Services & Policies - Spring 2001

Survey of User Satisfaction with Library Services

This semester, the Weinberg Memorial Library will conduct its second survey of user satisfaction with library services and collections. The Library relies on this feedback to assess how well it is meeting the needs of users. Responses to the survey are a rich source of information for plotting direction for the allocation of resources. Although as a part of its mission Library services are open to the public, faculty and students are the primary audience for this survey. Completion of the survey enters the respondent in a drawing for prizes. Responses to the survey are confidential and are analyzed only in terms of aggregates. The first survey was conducted via the Web from 28 August 1997 to 31 January 1998. Questions on the survey assess frequency of use, services, physical plant, equipment and collections.
In the first survey, 92% of those responding felt that the Library was an important part of their education. At that time, 53% accessed the Library from a remote location. With the addition of a proxy server, 105 databases and 600 fulltext journals available over the Internet, it will be interesting to see responses to this question in the new survey. The majority of those responding had had Library Instruction. In the Commentary Section, there was a demand for more classes, including instruction on an individual basis. Individual Library Instruction has always been available by calling the Reference Desk, 941-4000, for an appointment. With the institution of Freshman Seminar, we are finding an increase in the number of students who take advantage of this opportunity.
Disturbingly, a substantial number of those responding indicated that they did not get materials they wanted because either they did not know how to find them or the materials could not be located on the shelf. The Library addressed this problem by creating the position of Access Services Clerk and dedicating the services of some work study students to stack maintenance. Access Services also systematically shelf-reads, i.e. checks the shelves to make certain books are in the proper order.
Users were generally satisfied with services and extremely satisfied with reference assistance. However, the first survey indicated that some users went to the Circulation Desk for reference assistance and were not satisfied when staff at that desk could not help with these types of questions. To address these responses, the Circulation Desk instituted better language for directing inquires.
Many users complained about the sleep-inducing level of Library lighting. The upgrade of lighting will be completed over Intersession, 2001.
The single most frequent complaint concerned the number and quality of computers. Since the survey, the Library has upgraded equipment and added twenty-five workstations and five laptops. There were complaints about waiting for printouts. Adding a printstation on the second floor and encouraging users to be selective in choosing what they print addressed these. Users get 300 free copies a year instead of an unlimited amount. Additional complaints concerned waiting in line for a computer. The Library addressed this by password protecting computers so that only University students could use machines. Users are encouraged to log out after their use so that the machines are only available to those currently enrolled. With the addition of machines, lines have decreased. There were some complaints about waiting for a computer to do research while people did e-mail. The Library hung signs asking e-mail and chat to yield for research and staff asked people to yield on occasions when there were lines. At certain times of the year, lines have not been eliminated. The Library also responded to requests to have workstations on other floors by placing one on the fourth, one on the fifth and having laptops wireless connectivity on the third. We hope to expand this availability.
There was dissatisfaction with the quality of photocopiers. The Library addressed these comments by changing to ADA compliant machines that have the ability to enlarge and reduce. The previous machines did not have as sophisticated a level of print tone and could only reduce.
Each of the major complaints in the first survey has been addressed. The Library is eager to assess users' satisfaction of the current state of frequency of use, services, physical plant, equipment and collections. The survey will be available on the Library's Homepage during Spring, 2001. We appreciate your time and consideration in providing us with your feedback.

Bonnie Strohl
Assistant Director for Public Services