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3.8.3 Qualified Staff

The institution provides a sufficient number of qualified staff— with appropriate education or experiences in library and/or other learning/information resources—to accomplish the mission of the institution.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

All members of the University Libraries (on and off-campus locations) serving Prairie View A&M University have appropriate education and experience to accomplish the mission of the University in "extending knowledge in all disciplines offered and incorporating research-based experiences in both undergraduate and graduate students' academic development" [1].


Staffing Levels
The professional librarians hold those credentials required for their current appointments, following the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL): Statement on the Terminal Professional Degree for Academic Librarians, which recognizes the master’s degree in library science from a library school program accredited by the American Library Association as the appropriate terminal professional degree for academic librarians [2]. The library adheres to Texas A&M System Regulation 33.99.01: Employment Practices and also to University procedures for recruitment, interviewing and selection of candidates and employees [3] [4].

At the end of the FY2008, Prairie View A&M had a total of fifteen qualified professional librarians holding either the M.L.S. or M.L.I.S. degrees. This includes twelve full-time Professional Librarians in the John B. Coleman Library; two professional librarians serving as Departmental Librarians for Music and Nursing; and one professional librarian serving at the Distance Learning site on the Northwest Campus [5]. The Library Director and Head of Reference and Information Services hold Ph.D. degrees in addition to their Master's degrees, and one Reference Librarian holds a J.D. as well. Since FY2000, when only seven degreed librarians worked at the University, the number of professional librarians has more than doubled. As recently as FY 2006, the university employed just twelve professional librarians. The increases in staffing keep pace with growth in student populations and degree programs.

The professional librarians at PVAMU maintain memberships and actively participate in professional associations at the local, state, and national levels, by attending conferences, workshops, and seminars.  From 2006 to 2009, such associations included the Texas Library Association (TLA), the Texas Council of Academic Librarians (TCAL), the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Library Association of and Management and Administration (LAMA), the Association for Technical Services and Collections (ATSC), the Library Technology Association (LTA), the Society of Archivists, the Association of 1890s Libraries' Deans and Directors, and the HBCU Library Alliance. They are also regularly invited to facilitate workshops, present papers and poster sessions at both state and national conferences, participate in continuing education institutes, and serve on Advisory Boards. Some have also published in peer-reviewed professional journals in the discipline [6].

In keeping with American Library Association (ALA) standards, two full-time professional staff members for Library Art Collections and Library Development hold appropriate graduate education and experience for their positions, M.A. degrees, and one librarian with a Bachelor's of Library Science serves off-campus for the College of Nursing [7]. At the end of FY 2008, thirteen library support staff (one administrative secretary, five Library Assistant I, and seven Library Assistant II) were employed, with an additional vacancy for another Library Assistant II [5].


Adequacy of Staffing Levels
Two measures can be used to determine whether or not library staffing is sufficient: 1) the 1995 formula proposed in Standards for College Libraries by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) formula and 2) comparisons to peer groups as recommended in June 2004 by the ACRL [8] [9].

According to the 1995 ACRL formula for calculating sufficient librarian staffing, Prairie View A&M qualifies for a "C" rating. Based on student enrollment, volumes held, and volumes acquired or withdrawn each year, the University would need twenty-three professional librarians to reach 100% of the formula; with fifteen on staff, the Library meets 65% of the formula [10]. This is sufficient to accomplish the current mission of the institution, but going forward, as the University continues to add faculty and programs and to increase enrollment, new professional librarian positions must be created to keep pace with the challenges and demands of a research curriculum. Four positions, in Collection Development, Digital Services, Periodicals and Government Documents and Special Collections, are currently vacant, and when those are filled, the Library will meet 82% of the 1995 ACRL professional librarian staffing formula for a "B" rating.

The Association of College and Research Libraries further recommended in 1995 that at least 65% of all library employees hold positions as support staff [8]. Thirty-two non-administrative positions were available at the end of FY 2008, which means that by traditional ACRL standards, Prairie View A&M should have twenty-one support staff, seven more than currently employed. With the addition of four more professional librarians, the ratio of support staff will fall even lower. The addition of support staff, particularly for distance education sites like the Northwest Center and College of Nursing, is planned for FY 2009 and 2010.

As a second measure of staffing sufficiency, institutions can look at comparisons to peer groups both in and out of state as recommended by ACLR in 2004. To perform these comparisons, the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is utilized—in this case, FY 2006 reports released in October 2008. Peer and benchmark data on the number of librarians and other professional library staff show that Prairie View A&M was ahead of peer institutions both in and out of state but below the 1890s Land-Grant College, state, and national averages. These comparisons further show that staffing levels are sufficient but could be improved. Data below reflect total library staffing per 1,000 FTE [11] [12] [13].

Prairie View A&M

State
Average

National Average

In-State Peer Comparison

Out-of-State Peer Comparison

1890s  Comparison

2.08

3.18

7.36

1.98

1.67

3.28



Assessment of Library Staff
The John B. Coleman Library monitors the effectiveness of the library staff in providing services, instruction, and resources on a regular basis, including the administration of two annual library satisfaction surveys: The User Satisfaction Survey for students and the Faculty Satisfaction Survey. The results serve as indicators of how well the goals and objectives are met in support of the mission of the University.

In 2004, the User Satisfaction survey found that over 60% of respondents agreed that the library staff was always "friendly and courteous in their interactions" with patrons and another 25% felt the staff was generally friendly and courteous. Over 50% felt that the staff always "have the knowledge and expertise to help" patrons and another 33% responded that staff generally were knowledgeable [14]. In later versions of the User Satisfaction survey, questions asked about feelings towards the hours, staff, and resources as a whole in different library departments, making it hard to quantify attitudes towards personnel specifically. A sample of the revised survey used from 2007 forward is available below [15].

In 2008, the Faculty Satisfaction Survey included questions specifically about the quality of the librarians and staff. In this iteration of the survey, faculty were presented with fifteen statements with which they could agree or disagree about library service, facilities, and resources [16]. The top three statements with which faculty agreed all dealt with personnel rather than the other two categories: "The staff are helpful when I request assistance," "I'm satisfied with the service I receive at the Coleman Library," and "The Coleman Library staff are knowledgeable" [17].

Overall, both students and faculty of Prairie View A&M University report very positive impressions of the service and knowledge of the Library personnel, which further reinforces the qualifications of the librarians and professional staff.


Supporting Documentation and Links


Comprehensive Standards 3.8.3

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