Information Update - Spring 2013

User Survey Feedback Shows Changes Over Time

Assessment of our users' perceptions and feelings (affect) regarding the library facility, services and staff is part of the library's review of its 20-year history. One way in which these affects are measured is through the LibQual+ ™ survey that was administered in 2006, 2009 and 2012. This cycle of administration enables the library to see how perceptions have changed over time. In the LibQual+ ™ survey, users rate their desired level, the minimal level and their perception of their experience to reflect how well the library is meeting their expectations. Ratings fall within three domains of service. The surveys are anonymous. For ratings, the survey returns data for undergraduates, graduates and faculty. For open–ended comments, the broad category of subject discipline is indicated so that more information is generated on how well the needs of various disciplines are met. The complete survey results and a discussion of open-ended comments are available on the library's assessment web page,

Affect of Staff
Overall, in the three administrations of LibQual+ ™, respondents have consistently rated library staff as competent, caring individuals who meet their expectations of the way in which they as library users would like to be treated. In 2012, faculty indicated that library faculty and staff exceed their expectations for willingness to help, individual attention and understanding the needs of users.
Affect of Information Control
The way in which users interact with technology is rapidly changing. In addition to wanting computers that are faster and more widely distributed in study spaces, users want access to resources to be more obvious. Users want to go directly to the item they want without needing to know that it is on the library's homepage, the A-Z list of databases or linked from one database to another. For graduate students, the 2012 survey indicated that the library fell below their expectations for print and electronic sources. In addition to its active information literacy program, outreach and point-of-use tutorials are necessary. For example, one respondent was disappointed that a journal the library actually possessed was not available; this indicates that the user was unfamiliar with the library's journal list and/or linking among databases. Other responses about the availability of resources indicate that interlibrary loan service of books (1-4 days) and articles (1 day) delivered to the users email need additional publicity. Additional orientation, especially for distance learners, is necessary.
Anonymity is a good thing for getting users' unvarnished opinions, but can be frustrating when you wish you could show a user the steps for getting the needed information. To provide this information and to post mini-tutorials, open-ended comments with responses that include clarifications and/or actions taken are posted for the 2006, 2009 and 2012 LibQual+ ™ assessments.
Affect of Library as a Place (or more of a good thing)
Since 1992, several changes were made in the building to accommodate the increasing role of technology in information resources. Print indexes and journals are migrating to electronic format. The library was able to store or recycle these volumes and free floor space. In the past two years, the library has added a second space that is accessible 24 hours. The Pro Deo Room has been available 24 hours since the library building opened in 1992.
All three LibQual+ ™ assessments indicate a demand for additional study space and group study rooms for collaborative projects. This need was amplified in the 2012 survey. Rather than satisfying a need for additional space, the creation of the open 24-hour accessible space spurred a desire for more access to the library's collection and services.
Books, in addition to being both informative and attractive, are great acoustical barriers. With the removal of the stacks of shelving, the noise level on the first floor became the single most negative comment in the 2012 LibQual+™ survey results. The library took immediate steps to address this by purchasing sound absorbing panels that will be in place for the spring 2013 semester. The second most frequent request was for additional group study space and the creation of areas where students could work collaboratively.
This look back provides a launch pad for future planning. As a part of the library's 20th anniversary (, a fundraising effort is underway to construct and equip a learning commons. A committee is looking at what this space will include and is forming focus groups of faculty and students to gather input. A form for contributing to the 20th anniversary is available at
If you have any comment or questions about LibQual+™, email

Bonnie Strohl

Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition