Identifying the Resource and Service Needs of Graduate and Professional Students

The library profession has a vested interest in the retention and information literacy of graduate and professional students. Recent research highlights the need for the overall study of graduate student use of the library and of those services and resources geared toward that population. A University of Iowa Libraries' user needs assessment survey of a random sample of graduate and professional students revealed that although graduate and professional students come to the library to do research or to use other library resources, fewer come to study or borrow books. Graduate and professional students recognize the need for more assistance in using the library and would like more opportunities for library instruction. They prefer human contact. Even though they are satisfied with the resources and quality of staff assistance, they would like to find more material on the shelves when they need them. In addition, many of them are unaware of the range of library services available to them. One of the key strategic goals of the University of Iowa is the maintenance and support of premier graduate and professional programs. Among 131 public research universities recently ranked in Hugh Davis Graham's and Nancy Diamond's 1997 book The Rise of the American Research Universities, the University of Iowa ranked among the top 20 based on the quantity and quality of research performance (1997). As one of only two public research universities in the state of Iowa, the University of Iowa has a special role in graduate and professional education. In the knowledge-intensive world of the future, graduate and professional education play a central role, and given the limited opportunities for such education within the state of Iowa, this part of the University of Iowa's mission will increase in importance over time.