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University of Wollongong Australia

History of the Library: Our quality journey

An archive of the historical milestones reached by UOW Library since 1972 in words and pictures

Our Quality journey - Total Quality Management at the UOW Library


We introduced a formal TQM program in 1994.

Prior to 1994, planned organisational change and development achieved a cultural, structural and staffing framework which includes most of the elements fundamental to the success of TQM. Having achieved large-scale change, it was timely to consider a longer-term management program, more appropriate to the current environment, which would continue to facilitate improvement in every aspect of the Library's operations.

Our TQM program is entitled Quality, Service, Excellence (QSE).

The initial objectives developed for the program are described below:

  1. Develop excellent Library services through the implementation of a total quality management program to be entitled: Quality, Service, Excellence
  2. Develop a systematic approach to documenting the improvements in client service which have been achieved to date, as well as providing a basis for measuring future improvements.

Since then, the understanding and application of TQM has matured, with the principles of business excellence acting as the key drivers for the Quality, Service, Excellence program.

Over the past decade the Library has used the principles of continuous improvement and business excellence to:

  • Systematise planning, project management and process improvement
  • Reposition services in a dynamic and global environment
  • Develop awareness of the individuals needs and expectations of stakeholders and clients
  • Establish systems and opportunities for staff to contribute to the fullest extent through their capacity to learn and innovate

This is our Quality. Service. Excellence journey.


  • Strategic planning commenced in 1986 and a long-term vision of the Library and library services was formulated with the creation of the Prospect 2001 document.
  • Experimentation with various management models resulted in a team-based organisational structure.
  • Creation of a staff training and development committee in 1988 to ensure staff had the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills and to facilitate workplace flexibility and effectiveness.
  • Performance management introduced for all staff.


  • The formal approach to quality commenced. The Quality, Service, Excellence program was launched by its sponsor, the Deputy University Librarian.
  • A series of interviews and focus groups was designed to establish baseline data relating to staff and client perceptions and included:
    • the services sought from the Library by each major client group
    • the service attributes considered important by each major client group and their relative ranking
    • the Library's performance against client expectations
    • the Library's performance against that of any perceived competitors
  • The data gathered during both sets of interviews was analysed and reported. Predictably, the Library's performance in meeting the need for resources was not rated highly and was a challenging issue to address, requiring innovative strategies to overcome traditional barriers.
  • All staff attended training courses in TQM awareness with an introduction to tools and techniques. Fifteen staff members received additional training as group facilitators with a more intensive look at techniques. One of their responsibilities was to guide and train other staff as required.
  • Priority areas for improvement were identified including: streamlining the process of suggestions for purchase; profiling information needs and improving access to database information across the campus; and improving the orderliness of shelves to enhance the speed and accuracy of shelving.
  • A survey was developed, based on the priorities identified by the client focus groups, which was used to measure future improvements in service delivery against this original benchmark.
  • TQM was progressively incorporated into all the Library's planning, processes and documentation.


  • As part of the Quality, Service, Excellence program the Library deemed 1995 as "The Year of the Client". A standing committee on Client Service was formed. Activities included:
    • a launch of Year of the Client for Library staff.
    • "Our Commitment to Service" booklet developed with input from all Library staff, outlining service standards.
    • Updating "An Introduction to Quality Client Service at the University of Wollongong Library" booklet, given to all staff, outlining information on quality client service.
    • Compliments/Comments/Complaints forms were developed to enable internal and external clients to give feedback.
    • Client Service Award established.
    • Client survey developed and implemented.
  • Quality improvement teams were formed to address major issues identified by clients in 1995. Teams exercised their new TQM skills with techniques including brainstorming, surveys, data collection, cause and effect diagrams, graphs and analysis. Three major processes were investigated:
    • Shelving speed and accuracy
    • Improved access to database information across campus
    • Suggestions for purchase
  • Agreement was reached on the principles by which Library staff would work together in achieving Library goals. A collaborative approach, involving all staff resulted in the following value statements:
    • Client Focus
    • Knowledge
    • Planning
    • Cooperation
    • Continuous Improvement
    • Staff
    • Teamwork
    • Leadership
  • Changes in scholarly information, information technology and higher education resulted in a rewrite of the inaugural vision document Prospect 2001, called Prospect 2005. The revised document provided the roadmap for developing the Library's ability to take advantage of change opportunities in order to provide the best possible support for learning and research for the University community.


  • Quality Improvement teams explored:
    • Improved access to the Reserve Collection
    • Improved access to serials
    • Purchasing and accessing multimedia
    • Utilisation of space within the Library
    • Communication
  • To ensure all staff were equipped to develop the skills required for the effective delivery of the Quality, Service, Excellence program, a core skills training program was established for all staff.
    • Client service skills training
    • Telephone training
    • Total Quality Awareness training
    • Team Building Training
  • A Performance Indicator framework was established which included 5 Critical Success Factors (CSFs): Client Service Satisfaction, Effective Support for Research, Teaching and Learning, Effective/Efficient Resource Management, Innovation and Staff Wellbeing.
  • The Staff Perceptions Survey was developed and distributed to all Library staff to measure Staff Wellbeing and to determine staff's acceptance and perceived integration of the Library's vision, mission and values.
  • Organisational self assessment activities commenced using the Australian Quality Council's assessment criteria: Leadership, Strategy, Policy and Planning, Information and Analysis, People, Customer Focus, Quality of Process, Product and Service and Organisational Performance.
  • Integration of the AQC's principles of excellence was recognised by winning an Australian Quality Award for Achievement in Business Excellence. The University of Wollongong Library was one of only two libraries in Australia to receive this level of recognition. A feedback report was received from the Australian Quality Council and opportunities for improvement were incorporated into the planning process.


  • Reporting formats were modified to better reflect the Critical Success Factors.
  • An E Team (enterprising students) (year 11 students from Corrimal High School), investigated, analysed and offered recommendations for improvement on the process of returning items from the Returns Room to the Main Lending collection. The team used a variety of quality tools throughout the project for analysis and problem-solving.
  • Benchmarking activities commenced; with one project linked to academic libraries and the other to Quality Award winning organisations. The Acquisitions Orders team was successful in a grant application to study the acquisitions process. The Australian Quality Council invited the Library to participate in a national benchmarking network 'Leading and Managing Improvement and Change'. A number of award winners participated in the study.


