LibQUAL+ Days 2010 Survey Results – A first look.
LibQUAL+ Days 2010, which ran from February 22 thru March 8, 2010, succeeded wonderfully with campus participation far surpassing that of 2006. The total number of surveys returned in 2010 exceeded what we saw in 2006: 1,972 vs. 405. Total written comments received from participants this year exceeds 850!
In addition to assessing user expectation of library services, collections and facilities the Libraries’ primary goal this year was to see an increase in participation by campus undergraduates. In 2006 we heard from less than 6% of enrolled undergrads. That participation level was bested in 2010 with an undergraduate response rate of approximately 12%. Participation by graduate students and faculty also increased this year.
Increased participation was in part due to the Libraries marketing campaign and surely its choice to administer the Lite version of the survey. This new survey instrument randomizes subsets of questions across the participating population so that each individual surveyed answered fewer questions and completed the survey in about half the time needed in 2006 while the Libraries received valuable data that can confidently be compared to that gathered four years earlier and to peers.
A First Glance at the Numbers:
Examining the mean data for each survey dimension (affect of service, information control and library as place) it was pleasing to see where the Western Libraries sits in comparison to others. The overall level of user satisfaction at Western exceeds the overall mean for academic college and university libraries that completed the survey in 2009. Our Adequacy Gap was 0.78 compared with last year’s participant mean of 0.50. The larger the number the higher the level of user satisfaction
While it will take months to sift through the rich bank of user comments and thoroughly analyze all of the data LibQUAL+ provides a few things are apparent:
- Undergraduates continue to place high value on the services, facilities and technology that the library provides to them and are reasonably satisfied as a group with the resources provided to them.
- Graduate students continue to have high demands when it comes to availability of electronic and print journals to support their work and expect better access to those materials.
- Faculty also set the bar high when it comes to the resources that the library makes available toem both electronically and in print but have a significantly lower expectation when it comes to the library facility and technology. Additionally, for this group, the perceived level of service from library overall has slipped.
- All users had a very high level of expectation for a “library web site enabling me to locate information on my own.” Based on perceived level of service for this question the library has a ways to go in meeting user expectation. The results for this question and others strongly suggest a user base that wants to work independently without being limited by a physical library.
- Perhaps not surprisingly given the above bullet those accessing the library web page on a daily basis dropped from 23% in 2006 to 15%; while those using gateways such as Google or Yahoo daily continues to rise.
After a first read through of written comments a few themes are readily identifiable:
- More journals – electronic access preferred
- Longer hours – a particular concern of graduate students
- More places to work quietly and in groups, and better furniture
- Overall there is support for a library café as both a gathering place and study space but also many students and faculty are concerned about this
- Comments from students expressing concern about the age of materials in the library collections stand in contrast to comments from faculty concerned about increased reliance on digital resources and collections weeding
- Comments expressing an appreciation of the historic library building seem to be balanced by significant frustration that the unwieldy structure presents in finding print materials
- High praise for the library staff and the efforts they make to serve student and faculty needs
- And the survey itself… it’s a killer!
Moving Beyond the Survey:
A deeper analysis of what the survey data reveals is being undertaken and will be reported here at a future date. Additionally, the Libraries is planning a LibQUAL+ Summit for early Fall Quarter 2010. This event will bring together administrators, students and faculty to discuss the LibQUAL+ findings and also to engage these library users in a discussion about the very different expectations each has and how the Western Libraries might work to address them.
Feel free to send questions or comments on to me if you have any questions.
The Western Libraries