The University of Alabama
University Libraries The University of Alabama LibQual+ 2003 Summary Report
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version


The University Libraries participated in the LibQUAL+ Spring 2003 Survey administered by the Association of Research Libraries. The survey consisted of 25 questions covering four areas: access to information, affect of service, library as place, and personal control. Respondents were also asked to indicate how often they visited a library in person, used the library web page, and used other gateways such as Google or Yahoo. Demographic questions were also included.

The Library Services Assessment Group used several methods to advertise this survey: flyers at library services desks, signs in the libraries, and announcements in Dialog and Dialog Extra. Selectors were asked to notify faculty members of the opportunity to provide feedback and offer their opinions concerning the libraries. Two $20.00 gift certificates to the University Supply Store, four library mugs, and four $5.00 copy cards were offered as incentives.

A Likert scale of 1 to 9 was used, asking for the minimum, desired, and perceived level for each of the 25 questions. Scores for all user groups combined and for each individual category were plotted on radar graphs, using colors to indicate gaps in service: red for perceived service quality less than minimum, blue for perceived service quality greater than the minimum, yellow for perceived service quality less than desired, and green for perceived service quality greater than desired.

A total of 77 people, including library staff members, responded to the survey: 14 undergraduates (18.18%), 13 graduate students (16.88%), 34 faculty (44.16%), 5 library staff members (6.5%), and 11 staff members (14.29%). Forty-seven also provided written comments. Aggregate results were assembled for the following groups: all users, faculty, graduates, and undergraduates. This survey was not intended to draw a random sample, so a confidence interval and margin of error were not calculated.

According to those responding to this survey, University Libraries fall below the minimum service level in the following areas:
• Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work (all users, faculty)
• The printed library materials I need for my work (all users, faculty)
• The electronic information resources I need (faculty)
• Timely document delivery/interlibrary loan (faculty)
• Dependability in handling users’ service problems (faculty)
• Employees who understand the needs of their users (faculty)
• Quiet space for individual activities (undergraduates)

Group results from respondents from all four-year college and university libraries participating in the 2003 LibQUAL+ survey show scores below the desired minimum service levels in the following areas:
• Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work (all users, faculty, graduates)
• Making electronic resources available from my home or office (faculty, graduates)
• The printed library materials I need for my work (faculty)
• The electronic information resources I need (faculty)
• A library Web site enabling me to find information on my own (faculty)

In some areas, University Libraries were at or near the minimum service level. These include:
• A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own (undergraduates)
• Employees who instill confidence in users (faculty)
• Employees who have the knowledge to answer users questions (faculty)

In the areas listed below, University Libraries were close to meeting the desired level of service:
• Giving users individual attention (all users, undergraduates)
• A comfortable and inviting location (all users)
• Employees who deal with users in a caring fashion (all users)
• Quiet place for individual study (faculty)

There were some areas where the level of service surpassed the desired service level indicated by those responding to the survey:
• Community space for group learning and group study (all users, faculty, graduates, undergraduates)
• Willingness to help users (graduates)
• Readiness to respond to users’ questions (graduates)
• Giving users individual attention (graduates)
• Employees who have the knowledge to answer user questions (graduates)
• Employees who are consistently courteous (graduates)
• Employees who deal with users in a caring fashion (graduates)
• A comfortable and inviting location (graduates)

Nationally, the following area also exceeded the desired level of service:
• Community space for group learning and group study (all users, faculty)

A majority of graduates (61.5%) and undergraduates (57.1%) indicated that they visit University Libraries daily. Undergraduates were less likely to use the library resources through a library web site (14.3% daily, 28.5% weekly) than graduates (69.2% daily, 26.4% weekly) or faculty (35.3% daily, 50.0% weekly). All who took the survey indicated they use a non-library gateway such as Yahoo for information daily or weekly.

Negative comments mentioned print and electronic collections, interlibrary loan service, noise levels in the libraries, and the knowledge and helpfulness of library personnel. Compliments were received for collections, interlibrary loan, personnel, and staying open past midnight. A summary of the user comments can be found in Appendix 1.

Results from the 2003 LibQUAL+ Survey highlight areas where University Libraries have room for improvement, as well as areas where we are meeting or exceeding user expectations. Actions taken by University Libraries are in Appendix 2.

The libraries will participate in the 2004 LibQUAL+ survey.

Return to LibQual+ homepage