In Spring 2015, the TWU Libraries participated in the Libqual+ survey administered by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to assess the quality of service we provide to TWU students, faculty and staff. Participating in this survey every two years allows the libraries to understand what our university community likes about the TWU Libraries and hear their suggestions. It also allows us to benchmark our services with our library peers and record our own longitudinal trends in service quality.
About the survey
The TWU Libraries survey measured quality of service in three dimensions:
- Service (customer service and job expertise)
- Information (availability, ease of navigation and independent access to information)
- Library as Place (library spaces and facilities)
Participants were presented with several library service areas and were asked to rate the minimum level of service they can accept, desired level of service they expect from the libraries, and their perceptions about the current level of service at the libraries.
Data collection. The survey was open for four weeks in the month of April. We received 1243 valid responses (57% undergraduate and 30% graduate students). The web-based survey randomly assigned 8 questions on service quality from a pool of 23 questions. In addition, the survey also measured user satisfaction about the library support for their academic work, treatment at the libraries and support for their information literacy.
Data Analysis. The data analysis involved a mixed methods approach where we analyzed the quantitative and qualitative data (open ended comments) separately and synthesized findings from both analyses to fully understand our user responses.
- Overall, our users rated our quality of service as “VERY GOOD!” (Mean rating =7.8 out of 9; SD = 1.3; n=1217). A majority of our patrons rated our service “Very Good” ( 29%) or “Extremely Good” (38%).
- Our students, faculty and staff are very satisfied with the library support for teaching, learning and research needs (Mean rating of 7.7 out of 9). Faculty ratings were slightly higher than that of students’. Student satisfaction with library support for learning and research is similar to 2012.
- Our students, faculty and staff are very satisfied with how they are treated at the library (Mean rating of 8 out of 9). Undergraduates’ satisfaction with library treatment is similar to prior years whereas Graduate students’ satisfaction with library treatment shows an increasing trend.
- Our patrons recognize the library’s support for information literacy outcomes. Our patrons’ responses indicate that the library does a good job in providing our students and faculty with the information skills they require, helping them become more efficient in their work, and helping them advance in their academic work. Our students and faculty want more help with differentiating between trustworthy and untrustworthy information and staying abreast of developments in their fields of interests.
Following is a description of areas we do well and areas we can improve based on responses from students, faculty and staff. The discussion follows the three dimensions the survey measured: Service, Information and Spaces/Facilities.
Overall, customer service and job expertise is very important to our students, faculty and staff and they also rated us very high. Based on their expectations and ratings, the performance of the TWU Libraries in this area can be considered good.
Areas we do well:
In the Service dimension, the following were identified as high performing areas for the libraries.
- Willingness to help users
- Employees who are consistently courteous
- Giving users individual attention
- Readiness to respond to users' questions
- Dependability in handling users' service problems
- Employees who have knowledge to answer users' questions
In their comments, students frequently mentioned the friendliness, helpful nature and expertise of library staff. Faculty commended the library staff for their outstanding service, friendly and proactive nature and personalized support for online classes, adjunct faculty, and help for research and teaching.
Areas we can improve:
Responses from students and faculty indicated the need for more training for student assistants, more staff presence for assistance, and more support for graduate students.
Navigating library resources easily and independently accessing information is of very high importance to our users - especially our graduate students and faculty. Our students and faculty gave us very high ratings in this area. However, information resources and access is very high in the priorities for our graduate students and faculty and they would like the libraries to continue focusing our efforts in this area.
Areas we do well:
In the Information dimension, the following were identified as high performing areas for the libraries.
- Print and/or electronic journal collections required by undergraduate students
- Making information easily accessible for independent use for undergraduates
- Timely document delivery /interlibrary loan for Faculty
- Helpful online guides and tutorials
- Access to archival materials
In their comments, students appreciated the rich and high quality information sources. Graduate students, especially distance learners and students in Nursing and Library science were happy about the databases and ease of locating online information. Faculty recognized that library loans helped their students’ research projects and role of library staff in introducing their students to various information resources.
Areas to improve:
Survey item responses and comments indicate the need for:
- Easy to use tools
- Improving the library website to enable students and faculty to locate information on their own
- Introducing modern equipment and tools to make accessing information easier.
Students also indicated that timely interlibrary loan was a high priority for their information needs.
Specific suggestions included adding more resources to Arts and Education collections for undergraduates , adding more recent print collections for graduate students, providing better description for databases, fixing broken links and improving overall navigation. Faculty also requested for specific databases, simplified access to individual articles, and streamlined process for requesting materials and being informed about trial databases. Students also mentioned the need for updated technology (faster Internet, computers with new software), and more printing and scanning facilities.
Spaces and Facilities
Overall, our students and faculty rate our spaces and facilities high. Our students, especially our undergraduate students not only visit the library premises more frequently than other user groups, but also attribute high importance to library spaces and facilities. Library performance in this area can be considered good.
Areas we do well:
- A comfortable and inviting location for our students
- Community space for group learning and group study for our students
- Library spaces and facilities exceed faculty expectations.
Our students and faculty love the beautiful building , the atmosphere, the quiet study spaces, and the computers. Undergraduate students love the printing services in the library.
Areas we can improve:
- Food services in the library
- Adequate hours of service
- Quiet spaces for individual activities
Our students want the library to be their getaway for study and learning. Numerous students requested extended hours -especially evening hours and weekend hours. They also request the library staff to ensure quiet policy in designated areas. The need for a small cafe or food lounge was also evident.