I’ve only been a college student and grad student at one institution and I have to confess, the library treats students as second class citizens. Particularly technical services. When I mentioned in a sociology class that I am a librarian, a whole bunch of grad students piled on with complaints about interlibrary loan. One guy got only the second page of an article the first time he requested an article, then a completely illegible copy the second time, and then finally a whole copy the third time – after numerous e-mails and about 6 weeks. He kept asking because he didn’t want to let them off the hook. I’ve had similar issues – after they send ARIST to off site storage and for other things. We were talking before class, so when the professor came in, he said how happy he was with the library and how the liaison for the department consulted with them on what to buy and so on. Sometimes the negative experience was with a student staffer and not even a librarian.
On the other hand, as a professional librarian, I have the pleasure to serve (at least) 2 engineers who got their PhDs from Virginia Tech. They showed up as power library users, asking the right questions, and giving immediate feedback when something doesn’t work as expected. I’ve thanked librarians from Virginia Tech several times for these wonderful co-workers! I’ve also met scientists who immediately tell me how wonderful their liaison librarian is.
As a librarian in a special library, I work with professionals who had horrible experiences as grad students or undergrads and ones who had wonderful experiences. So winning back the first group is particularly difficult: they have no idea what we can do and they sometimes expect to be given crap for asking. if you’re reading this, you probably turn out scientists and engineers in the second group, thank you1
As for the rest? Arrrrgh!