LibQual+ Survey Summary 2003

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Introduction

The library participated in the LibQual+ survey during April of 2003. A total of 251 responses were received, broken down as follows:

User Group Number of Respondents Percentage
Undergraduate    
First Year 14 5.8%
Second Year 31 12.35%
Third Year 37 14.74%
Fourth Year 44 17.53%
Fifth Year and Above 17 6.77%
Non-Degree 1 0.40%
Sub-Total 144 53.37%
Graduate    
Masters 24 9.56%
Doctorate 3 1.20%
Non-Degree or Undecided 2 0.80%
Sub-Total 29 11.55%
Faculty    
Adjunct Faculty 3 1.20%
Assistant Professor 15 5.98%
Associate Professor 19 7.57%
Lecturer 1 0.40%
Professor 13 5.18%
Other Academic Status 6 2.39%
Sub-Total 57 22.71%
Staff    
Research Staff 2 0.80%
Other Staff Positions 19 7.57%
Sub-Total 21 8.37%
Total 251 100%

The scores for the survey covered four basic areas: Access to information; Affect of Service; the Library as a place; and issues of Personal control. Each area had multiple questions which measured the perceptions of service quality held by the users. Mean scores were reported for each area measuring the minimum acceptable service level held by the user; the desired service level; and the perceived service level, reflecting the level of service offered by the library.

The overall scores for the library reflected an adequacy mean (the difference between the users’ minimum and the perceived means) indicated a 0.32% positive difference for all categories. The minimum mean held by the users was 6.85 (out of 9.00), and the library ranked at 7.16. The users desired a service level mean was rated at 8.18. Overall, there was a negative score of –1.02 between the perceived levels of service in all categories compared to levels of service that the users would like to see.

Within each category of user, there were particular levels of satisfaction (see appendices for the tables for each category). The specific areas will be discussed below.

 

Undergraduate Students

The undergraduates were overall the most satisfied with library services. The adequacy mean for the undergraduates was 0.38 overall. When looking at the desired mean score overall, our undergraduate users was slightly lower (8.14 compared to 8.18) than the general summary scores. The perceived mean of library service for undergraduates was 7.08.

The frequency of use by undergraduate students is interesting, albeit frightening. Some 6.94% of the undergraduates used library resources onsite on a daily basis, while 4.86% accessed library resources daily on the web page. Over fifty percent (51.39%) of the undergraduate students daily searched the internet using non-library services such as Yahoo™ or Google™ for information, compared to only 2.08% of the students who reported never using such services.

 

Graduate Students

The survey data relating to graduate students indicated some areas the library needs to be concerned about. The overall adequacy mean for graduate students was –0.05. Areas that received a negative adequacy rating included the following questions, organized by category.

Access to Information

4. Library has access to electronic information resources I need -0.39

5. Timely document delivery / interlibrary loan -0.52


Affect of Service

1. Employees who instill confidence in users -0.28

3. Willingness to help users -0.17

4. Dependability in handling users’ service problems -0.04

6. Employees who have knowledge to answer users questions -0.38

7. Employees who are consistently courteous -0.38

8. Employees who deal with users in a caring fashion -0.55

9. Employees who understand the needs of their users -0.61

Library as Place

4. Community as space for group learning and group study -0.35

5. A getaway for study, learning or research -0.19

Personal Control

1. Easy-to-use access tools that allow me to find things on my own -0.07

3. A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own -0.03

5. Making information easily accessible for independent use -0.17

6. Making electronic resources accessible from home or office -0.52

The frequency of use by graduate students indicated that 13.79% daily accessed library resources through the library web page, while 55.17% used non-library services such as Yahoo™ or Google™ for information. Only 13.79% of the graduate students reported never using such services.

Use of library resources onsite indicates that 37.93% use the resources weekly, 41.38% monthly, 20.69% quarterly. Access to library resources through the web page indicated that apart from daily access, 27.59% accessed the library’s web page weekly, monthly, and quarterly, while only 3.45% said they never used the library’s web page.

 

Faculty

Faculty scores indicate that the library is meeting needs overall. The adequacy mean score for all categories is 0.42. Only three questions indicated dissatisfaction with libraries services. Regarding print and / or electronic collections needed by the faculty to conduct their work, the adequacy rating was .040. The minimum acceptable mean for this question was 6.95, and the library scored a 6.55. The desired mean for the faculty was 8.20 (out of 9.00).

The library also received a negative score on printed library materials by the faculty. The adequacy mean was –0.19. The minimum mean was 6.96, the desired mean was 8.28, and the perceived mean for the library was 6.77. Interestingly, the library’s score on electronic information matched exactly the minimum mean expected by the faculty (7.17). The desired mean was 8.35.

The remaining negative adequacy mean was –0.10 for making electronic resources available to home or office.

In terms of usage, 5.26% used resources in the library daily, 29.82% weekly, 38.60 monthly, and 26.32 used the materials on-site quarterly. In accessing the library resources through the web page, 21.05% did so daily, 35.09% weekly, 22.18% monthly, 10.53% quarterly, while another 10.53% reported never using the library’s web page at all. Yahoo™ and Google™ are less used by the faculty than the students, though 31.58% stated they used those gateways daily, 29.82% weekly, 21,05% monthly, 10.53% quarterly. Only 7.02% reported never using non-library gateways.