  • With the appointment of a new University Librarian in 1997, the Library Executive Committee was restructured.
  • A significant outcome of the Executive team building process was the identification of an Ideal Culture. The process was inclusive of all staff and had the added benefit of revising the values first developed in 1995. The new values are:
    • Satisfied Clients
    • Open Communication
    • Integrity
    • Commitment
    • Initiative
    • Partnerships
    • Knowledge and Learning
  • A Strategic Realignment Team was formed to investigate the merits of outsourcing information resources. Key outcomes of the investigation included several internal improvements. Recommendations included streamlining of processes, elimination of non-value adding activities and proposed new workflows for acquisition, processing and cataloguing functions.
  • The Staff Perceptions Survey was repeated. The results indicated improvement occurred across the key areas that were targeted as outcomes of the previous survey.
  • A new workshop, TQM Plus, was prepared and covered basic data collection and analysis techniques. The workshop provided instruction in statistical functions and calculations and problem solving techniques.
  • Effectiveness of Staff Training and Development was evaluated against the Investors in People Standard, an internationally recognised standard used to measure the integration of staff training and development principles and practices within an organisation and their relationship to business outcomes.
  • A survey was developed to measure the Library's ability to meet the Information and Reference Desk service needs of clients. The survey design was influenced by focus groups with clients which deployed the critical incidents of service methodology to ensure issues important to clients were incorporated into the final survey instrument.
  • Organisational Self Assessment, based on the principles of the Australian Business Excellence Framework was conducted again with all staff.
  • An application for recognition at award level in the Australian Quality Awards for Business Excellence was largely founded on the results of the self assessment and other evaluation strategies that had been deployed to measure the organisation's progress in applying the Australian Business Excellence Framework.
  • At award level, an organisation must demonstrate its approach, deployment, results and improvement against 21 items linked to the seven assessment categories of:
    • Leadership
    • Strategy and Planning
    • Information and Analysis
    • People
    • Customer Focus
    • Processes, Products and Services
    • Organisational Performance
  • Of seventeen applications at award level, the Library was selected as one of six finalists in 1998.


  • As part of the annual review of structure, the Library's Management Advisory Team (MAT), was restructured. Three new teams were developed:
    • Strategic Planning Team
    • Operations Team
    • Information Access Reference Group.
  • Scenario plans replaced the Prospect series. The key benefits included:
    • The identification of more than one future to inform the Library's future planning and risk management strategies.
    • More frequent reviews and updating in response to rapid change in our operating environment.
  • The scenarios provided a foundation to explore a new vision and mission for the Library. All staff had the opportunity to comment and provide input to the process. Draft vision and mission statements were sent to stakeholders and clients for comment and feedback.
  • The Library's Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and goals, first developed in 1996 were reviewed in response to changes and trends in the scholarly communication and education environments.
  • The Library continued to participate in benchmarking activities to critically examine organisational performance against best practice. Examples of benchmarking themes included:
    • Staff Training and Development Effectiveness
    • Internal Communication
    • Innovation
    • Strategic Planning
    • Investors in People
    • Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loans
    • Reference Desk Services
  • In many instances, the Library was amongst the top performing organisations participating in the studies, and also received formal recognition after a successful Investors in People audit.

The release of the new Australian Business Excellence Framework prompted a series of organisational self assessment activities to test the Library's performance against revised items in the framework. Assessment took the following formats:

  • Weekly questions posed to the Library Executive Committee to be returned in the (ADRI) Approach, Deployment, Results and Improvement format
  • Formation of a Knowledge Management Team to examine the Library's information and knowledge management practices
  • Formation of cross-functional teams to examine three key areas:
    • Understanding the business environment
    • Resources and assets
    • Client perception of value
  • The Library hosted its second E Team to examine serials usage survey methodology using total quality management tools to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • An innovation policy was developed to provide a framework for the innovation process
  • Seed funding was allocated to support projects
  • An innovation tracking system was developed to capture Opportunities for Improvement identified by staff.
  • The Library was selected as a case study for 'Guidelines for the Application of Best Practice in Australian University Libraries: intra-national and international benchmarks.
  • The University Librarian was invited to participate in a working party examining best practice standards in higher education institutions in Australia, with the ultimate aim of developing a benchmarking manual for the sector.
  • The Library was invited to deliver presentations to organisations outside the library and information sector, including:
    • Public Sector Quality Network - Australian Quality Awards for Business Excellence Public Sector Success Stories
    • Quality Directions a QSA Workshop for Australian Quality Professionals - QSA Sydney Chapter
    • NSW Attorney General's Managers Conferences
  • In addition to these forums, the Library hosted two site visits as part of the AQC's Business Excellence Study Tours (BEST) programs.


  • To close performance gaps identified through self assessment against the Australian Business Excellence Framework the Library:
    • Developed a knowledge management policy
    • Created models to articulate the Library's approach to: sustainability, data and information management, performance management systems, innovation.
    • Documented client groups and the risks associated with each segment in the Marketing Plan.
  • To develop a broader understanding of the key value drivers of service, a collaborative research project was launched with Wollongong City Council. The key aims of the project were to identify:
    • Whether key or common service value attributes could be assigned across a variety of service scenarios
    • Whether value attributes were influenced by free or fee-based services
    • What was valued most in service delivery scenarios, by members of the community
  • Benchmarking continued with Document Delivery and Cataloguing services.
    • The Serials and Document Delivery Services team completed the second stage of data collection and analysis of processing, supply times and fill rates with positive improvement being shown in improved turnaround of requests, when compared to the same period last year.
    • A major public library sought the Library as a partner to examine cataloguing throughput times and overall process management.
  • Opportunities to benchmark outcomes against established databases, eg Australian Quality Council and Liquid Surveys were used throughout the year to examine: leadership, human resource management practices and client relationship management strategies.
  • Client feedback mechanisms were reviewed by a cross-functional team to determine opportunities to streamline the internal processes while offering improved access to feedback mechanisms to clients. A Tell Us function was made available on the Library's web site, and preliminary data indicated improved use of the service. Internal management of client feedback was streamlined and roles and responsibilities for all staff updated.
  • The Library applied for external assessment through the Australian Business Excellence Awards.


