LibQUAL+ & Exit Surveys

LibQUAL logo

As we plan for the future of “reimagining” the Georgia Tech Library, it's important to understand users' needs and expectations in order to provide dynamic services and comprehensive materials. In spring 2013, for the fifth time, the Library participated in an international research and development project to define and measure service quality across libraries. The LibQUAL+ project uses a survey instrument to gauge library users' perceptions of services and to measure their satisfaction with services and resources so that libraries can identify areas for improvement and enhancement.

Nationally, the web-based LibQUAL+ survey consists of 22 items which are rated on a scale of 1 to 9 and four demographic questions. In addition, there were five questions selected by Georgia Tech Library for a total of 30 questions. The Georgia Tech Library implemented the “lite” version of this survey, so participants were asked to respond to 18 questions total. In addition, survey participants were given an opportunity to make suggestions or comments.

 

The following are some of the survey data and highlights:

Survey Participants:

Survey invitations were emailed to a random sample of 6,100 members of the Georgia Tech community. 702 students and faculty completed the survey in 2013.

Overall respondents by user group:

  • Undergraduates: 313 (% response rate)
  • Graduates: 266 (% response rate)
  • Faculty:  123 (% response rate) – includes post-docs and research scientists

Respondents by Discipline:

The responses were generally representative with a few disciplines responding at a higher rate than their proportion on campus. Engineering responded at a higher rate than their proportion on campus and Management responded at a slightly lower rate.

What was measured:

LibQUAL measures three dimensions of service:

  • Affect of Service
  • Information Control
  • Library as Place

Qualitative Feedback:

Especially useful were the qualitative comments. We received comments from 120 students and faculty with approximately 630 distinct comments.

FACULTY

Factors Most and Least Desired (2013)

Based on the survey results, Faculty are most concerned with the following:

  • Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office
  • Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work
  • The electronic information resources I need

Ten Year Trends for Faculty

Since the Library has administered the LibQUAL survey five times over ten years, we are able to analyze trends for each of the questions over the past decade. Below is a sample of the ten-year trends for faculty. Ten-year trends are also included for Graduate students and Undergraduate students.

“Journal collections I require for my work” (2003-2013):
Since 2010, the PERCEIVED value has surpassed the MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE for the first time since the survey began in 2003.  This value, however, remains well below the DESIRED level, indicating that, while improving, the journal collection is still less than what is wanted.

"The printed library materials I need for my work“ (2003 – 2013): 
The DESIRED and MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE levels have dropped dramatically since 2006, while the PERCEIVED level has only risen slightly over the same period. Faculty have perhaps interpreted “print materials” as print journals, and although they do not perceive a significant change in our print journal collection, they no longer consider the print journals as essential components of the collection, given the availability of the electronic versions.

"Easy-to-use access tools that allow me to find things on my own” (2003 – 2013):
With the 2013 survey, the PERCEIVED level has surpassed the MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE level. However, the DESIRED level remains at a consistently high level, well above this PERCEIVED level. These access tools may have been interpreted by faculty to include the Library Catalog, databases, and/or electronic journal and electronic book platforms, as well as the Library webpage.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Factors Most and Least Desired (2013)

Based on the survey, graduate students are most concerned with:

  • Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office
  • A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own
  • Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work

Ten Year Trends for Graduate Students

"Employees who have the knowledge to answer user questions" (2003-2013):
While for most of the areas in Affect of Service the PERCEIVED has generally been relatively close to the DESIRED, the greatest gap is seen in the PERCIEVED knowledge of employees in responding to users. The graph shows that for a ten year period the PERCEIVED had remained right in the middle between the DESIRED and MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE.

"Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work" (2003 – 2013): 
The DESIRED, PERCEIVED and MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE levels display only slight changes in the last ten years with the PERCEIVED remaining right above or below the MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE. The other questions about the collection also exhibit that a large gap between the DESIRED and the PERCEIVED. 

"Easy-to-use access tools that allow me to find things on my own” (2003 – 2013):
Over the past ten years there has been slight changes in the Again the DESIRED, PERCIEVED and MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE have not demonstrated any dramatic change. Even with the slight changes the PECEIVED has remained fairly close to the MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE. Even with slight changes these PERCEIVED has remained almost parallel to the MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Based on the survey, undergraduate students are most concerned with:

  • Modern equipment (such as computers) that lets me easily access needed information
  • A getaway for study, learning, or research
  • A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own

Ten Year Trends for Undergraduate

"Modern equipment that lets me easily access needed information” (2003-2013):
During the time period from 2003 to 2013 the difference between perceived, minimum acceptable, and desired have remained relatively constant until 2010 when you see a large shift in the perception about how easily information can be accessed via equipment the library provides.  From 2010 to 2013 the gap between desired and perceived widens considerably for quality and modernity of equipment.

"Giving users individual attention” (2003-2013):
During the time period from 2003 to 2013 the difference between perceived, minimum acceptable, and desired have remained relatively constant until 2010 when you see a large shift in the perception about the quality of individual attention given to patrons.  From 2010 to 2013 the gap between desired and perceived widens considerably for library provided individual customer service.

"Employees who instill confidence in users” (2003-2013):
During the time period from 2003 to 2013 the difference between perceived, minimum acceptable, and desired have remained relatively constant until 2010 when you see a large shift in the perception of library staff.  From 2010 to 2013 the gap between desired and perceived widens considerably how confident customers are in library employees.

Specific actions taken by the Library based on LibQUAL feedback include:

  • increasing access to electronic journals, electronic books, and other electronic media;
  • renovating Library spaces and facilities based on student input;
  • enhancing the digital user experience including production of a mobile site;
  • increasing Library facility hours—currently open 135 (out of possible 168) hours per week;
  • providing a web-localizer product for easier access to Library resources;
  • improving the interlibrary-loan delivery times
  • extending resource loan period and also eliminating most overdue fines;
  • improving signage, particularly related to quiet spaces in the facility
  • purchasing additional computer peripherals, laptops, flip cameras, video cameras, etc., to support student media and presentation needs; and,
  • improving the film collection with grants awarded to the Library.

Impact on Undergraduate Learning: Undergraduate Exit Survey

In 2012-13, in collaboration with the Georgia Tech Office of Assessment, the Library expanded and improved the library-centered questions on the Georgia Tech Undergraduate Exit Survey. The results indicate the following: 90.7% of exiting undergraduates believe the Library Collections to be “good” or “excellent.” 89.2% indicated that the “helpfulness of library staff” is “good” or “excellent.” 90.4% indicated their “overall library experience” to be “good” or “excellent.” Qualitative comments from the exit survey also point to the library as a valued resource by undergraduates for: group collaboration, quiet study, printing, computer access, and access to scholarly collections.

This is unique data since it applies to the perceived impact of the library on the cumulative undergraduate experience. Moving forward, we will be seeking similar opportunities to assess the impact of Library resources, services and collections on graduating students at the Graduate level. 

 

Thanks for your participation in this important survey. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email us.

See also: