 2 yr old nephew. It was a rather loud and boisterous evening. We had pizza for dinner – which is my favorite meal. I even got a special present (beyond my Amazon gift certificates) – a panda WebKinz that I have named Freddie – from my niece and nephews. It was a wonderful evening.

However, I had a very interesting conversation with my niece and nephew early in the evening. I had helped my brother create email accounts for the two oldest kids. They were ecstatic about getting their own email accounts. After my nephew sent me an email from his new account, he added me to his address book. He was adamant about filling in all of the personal information about the contact. I gave him my middle name, address, and phone number. Then, he got to the professional information. He wanted to know where I worked and what my title was. When I said that I worked in a library, my niece turned to me with wide eyes and said “That must be why you are so smart, Aunty Jen – because you work in a library with all those books.”

I was flattered that the kids think I’m smart, but was a bit taken aback by their comments. It is really interesting to hear opinions of the library from the very young. To them, the library is a magical, and somewhat mystical, place. It is a place filled with books that invite them to explore new worlds. Above all, it is a wonderful place where they love to go. They can’t quite verbalize that they see the library as a place of knowledge, but that is indeed how they see it. It was a fascinating conversation. They were incredibly impressed that I am a librarian. I think that I needed a bit of a reminder that the library is indeed a magical place. This reminder really could not have come at a better time. Wow, what a neat birthday gift!