  • The Library was formally recognised with an Australian Business Excellence Award 2000 - the first library in the world to win a recognised national quality or business excellence award. The Awards were presented at the International Business Excellence Summit held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
  • The awards process itself was rigorous, involving preparation of a 50 page submission and a site visit by 6 qualified evaluators who spent one and a half days on campus examining documents and processes as well as talking to all staff members.
  • Some of the achievements of which the Library is particularly proud are:
    • Substantially increased access to information resources - especially databases and journal articles
    • Significant increase in client satisfaction with the availability of library materials
    • Reduction in processing costs - enabling resources for the management of new services such as electronic access
    • The commitment of Library staff to providing the best possible services to the University community
  • The Staff Training and Development Committee undertook a self assessment activity against the International Customer Service Standard.


  • The Library was successful in achieving re-accreditation against the internationally recognised Investors in People Standard. Auditors commended the Library's commitment to improving performance, client service and the reputation and standing of the University of Wollongong Library. To quote from the auditor's report:
  • The University of Wollongong Library is a true Investor in People organisation. The management appreciates that to be an innovator it is essential to have the calibre of people that will allow this goal to be achieved. The strong focus on the development of people has clearly paid dividends. This is evidenced by the stead in which management and staff are held in the eyes of fellow staff members, students and external bodies who constantly call upon their expertise.
  • A case study on how the Library has integrated the Australian Business Excellence Framework and the Investors in People Standard into its work practices was requested by NATA Certification Services International. NCSI, one of Australia's largest third-party certification bodies, for inclusion in the Investors in People UK website.
  • 1,008 members of the University completed the biennial Client Satisfaction Survey. Through a CAUL agreement, a new instrument was adopted by all universities thus enabling benchmarking of agreed common data elements. Significant outcomes were achieved including:
    • A 10% improvement in client satisfaction (from 82% in 2000 to 92% in 2002)
    • A 6% improvement in perceived quality of the Library (from 82% in 2000 to 88% in 2002)
    • UOW Library was situated as "best in class" across every satisfaction category: Communication, Quality, Customer Service, Delivery, Promotion/Image and People, compared with organisations currently contributing to the national database.
  • A review of the advertised Service Standards and client feedback system resulted in the development of a Client Service Charter. This document outlined what clients can expect from service delivery, how clients can work in partnership with the Library for the optimisation of services, and how clients can offer feedback on what they like and what the Library can improve.
  • The point of reference for the 2002 organisational self assessment was the Knowledge Management framework developed by Standards Australia International (HB275-2001), a guide considered to be representative of good practice at a national level.
  • A Business Improvement Team (BIT) was formed to critically review the Staff Perceptions Survey and put forward recommendations for change.


  • The key drivers for conducting a review of the file server (intranet) included: significant restructure of the organisation; increasing number of remote locations and limitation of access to the existing file server; and recommendations from the Knowledge Management self assessment conducted in the previous year.
  • A Business Improvement Team (BIT) was formed to critically assess the data, information and knowledge needs of the Library; explore technological solutions; and put forward recommendations for improvement. A revised file server and web server were implemented in early 2004.
  • The University Librarian presented a paper at the 5th Northumbria Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services - 'Benchmarking with the Best'. The paper recounted the benefits of utilising internationally recognised quality standards and frameworks to compare, benchmark and communicate performance outcomes.
  • The scheduled Australian Universities Quality Agency audit of the University prompted an internal desktop audit. The University Librarian led a small internal audit team to examine a draft portfolio of evidence and put forward recommendations to assist the University's preparation for the formal audit process.
  • Numerous requests were received throughout the year to provide consultancies and present at seminars and forums on the Library's quality journey within and external to the higher education sector, for example: BEST of the BEST (Business Excellence Study Tour series organised by Benchmarking Partnerships, Australia), NSW Government - Procurement Capability Tool training, University EEO Coordinators - Evaluating Performance, and Developing a Quality Assurance Framework for the University of Western Sydney Library
  • The Quality and Marketing Manager was a guest evaluator for the Fiji Quality Awards.
  • The Values which form the basis of the Library's ideal culture were reviewed. The new values are:
    • People First
    • Open Communication
    • Integrity
    • Commitment
    • Initiative
    • Collaboration
    • Sharing knowledge and learning
  • The Staff Training and Development Committee evaluated the core training suite for all Library staff and recommended changes to better fit the competencies identified in Position and Person Profiles and the Ideal Culture. Core training consists of:
    • Client Service Skills
    • Time Management
    • Cultural Diversity
    • TQM Awareness
    • EEOnline
    • Feedback Skills
    • Neutral Questioning
    • Database Basics
    • Introduction to Word
    • Introduction to Marketing
    • 6 Thinking Hats
    • Performance Planner
    • IT Core Competencies
    • Due Diligence
    • OH&S
  • The Library received a Silver Award in the inaugural Investors In People Awards for the category - State/Local Government or Institutions. The assessors offered the following comment:

    What you will find is an energetic, totally client focussed, team ready to help customers through a broad range of services supported by the latest technology. This is indeed an organisation that just can't stop getting better, and as well as being clearly addicted to improvement, the Library positively revels in measuring KPIs such as client satisfaction, staff development, and leadership effectiveness.
  • The Staff Perceptions Survey was repeated to evaluate the impact of improvement strategies identified from the 2002 outcomes. Overall, positive trends were recorded across all assessment items. In particular, significant improvements were recorded in the assessment categories of: Open Communication, Availability of Resources to Support Optimum Performance and, Health and Wellbeing.
  • The Library received funding support from the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) to revise the CAUL Document Delivery Performance Indicator Kit. Key drivers for the revision included: changes in software platforms and service standards which severely limited the use of the Kit; and the need to incorporate the Australian Interlibrary Resource Sharing Codes to assist libraries in determining the frequency of their meeting the agreed service standards. The revised kit was endorsed by CAUL and is now freely available on the CAUL website.
  • The Quality and Marketing Manager was the recipient of the inaugural CAUL Achievement Award for her contribution to raising awareness of quality in university libraries.
  • Quality-related presentations and publications included:
    • Measuring what we do, unpublished presentation, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne.
    • CAUL Achievement Award, unpublished presentation, Council of Australian University Librarians, Melbourne.
    • Innovation, sminnovation - what does it really mean? unpublished presentation, Benchmarking Partnerships, Sydney.
    • Laying the foundation for excellence, unpublished presentation, University of Technology, Sydney.
    • Sustainability - life after the awards and responding to change in a rapidly changing market, unpublished presentation, Benchmarking Partnerships, Melbourne.


Assessment of Library performance against UOW strategic priorities was the key driver of review and evaluation initiatives during the year. The capacity to benchmark client service strategies and staff development and training initiatives was also explored:

  • A review of library services at offshore teaching locations was conducted by the Remote Services Manager, visiting sites in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. The purpose of the review was to evaluate current services to establish benchmarks as a basis for measuring future developments and improvements. A series of recommendations from the review were endorsed and are being implemented, including the production of a CD to introduce offshore students to the University's online learning environment and web resources.
  • A comprehensive review of Library resource support for research strengths was conducted to evaluate alignment of Library expenditure with the University's refocused research priorities. The review revealed that researchers have a high level of satisfaction with information resources and liaison services and information literacy tuition. Access to electronic research resources was highly valued. Information gaps were addressed through 46 new subscriptions to targeted journals or databases and key monograph and reference acquisitions.
  • A survey of the top performing Australian academic libraries (those listed in the top five across the Rodski Client Satisfaction Survey assessment categories) was conducted to identify the enabling practices that have been key to achieving and sustaining high performance.
  • A review of the client feedback scheme (Compliments, Comments Complaints), first implemented in 1995, was conducted. The review drove the development of an innovative new system for the fully automated lodgement of feedback and responses. The systems provided an intuitive online interface for clients to communicate with the Library. In addition, the system enabled the revision of response service standards, improving from five days to a guaranteed two days.
  • Drawing upon good and best practices from the commercial and retail sectors, Mystery Shopping was introduced to evaluate the total client experience. Over a period of one month, all services were evaluated - face to face, email, telephone, web. Feedback was extremely positive, with shoppers noting prompt, comprehensive and useful responses from all service points. To meet and sustain best practice expectations, improvements were implemented: refresher sessions for Information and Research Help staff, review of telephone techniques and a review of the Client Service Skills workshop, a component of training for all staff.
  • The Library distributed its second iteration of the Rodski Client Satisfaction Survey. The Library was situated in the top quartile across all five categories evaluated within the survey: communication, service quality, service delivery, facilities and equipment, library staff. More importantly, improvement in performance was recorded across the majority of assessment items. The Library was placed for the first time in the top five performing libraries in the assessment category of 'Communication'. The Library's intended actions for improvement were incorporated in the business plan and communicated to the campus community through newsletters, the web, and Library displays.
  • Following a self-review, a successful certification audit was conducted against the International Customer Service Standard by a peak customer service body, the Customer Service Institute of Australia.
  • Standards of excellence in staff development were acknowledged after a successful re-certification audit against the Investors in People Standard. This prestigious international best practice standard supports effective investment in the training and development of people to achieve business goals. Audit interviews with staff made a strong case for the Library's ability to demonstrate that "the development of its people has improved the performance of the Library, work teams and individuals".
  • Quality-related presentations and publications included:
    • The University of Wollongong Library quality journey, unpublished presentation, University of Helsinki, Finland.
    • Quality and higher education: lessons from the business sector, unpublished presentation, University of Technology Sydney.
    • The UOW quality journey, unpublished presentation, Northern Emirates Association of Libraries (NEAL).
    • Client relationship management: surveys, satisfaction and shopping, unpublished presentation. AVCC Staff Development and Training Program.
    • 'Quality management/change management: two sides of the same coin'. Library management in a changing environment, Volume14, Proceedings of the 25th IATUL Conference, 30 May - 3 June, Kraków Poland.
    • An invited chapter was written by the University Librarian and published: 'Excellent libraries: a quality assurance perspective' in Nitecki, Danuta (ed.) Advances in Librarianship Volume 28, Elsevier.


