LibQUAL Service Quality Assessment Results, Spring 2009
In spring 2009 the Kennedy Library administered a national survey, LibQUAL+, inviting feedback from Cal Poly faculty, staff and students about their satisfaction with library services, facilities, and collections.
The Kennedy Library first used LibQUAL in 2005. By using a national survey instrument, the Kennedy Library can compare its own results with CSU and other university library peers. In 2009, four other CSU Libraries also conducted LibQUAL surveys at their campuses; peer comparison data from these libraries will be available in fall 2009.
Who participated in the survey?
The 2009 survey consisted of 55 questions covering different aspects of library services, including services, facilities, and collections. A key feature of LibQUAL is that it asks users to compare their experience of library services to their desired quality of service. This provides the Library with a "gap analysis" — a way to understand what is most important to users, and how well Library services match what the service quality that want. The survey also invited open-ended comments, providing useful detail and many constructive suggestions.
The survey went to a sample of 6680 users at Cal Poly, of whom 704 responded, for an overall response rate of 11%. Among all groups sampled, graduate students had the highest response rate (15%); followed by undergraduates (11%), faculty (6%) and staff (5%).
How satisfied is Cal Poly with the Library?
Areas of higher satisfaction
Overall, Cal Poly users are satisfied with Kennedy Library services and with the library's support for their learning, research, and teaching needs. Among the highest ranked services of the library were the library's orientation and instruction sessions; interactions with library staff and employees; chat (online) reference help; access to electronic resources, both on and off campus; the quality of group study spaces; the library's comfortable and inviting campus location; and timely delivery of interlibrary loan materials.
Areas of lower satisfaction
In several areas respondents agreed the Library has room for improvement. Users would like the Library to do more to support students and faculty in keeping current with research in their field, and they want students to get more help learning the information skills they need to succeed in classes. They would like better library collections (including print and electronic journals, databases, current print book collections, and multimedia collections). They think the Library could improve navigation on its web site and online catalog. Students want the Library to provide more quiet spaces for individual activities; and they want to see more comfortable furniture on every floor of the building.
The 2009 results showed that the Library has closed the gap, last measured in 2005, between perceived and desired quality of service, as measured by a scale from 1 (lowest level of service) to 9 (highest level of service).
- For undergraduate respondents in 2009, the gap between experienced service quality and expectations was an average of .77 for all aspects of library services, compared with a gap of 1.23 in 2005. Expressed as a percentage score, the gap dropped from 13.6% to 8.5%.
- For graduate students in 2009, the gap was 1.06 (11.7%), compared with 1.22 (13.5%) in 2005.
- For faculty, the gap in 2009 was 1.08 (12%), compared with 1.33 (14.7%) in 2005.
These results suggest that the Library has improved its ability to meet user expectations and desires since 2005. This is good news, especially since expectations of graduates and faculty both rose during this period (going from 7.95 for graduates in 2005 to 7.99 in 2009; and from 7.97 in 2005 for faculty to 8.08 in 2009); while undergraduate expectations dipped only slightly (from 7.79 in 2005 to 7.65 in 2009).
Who uses the Library?
In an increasingly digital information environment, with powerful new open search engines and resources such as Google and Wikipedia playing a major role in many peoples' information practices, traditional measures of library use are changing. The LibQUAL+ survey provides an interesting perspective on library use, asking respondents to compare how often they use the library facilities, the library web page, and non-library information sources.
Undergraduate library use
In 2009, 21% of undergraduates report using the Library's facilities daily, up from 15% in 2005, and 46% weekly (up from 40% in 2005) — an increase in daily or weekly use of 12%. Possible explanations include extended library hours, the renovation of the second floor, and opening of the 24-hour study room — all developments since 2005. Use of the library web site has changed less (a total of 39% daily or weekly in 2009, compared with 37% in 2005), and use of non-Library search engines and gateways is also about the same in both surveys with 78% reporting daily use in 2009, compared with 76% in 2005.
Graduate library use
Daily library use by graduate students has dropped to 11% in 2009 from 15% in 2005, possibly reflecting the greater availability of online journals added since 2005. But graduates have not abandoned the library: graduate weekly library use in 2009 was 53%, compared with 47% in 2005. Daily use of the library web site by graduates was up, rising from 9% in 2005 to 18% in 2009; weekly use also went up, from 52% to 54%. Interestingly, frequent use by graduates of non-library information search engines and portals dropped slightly, from 75% to 70%.
60% of faculty visit the Library weekly; 21% of undergraduates visit the Library daily.
Faculty library use
As in most university libraries, faculty at Cal Poly visit the library building less frequently than students. In 2005, only 36% of faculty visited the library daily or weekly; in 2009, no faculty reported visiting the library daily. However, fully 60% reported visiting the library weekly, a significant increase. Faculty use of the Library web page has also increased significantly, with daily use rising from 16% in 2005 to 35% in 2009. Faculty also use non-library search engines and portals more frequently: 79% daily in 2009, compared with 70% in 2005.
A detailed report of survey results for Cal Poly will be available in fall 2009. The Library's leadership team is reviewing the survey results and identifying steps to improve services and better meet users' expectations.
On behalf of the entire Library staff, we thank all the students, faculty, and Cal Poly staff who took their valuable time to help us understand how to improve our services.
For more information or questions about the Library's assessment program, please contact Navjit Brar, Program Librarian for Assessment and Lifelong Learning.