 

Staff

An analysis of the staff data indicates overall satisfaction with library services. The adequacy mean for staff was 0.08. However, numerous questions did receive a negative score on the adequacy mean. Questions receiving a negative score were:

Affect of Service

6. Employees who have the knowledge to answer user questions -0.10

7. Employees who are consistently courteous -0.10

8. Employees who deal with users in a caring fashion -0.25

9. Employees who understand the needs of their users -0.15

Library as a Place

1. Quiet space for individual activities -0.05

4. Community space for group learning and group study -0.13

Personal Control

3. A library web site enabling me to locate information on my own -0.25

4. Modern equipment that lets me easily access needed information-0.30

5. Making information easily acceptable for independent use -0.05

6. Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office -0.55

 

Analysis

As has been stated earlier, an overall review of the survey data indicates that the library is within minimal user expectations. In comparing our data with those from the other Alabama academic libraries that undertook the survey (University of Alabama, University of Alabama Birmingham, University of Alabama Huntsville, Jacksonville State University, Samford University, Troy State University, University of Montevallo, and the University of South Alabama), AUM scored higher on the minimum mean of our patrons (6.85 vs. 6.66), the desired mean (8.18 for AUM, 8.09 for the other universities), but lower on the perceived mean (7.16 for AUM versus 7.30).

The general thrust is that our patrons appear to have higher expectations and, from their perceptions, we are meeting their minimum requirements for service better than our peers, but not doing as well on their perceptions of the quality of service we provide. Conversely, the standard deviations for minimum, desired, perceived, adequacy and superiority for AUM are all closely matched to those of our peer institutions, as the table below shows.

Comparator

Minimum
SD / Diff.

Desired
SD / Diff.
Perceived SD / Diff. Adequacy SD / Diff. Superiority SD / Diff.
AUM 1.39 / +0.02 0.79 / -0.10 1.20 / +0.03 1.32 / -0.10 1.20 / +0.03
NAAL 1.37 0.89 1.17 1.42 1.17

In analyzing the graduate student results with those of the comparator group, it appears that the AUM Library scored higher on adequacy for its print and electronic collections required for the students’ work. The adequacy mean for AUM was 0.36. compared to a –0.17 for the NAAL group.

In general, the survey indicates that the library is adequately meeting needs, but there remain some areas for concern. Many of these relate to training and educational issues. For example, concerns about having access to online resources from off-campus is, in part, an educational issue, particularly for graduate students. Unlike the undergraduates, we do not get a chance to provide library instruction for graduate students. Those who are native AUM students are familiar with means to access databases remotely, while those new to campus are often not. Technological issues also affect access needs. For students using AOL as their internet service provider, problems often occur when trying to interface with the library’s online system.

Issues about the utility of the library’s collections remain, particularly for AUM faculty and graduate students. Though not specified by type of information, the general data provided reflects a continuing dissatisfaction with access to journal resources. The library has continued to make journal access a priority and is now spending approximately $150,000 of its materials budget to provide electronic access to journals.

Some issues which are pointed out in the survey have already been addressed, specifically, the need for a space for group learning and study. The library has created a group study room on the 5th floor of the Tower which is available to groups of students. Efforts to improve the library’s web site have been completed with an eye towards making the site more accessible and easier for students to locate information on their own.

Concerns over modern equipment to allow users to easily access needed information is an interesting question. The library last year completed an upgrade of its computer lab and is on a cycle to replace / refresh one-third of the computers each year. It is possible, particularly for faculty and staff trying to access library materials online from their homes or offices, that the issue of modern equipment is one beyond the library’s ability to control.

Most significant among the issues are the users’ perceptions of the assistance they receive from the library staff. A comparison of the questions relating to user satisfaction between the AUM Library and the NAAL Library is included below.

Question AUM / NAAL Minimum Mean / Diff. AUM / NAAL Desired Mean / Diff AUM / NAAL Perceived Mean / Diff. AUM / NAAL Adequacy Mean / Diff. AUM / NAAL Superiority Mean / Diff.
Employees who instill confidence

6.10 / 5.97

+0.13

7.98 / 7.71

+ 0.27

6.49 / 6.62

- 0.13

0.39 / 0.65

- 0.26

-1.50 / -1.09

-0.41
Readiness to Respond to Questions

7.03 / 6.84

+ 0.19

8.34 / 8.21

+ 0.13

7.32 / 7.44

- 0.12

0.29 / 0.61

- 0.32

-1.02 / -0.76

-0.26
Willingness to Help Users

7.01 / 6.90

+ 0.11

8.31 / 8.22

+ 0.09

7.30 / 7.50

- 0.20

0.29 / 0.60

- 0.31
-1.01 / -0.71
Dependability in handling users’ service problems

6.94 / 6.78

+0.16

8.25 / 8.13

+ 0.12

7.32 / 7.30

+ 0.02

.038 / .052

-0.14

-0.93 / -0.83

-0.10
Giving users’ individual attention

6.37 / 6.08

+0.29

7.59 / 7.52

+ 0.07

6.87 / 7.03

- 0.16

0.50 / 0.95

-0.45

-0.73 / -0.48

- 0.25
Employees with knowledge to answers

7.05 / 6.93

+0.12

8.35 / 8.26

+0.09

7.28 / 7.43

-0.15

0.23 / 0.50

-0.27

-1.07 / -0.83

-0.24
Employees Consistently Courteous

7.18 / 6.96

+0.22

8.36 / 8.26

+0.10

7.28 / 7.59

-0.31

0.09 / 0.64

- 0.55

-1.09 / -0.66

- 0.43
Employees deal with users in caring fashion

6.88 / 6.78

+0.10

8.18 / 8.09

+0.09

6.98 / 7.36

-0.38

0.09 / 0.58

-0.49

-1.21 / -0.72

- 0.49
Employees understand users needs

6.93 / 6.83

+0.10

8.22 / 8.13

+0.09

7.15 / 7.25

-0.10

0.22 / 0.42

-0.20

-1.07 / -0.87

-0.20

In looking at the data, it appears that compared to the other participating libraries, our users have higher service standards. The smallest difference amongst the staff service questions was +0.10, where our users rated their minimal levels of service higher than did the NAAL group.

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