  • Organisational Self Assessment against the Australian Business Excellence Framework again ensured the principles embedded in the Quality, Service, Excellence Policy were sustained through the application of continuous improvement processes. Several cross-functional teams identified both strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • A new survey instrument replaced the Staff Perceptions Survey to enable benchmarking against other organisations, including university libraries. The 'Employee Opinion Survey' was conducted by Rodski Survey Research (RSR).Outcomes of the survey were discussed by all teams and recommendations for improvements collated. RSR's report noted that the Library's performance had 'set a new high when compared to other organisations in the RSR's national and international benchmark database'.
  • The biennial Materials Availability survey showed a 5% improvement in the immediate availability of materials since the 2003 survey.
  • Document Delivery was again surveyed to determine satisfaction with online request forms (94%) and electronically delivered material (91%).
  • The Overseas Students Library Client Survey was developed in late 2005 in collaboration with a number of other Australian university libraries and Rodski Survey Research (RSR). The online survey evaluated both the local overseas library service and the University of Wollongong online library service. RSR noted that the Library was above the mean for 44 of the 45 categories when benchmarked against the other organisations within the database.
  • The Quality and Marketing Manager and the Remote Services Manager presented quality workshops for the University's staff in Dubai as well as for other library staff located in the Emirates.
  • Library staff contributed expertise and support for the University's preparation for the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) audit, including membership of the Quality Audit Planning Committee. The AUQA Audit report provided positive feedback on library services including a commendation for 'a firmly embedded culture of quality consciousness which leads to strong results for most measurable outcomes'.
  • The Performance Indicator Framework (PIF) was reviewed to determine its value in measuring and reporting key aspects of performance. In particular, areas such as information literacy and research support benefited from the identification of new indicators and measurement methodologies.
  • The Client Service Charter was reviewed and updated in consultation with students and staff.
  • The Information Literacy Integration Policy was approved by Senate paving the way for improving the integration of information literacy into curricula and the implementation of an Information Literacy Measurement tool based on the CAUL Best Practice Characteristics for developing information literacy in Australian universities.
  • The Information Literacies Introductory Program (ILIP) was recognised as an effective practice by the United States Association of College and Research Libraries and listed on their Effective Practices in Research and Academic librarianship website.
  • The Mystery shopping survey was repeated with a focus on telephone services, Email a Librarian and Chat to a Librarian. Overall, participating students noted a high degree of satisfaction with the services they evaluated; many stated that their expectations of the service and responses received exceeded their expectations.
  • The Library received a Gold Award in the Investors in People Awards for the category - Best IiP Government Agency or Institution. This award acknowledged - 'both your recognition as an Investor in People and the way you used the IiP framework to continuously improve your business'. 
  • Innovative programs introduced to improve staff quality included Library cadetships to attract recent graduates to the profession and workplace certification for experienced staff without formal qualifications.
  • A Professional Cadet program was introduced to encourage and support graduates to pursue a career in librarianship. Cadets will rotate through all sections of the Library over a three year period whilst completing their studies.
  • International recognition of the Library's quality initiatives and outcomes was recognised through invitations to speak at conferences and other forums, e.g.:
    • Exploring the mystery of service satisfaction - 6 th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services, Durham, England.
    • Quality, Service, Excellence: a decade of quality - European Association for Health Information and Libraries Workshop, Palermo, Sicily.
    • Developing a Culture that Values the Need for Assessment and Continuous Improvement: the growth of a learning organisation - Performance Measurement for Libraries and Information Services Conference, Sydney.


  • Each new year brings new opportunities for benchmarking and 2006 was no exception, with several survey activities undertaken by the Library.
    • Onshore - Excellent results were achieved in this year's Library Client Survey. Improvements were achieved in overall levels of client satisfaction and overall quality. A significant improvement was achieved in client satisfaction with the availability of resources which increased from 72% to 81%.
    • Offshore - UOW students in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai also had the chance to provide feedback via an Overseas Students Library Client Survey. Overall results were very positive, with our performance scores above the mean in the benchmarking database for the majority of variables for both local and online library services.
    • Electronic services - The online research support service, Chat to a Librarian, was evaluated via a random survey of more than 300 students. The majority of respondents, approached on campus grounds, were not aware of the service. However, both users and non-users considered the service useful and 97% of those who had used the service would recommend it to others.
  • The Library's ongoing support for UOW quality initiatives was demonstrated through project and committee activities, for example:
    • The University Librarian's membership of the University Planning and Quality Committee
    • The appointment of the Associate Librarian, Client Services as Chair of the Quality Assurance Subcommittee of the University Education Committee. A key project for 2006 was the review of learning and teaching performance indicators and measures
    • Contribution to the development of assessment tools to evaluate the UOW student experience, a project led by the Academic Registrar's Division
    • Kim James, Quality Coordinator conducted an independent review of the Psychology Test Library evaluating its processes and operational functionality. The review involved observation of the Psychology Test Library and discussions with stakeholders.
  • The annual audit against the international Investors in People (IiP) standard resulted in successful re-accreditation against the standard and confirmed the Library's status as a best-practice employer. The audit report noted that "The organisation has achieved a high standard in the management and development of its people (and) is extremely proactive in striving to identify areas for improvement".
  • The Library, a long-term advocate and champion of service excellence offered its support and leadership for the promulgation of good and best practices through the successful nomination of Toni Lanyon, Team Leader - Lending and Document Delivery Services, as a member of the Executive Committee of the new UOW Customer Service Support Network.
  • Measuring the effectiveness of the Library's information literacy programs was the major focus of the Information and Research Services team in 2006. All Faculty Librarians, including the Wollongong University College Librarian, examined core subject outlines in each undergraduate course to determine the level of information literacy integration. This encompassed identifying gaps, outlining strengths and making recommendations for improvements to enhance student learning and academic success.
  • Subsequent to The Australian Universities Quality Agency's report, two good practices were solicited and accepted for inclusion in AUQAs Good Practice Database, an online searchable collection of systems and activities relevant to quality assurance in Australian higher education. The Good Practices are: Embedding Quality for Library Excellence and Developing Graduate Attributes: Information Literacies Introductory Program (ILIP).
  • Scenario planning was undertaken and a Library staff SWOT blog has provided input into future planning documents.
  • A major project was launched to develop data definitions for all Library performance measures. The definition model was defined and further development of the definitions will continue in 2007.
  • Requests for staff to contribute their quality assurance knowledge and experience included Quality Coordinator, Kim James presenting at the International Business Excellence Study Tour in Melbourne; Associate Librarian, Client Services, Margie Jantti giving a paper at the inaugural Library Assessment conference in Virginia, USA; and University Librarian, Felicity McGregor was asked to participate in a trial AUQA audit for the University of the Sunshine Coast.


  • 2007 was the Year of the Building as construction of the long-planned extension to the Library neared completion. Towards the end of the year the transformation of the internal and external spaces became evident. The extension project not only created additional space for seating and collections, but enabled us to redesign and refurbish learning spaces to address feedback received from students and staff.
  • Overall, there has been a quantum leap in the quality of the learning experience for students and of work spaces for staff. Administration Manager, Jo-anne Lombardi received a Vice-Chancellors Award for Outstanding Service for her role in planning and administering the building project.
  • The Library now employs three professional cadets under an extremely successful initiative which enables young graduates to study and gain invaluable work experience in all areas of the Library whilst earning a salary and receiving support for study time and expenses.
  • The Staff Training and Development Committee conducted a comprehensive review of the Library’s Induction Program, focusing on developing a sense of belonging in new staff as well as providing the right information, advice and support.
  • With recent improvements made to the Library’s Short Loans service, it was timely to seek client feedback on changes. 3,083 Short Loans were borrowed by clients from 2-23 April and during this time 577 clients participated in a survey. Their feedback endorsed the changes and as a result new loan conditions have been adopted.
  • Feedback from the 2006 Investors in People surveillance included the suggestion that "there could be an improvement in the awareness of the skills required (of managers)". As a way of seeking feedback on the skills/attributes of an effective manager staff were asked to provide input into a web log (blog), titled What are the attributes of an effective manager? This contributed to planning for future staff training and development.
  • Library staff provided significant support to the Research Quality Framework Trial for the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). Library involvement ensured a very high standard of accuracy for the comprehensive data supplied.
  • Realignment of teams in the Access Services and Client Services Divisions was implemented throughout the latter half of 2006 and beginning of 2007. Objectives of the realignment included expanded career pathways and improved integration of selection, acquisition and access functions.
  • A survey was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the Linking you to learning newsletter, a targeted promotion for satellite students. The survey was distributed by mail and the majority of respondents (96.67%) considered the newsletter worthwhile.
  • The Library was selected as one of three University units audited by WorkCover and contributed significantly to a successful outcome enabling the University to maintain its self-insurance coverage.
  • An email list – library_info4u – was launched as part of a new communication strategy for clients. Concise emails are designed to encourage best use of the Library, with news on a range of services and resources sent out on a fortnightly basis.
  • The Team Effectiveness Survey, which is conducted biennially again delivered valuable data on team ‘health’ and improvement opportunities.
  • A Business Improvement Team (BIT) considered improvements to the Library’s Catalogue system and recommended a number of features which were implemented to improve client searching success.
  • Activity Based Costing was conducted to assess the impact of the realignment strategy. A major improvement to the process was the use of Excel spreadsheets enabling rapid calculation of total time against the set activities.
  • Face to face interviews were conducted with 22 staff during September to assess the return on investment (ROI) of the Library’s staff training and development activities. Results indicated strong evidence of personal growth and improved knowledge and skills as a result of participating in training and development opportunities.
  • Certification against the revised Investors in People (IiP) standard was achieved. The evaluation included assessment of an evidence portfolio and interviews with twenty staff, across all levels, on a range of management and development practices.
  • Requests for staff to contribute quality-related expertise included:
    • Margie Jantti, Associate Librarian Client Services, presented a paper, Measurement and milestones: sustaining improvement, at the Australasian Association for Institutional Research conference in Sydney.
    • Margie was an invited speaker at the Thailand Quality Awards Seminar for Performance Excellence in Education Sector. The event was organised by the Thailand Productivity Institute and sponsored by the Asian Productivity Organisation.
    • She continued to lead the University’s Quality Assurance Subcommittee and a benchmarking initiative with the University of Tasmania
    • Margie was asked to participate as a panel member at the University Heads and Leaders Forum which included the launch of the new Strategic Plan by the Vice-Chancellor and a discussion of Excellence, Partnership, Enterprise, Diversity
    • The University Librarian was invited to participate on the Panel of Review for the Australian Business Excellence Awards. This panel makes final recommendations based on the reports of the evaluation teams which assess organisations applying for recognition.
    • Quality Coordinator, Kim James participated in an evaluation team for the Australian Business Excellence Awards. Kim also presented a quality workshop for six general staff from Central Queensland University, Rockhampton Campus.
    • Papers on quality management at UOW Library by Margie Jantti and Felicity McGregor were reprinted in: Patwardahna, SG ed. "Business Excellence Concepts and Cases".


  • The Library building extension was officially opened on 7 February 2008. The extension has delivered significant improvements for clients, including but not limited to:
    • 2,000 square metres additional space
    • 450 additional study spaces
    • 100 additional computers
  • The Library implemented a new online booking system for group study rooms. The booking system provides clients with the convenience of being able to book rooms online, rather than having to make the booking at the Loans Desk.
  • A new online tour of the Library’s resources was created. The tour, badged ‘Start Smart’, employed extensive use of graphics to create a simpler and more engaging method of providing new students with the information they need to help them use their Library. The Library’s fortnightly email newsletter, Library_Info4U, was also updated to bring the Library’s email marketing up to date with current trends in online communications.
  • Toni Lanyon (Team Leader Client Services) received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Service for General Staff.
  • Annette Meldrum (Informatics Librarian) and Holly Tootell (Lecturer Informatics) were awarded a citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) “for developing leadership through a sustained and responsive team-based approach to curriculum development in a core ITC subject, targeting assessment and student engagement.”
  • The Shoalhaven Campus Library developed their own action plan for 2008 to allow for greater focus on improvements, initiatives and issues that relate to remote sites.
  • In January 2008, borrowing conditions were altered to allow more flexible borrowing across all user categories. Undergraduates have taken advantage of the improved conditions, with increased borrowing of journals. Allowing an additional renewal option has resulted in a 32% increase in renewals compared to last year. On a similar note, the CRC arranged for extended loan conditions for students undertaking their 5 week practicum.
  • A number of Library policies were reviewed and updated in accordance with the Governance Unit’s program to update the University’s Policy Directory; including Archives, Code of Conduct and the Information Literacy Integration Policies.
  • Staffing at service points was restructured to allow for a more flexible roster system, and to improve the Library’s ability to assist clients.
  • A Technology and Innovation Committee was formed to facilitate innovation. Key areas of focus included catalogue interfaces, ERM and improved management of electronic information resources usage trends.
  • In October 2008, the Library conducted the biennial Insync Client Survey as part of its regular review of client satisfaction. Overall, client feedback was very favourable. Achievements included:
    • High raw performance scores (2008 weighted performance index of 80.8%)
    • Continued improvements on performance in previous years
    • Low gap scores (almost all were statistically insignificant, ie >2)
    • High performance relative to other libraries (UOW Library outperformed 75% of other libraries for all six best practice categories, including communication, service quality, service delivery, facilities and equipment, library staff, and virtual library)
    • Clients took the time to provide overwhelmingly positive written comments on Library staff, the Library building, and the Library’s resources
    • In 2009 the Library will address improvement opportunities identified through an analysis of the survey data. The Library revised, consolidated, improved and standardized its statistical performance data.
  • The result is more automated, accurate, detailed, and accessible information relating to the Library’s business operations.
  • The Library’s Staff Development Committee reviewed the performance planning process. The Library plans to address improvement opportunities identified by the Committee in 2009.
  • Felicity McGregor participated in a panel discussion at Universities Australia’s staff development program for senior library staff. The purpose of the discussion was to talk about creativity, failures and management in an informal environment and provide a mix of theory and practical experience on why failures happen, what can be learned from successes and failures, and to provide some tips or strategies on how to survive and succeed after failure.
  • Margie Janntti continued to chair the University Quality Assurance Sub Committee and to lead benchmarking initiatives in preparation for the University AUQA audit in 2011.
  • Papers and presentations by Library staff included:
    • Jantti, M. H. 2008, Library leadership initiatives, Leadership Development Framework Workshop - Benchmarking Partnerships. Brisbane, 31 Jul 2008.
    • McGregor, F. 2008, Interview Panel, Universities Australia Library Seminar. Sydney, 10-11 July 2008.
    • Mandl, H. E. & Jantti, M. H. 2008, 'Far from common: innovative approaches to designing information rich learning and research spaces', LIANZA Conference 2008: Poropitia Outside the Box, LIANZA, Wellington, New Zealand, pp. 1-6.
    • Pinkerton, F. & Collett, C. 2008, 'Supporting literacy and learning - on and off campus', inCite, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 14-14.


  • In response to performance ratings on the ease of using the Library catalogue, search interfaces were significantly improved with the implementation of Web 2.0 technologies, including: Search Guru (uses cloud tags and facets to assist the refinement of search results), Article Finder, a federated search engine facilitating searching across multiple databases using a single search strategy.
  • The Library undertook a major review of its Independent Learners Introductory Program (ILIP) training program, including:
    • Major revision of content within the learning modules
    • Communication of learning outcomes within the modules
    • Greater use of learning objects to demonstrate principles of information skills
    • Creation of a skills checklist prior to launching the assignment page, offering the student the option of returning to the relevant learning activity if confidence level is low
    • Improved assignment and introductory pages
    • Rebadged learning modules as part of Library’s ‘StartSmart’ program
  • ILIP was identified as a Good Practice Case Study as an outcome of the Academic Transition Support benchmarking project between UOW and the University of Tasmania.
  • A new communication strategy, based on two-way radio systems, was implemented to help improve the quality of client services. The two-way radio allows staff to instantly contact other staff for assistance. Implemented in May, more than 2,500 clients were assisted throughout the year.
  • Significant increases in student numbers, bringing with them highly diverse needs and expectations challenged established approaches to service delivery. Existing practices, such as on-the-job and core training workshops, were no longer sufficient in meeting staff needs for up-skilling. New training modules were designed to meet specific needs. The effectiveness of the training modules was tested by peer based evaluations and via exit surveys with clients. Results from the survey include:
    • 97% of clients agreed that the staff member was approachable, friendly and helpful.
    • 98% of clients felt confident that the staff member was knowledgeable and equipped to deal with their enquiry.
  • International students’ expectations of and satisfaction with UOW programs, services and resources, was evaluated using the International Student Barometer Survey. Results demonstrated strong evidence of exceptional Library performance. Library and Library Resources were rated 3rd and 5th most important out of the 19 categories, and Library received the highest satisfaction rating recorded, followed by Library Resources at number two.
  • A number of initiatives were undertaken to further strengthen leadership capability and success management strategies, including:
    • A review of competencies for middle and senior leaders
    • Professional career coaching
    • Support for staff to participate in targeted leadership programs, including:
      • UOW sponsored Frontline Management Certificate IV
      • Workplace certification program in Library and Information Services
      • LH Martin Institute – Moving into Management – leadership program for HEW 5-7
      • UOW Leadership Program for Senior General Staff
      • Frye Leadership Institute
  • The success of these approaches was reflected in the successful appointment of internal staff to leadership positions, including former professional cadets.
  • The Benchmarking Partnerships organisation facilitated a two day workshop focusing on leaders’ roles in interpreting and applying globally recognised business excellence (BE) principles to foster a high performing and results oriented organisational culture.
  • The Library participated in an institutional benchmarking exercise between UOW and the University of Tasmania. Focusing on academic transition support for first year undergraduate students, a self assessment was conducted using mutually agreed performance indicators.Learning opportunities arising from the exchange of information included: IT skills and service support, integration of Library resources in the elearning management system, embedding information skills development in the curriculum and subsequent evaluation, orientation and communication using Web 2.0 technologies.
  • The Balanced Scorecard approach was fully deployed to business planning processes. A key aim of adopting this approach was to provide a simple structure to help planners to focus on what needs to be done; to ensure that strategic planning actually delivers improved products and services for clients.
  • The reporting of performance outcomes to the University Executive was changed from monthly to quarterly updates. Content of the reports are more concise, strategically focused, and include more quantitative data, including a dashboard of performance results.
  • To acknowledge the importance the Library has as the centre of information services at the University Graham, Bell and Bowman Architects established the UOW Library Innovation Grant. This grant recognises the important role staff innovation plays in achieving the Library’s Vision of being recognised as a knowledge resources centre of distinction. Up to $3000 is awarded annually for the Grant. The inaugural recipient of the grant was Kristen Blinco for a Study of the feasibility of developing interactive demonstrations on Library skills and services
  • Faculty Librarian, Beth Peisley received a Vice-Chancellors Award for Outstanding Service for her role in managing the deployment of Web 2.0 technologies to create user friendly, instructional resources for the Resources for Assignments web pages
  • An extensive review of the Performance Planner process in 2008/9 was driven by decreasing staff engagement with the process and the need for a more effective approach to achieving Library and personal goals. The review resulted in greater flexibility in determining key discussion points and clearer links between goal setting and subsequent development opportunities. Articulation of future career goals and the steps that may be taken to progress these was also enabled by the review.
  • Papers and presentations by Library staff included:
    • Cooper L (2009), presentation on StartSmart to Illawarra School Librarians Association’s (ISLA) Professional Development Day
    • Cox B (2009), “Restructuring data to improve performance measurements”, Tough Times: proving your value to stay in the game!, AGLIN Forum, 28 October, Canberra
    • Daly R and Organ, M (2009), Research Online: Digital Commons as a Publishing Platform at the University of Wollongong, Australia, Serials Review, 35(2)
    • Dee D and Messer C (2009), Client service: competencies and communication, inCite, 30(9)
    • Organ MK (2009), One-stop repository shop for University of Wollongong, inCite, 30(9)


  • The Library becomes first organisation in Australia to receive the Silver level of accreditation under the Investors in People (IiP) Standard. The IiP Standard is a framework of interrelated principles and indicators that form the basis of a successful organisation. Up until recently, organisations that applied for accreditation either met the Standard, or they did not. In 2010 IiP introduced a new approach to the Standard, with three higher levels of recognition now possible to celebrate the achievements of top performers. All organisations still need to meet the 39 core evidence requirements in the Standard to become recognised as Investors in People. However organisations can achieve bronze, silver or gold standard of accreditation by meeting 26, 76, or 126 additional evidence requirements.
  • The Information Research Services Team was restructured following recommendations from a review conducted by an external consultant. The team was renamed Liaison Services and now consists of three teams, each team servicing a number of faculties. Expected outcomes include improved collaboration, workload management and flexible, responsive services for faculties and research centres.
  • The Ask a Librarian service was launched, replacing the Feedback and Email a Librarian systems. The new system automates responses to many queries by providing clients with answers from an established knowledge base.
  • The Library celebrated National Client Service Week, 4 – 8 October. Clients and staff voted for library staff who delivered gold class service during the week. Nominations were made against 4 categories including: Service Smile, Service Consistency, Exceptional Service and Internal Client Service Star. 179 votes were received and 27 comments on the service experience were collected. Overall, the promotion highlighted the consistent and high level of service delivered by our staff to clients across all 3 sites. The storyboard tips and success stories will be stored on the staff portal as a client service training resource.
  • The Library undertook an Academic Outreach program aimed at promoting the Library’s critical role in supporting research and teaching excellence. In 2010, all academics were contacted, of which, 741 appointments were completed.
  • The Library conducted its biennial Client Satisfaction Survey in September 2010. The survey is the Library’s main instrument for measuring performance, identifying opportunities for improvement, and benchmarking our performance against other university libraries. We received 3,420 responses.

Overall, client feedback was very favourable. Achievements included:

  • UOW Library performed very well in comparison to other university libraries, being placed in the top quartile for 5 of the 6 best practice categories.
  • UOW Library improved its overall weighted performance slightly from 79.3% to 80.3%. However, ‘Overall Satisfaction’ declined slightly from 5.81 (score out of 7 for the 2008 survey) to 5.71 (2010). This decline can be attributed to a decline in the ‘Facilities and Equipment’ category, which in turn is a result of low scores relating to computer and wireless access.
  • There were only 2 statistically significant gap scores (ie a gap of 2 points or more between importance and performance ratings), regardless of how the data was sliced. The significant gaps were access to a quiet place (Law students only) and computer access (almost every demographic grouping).
  • Client satisfaction with “face-to-face enquiry services” and “accurate answers” improved dramatically on the 2008 survey, with our performance relative to other Libraries moving from the lowest quartile into the top quartile for “face-to-face enquiry services”, and from the 2nd quartile to the top quartile for “accurate answers” (for more information on our relative performance against the “Best Practice” categories see Attachment 1)

Opportunities for improvement in 2011 include wireless and computer access, noise management, study spaces, availability of resources, online resources and making the catalogue easier to use. Actions are already well underwayfor example, the introduction of Summon (see below), and the creation of more study spaces.

  • A new search tool called Summon was implemented. Summon provides Library clients with access to a broad range of resources via a single search interface. Summon indexes the full Library catalogue including 60,000 ebooks, 70,000 journals, 400,000 books, and 9,000 records from the University’s repository Research Online, as well as up to 80% of database content to provide a comprehensive Google-like access point for scholarly material.
  • 279 clients were surveyed to assess the level of service provided by Library staff. Results of the survey indicate that the competency based training is having a positive impact on service delivery.
  • The Library undertook scenario planning for 2012-2017. Scenario planning involves projecting current trends and issues and speculating the impact these may have on future client needs and expectations. A scenario plan is a useful means of injecting creativity and forward thinking into strategic planning.
  • A number of improvements were made to the Main Library building, including:
    • new ceiling and improved lighting
    • consolidation of the print journal collection to create space for extra study spaces
    • revised layout of group study tables and improved access to power outlets installation of glass panels to break up large spaces
    • 20 new individual powered study desks
    • To support the use of personal laptops and other devices, power outlets have been fitted to 156 existing study carrels and 12 new powered carrels installed.
  • The Information Skills Team (Bernadette Carr, Nadine Clark, Lesley Smith, Bernadette Stephens and Lynda Cooper) were recognised with a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Service for General Staff for their role in the creation of StartSmart: Essential Academic Information Skills learning guides and quiz. Nina Moreno was also recognised at the ceremony for 25 years of service to the University.
  • The Library provided considerable input into the identification of minimum requirements for quality assurance for the establishment of a new partnership with the INTI Laureate Group for the delivery of offshore programs for UOW students in Malaysia.
  • Felicity McGregor, former University Librarian (1997 – 2010) received the University’s peak award for service to the University and Community by being made a Fellow of the University on Friday 23 July 2010. Felicity was recognised by the University for her outstanding service to the research, teaching and learning community, for attaining national and international recognition for innovative and sustained approaches to Library management and for her demonstrated and long-standing commitment to the growth and success of the Library and the University.
  • Papers include:
    • Cooper L, (2010), “Online education programs for transitioning students”, Incite, vol.31(6), June, p.25.
    • Jantti M and Cox B, (2010), “Measuring the value of library resources and student academic performance through relational datasets”, Proceedings of the Library Assessment Conference: Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment, Baltimore, Maryland, 25-27 October, 8p.
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