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Tallahassee, Florida 32307

Florida A&M University Libraries

LibQUAL 2004 Survey Results –

Executive Brief

July 2004


Submitted by Ruth M. Swan

Associate Director of Libraries and

Project Director



Assessment is a critical component of all organizational management. The University Libraries use a variety of assessment tools and strategies; some continuous while others are administered twice yearly and are more complex. This is the first year that the University Libraries has included the LibQUAL tm instrument as part of its assessment plan. A brief description of the survey process and survey results follows.

LibQUAL tm Instrument

The ARL rigorously tested web-based LibQUAL tm instrument is comprised of 45 items along with optional respondent commentary. It measured three dimensions of library service: Affect of Service, Information Control and Access, and Library as Place.

Survey Methodology

Permission to survey was granted through the FAMU Institutional Research. The survey was advance publicized through FAMINFO mail, the FAMUAN newspaper, posters, and library desktops. We targeted a convenience sample, inviting all currently registered students and currently employed faculty to participate. Advertisements included information on the incentives to participate. Paper versions of the survey were printed and small incentives (while they lasted) were given out at the time of survey. Survey responses were completely anonymous. Respondents could optionally enter E-mail addresses to be included in a drawing for major awards at the conclusion of the survey. Survey software was programmed to automatically separate out e-mail addresses from surveys to insure confidentiality of the respondents. The survey was open for almost 4 weeks. After that time, the survey was closed, incentives were awarded, and the survey notebook of data and charts were received from ARL. Local analysis was then completed and publicized.

Survey Outcomes

Resulting survey data helped us know how users perceive library services and how closely we met user expectations. It was used as a basis for identifying service deficits, defining measures to improve services, and planning future library resources allocations. National and Florida SUS aggregate survey data enabled us to compare FAMU libraries’ performances with that of our peers.


Students and faculty were invited to participate. Over twice (526) as many females submitted completed returns versus those returned by males (237). Participation and population information is provided below in the following sections.


3922                Number of times the survey was viewed on the screen

  926                Number of persons who began the survey

  825                Number of persons who completed the survey

    48                Number of persons who submitted a frivolous completed survey

(Excessive N/A use, illogical combinations of responses, and

one response for all questions)

  777                Number of valid surveys used for reporting and analysis (total

completions less frivolous [5%] completions)


All disciplines were represented except for Military Science. The population breakdown is as follows.

     Undergraduates:      653

     Graduates:                58

     Faculty:                    45

     Staff:                        22 

User Perceptions of Library Services

Respondents have very high expectations for library service quality. Mean values of minimal service quality for the group is 6.57 on a scale of 1-9. The desired mean is a mere 7.83, not far from the minimal. The perceived mean is 6.10, representing an overall service gap of -0.47.  Respondents indicate that overall, they are satisfied with the services of the University Libraries. (see chart below – Overall Quality by Discipline). They indicate, however that there are many concerns that need to be addressed, mainly that of information control.

Respondents were most satisfied with the willingness of staff to provide help as needed, the functionality of the library web page, and the provision of a comfortable study environment.

Many respondents (525 of 777) report coming to the library at least weekly to complete their work.

Perceptions by Category

Undergraduates were most satisfied with general library services, but the most dissatisfied group with information literacy services and access to electronic journals. This group reported the highest use of the library with up to 70% coming to the library daily.

Graduates held higher expectations for service than Undergraduates and were most dissatisfied with library resources. They also expect improved information literacy services.

Faculty held the highest expectations of all groups, and the most overall dissatisfaction with library services. Their concerns were very much the same as graduate students, except that they felt the library web page should be improved as well as access to resources in special collections. This group reported the highest use of the library web page and the lowest use of the physical library.

User Perceptions of Service Deficits

Librarians could be more courteous

Librarians could be more knowledgeable

There should be improved access to rare and special collections

There must be an improved information literacy service

Coleman Library is not conducive to study due to the noise, lack of adequate study rooms and misuse of cell phones.


Comment Highlights:

In addition to the formal survey, 313 respondents chose to make a comment related to library services. Most comments were complaints regarding services, with just a few complements. Some comments represented requests for services or materials.

A keyword search on target words produced the following results listed in frequency order.


Library Personnel - 89

            Unprofessional    5

            Disorderly                    12

            Insufficient                      2

            Friendly                          3

            Not friendly                    8

            Need training                  2

            Lack of courtesy           23

            Unwilling to help           13

            Very helpful                  21


Books/ materials -75

            Scope                          26

            Not on Shelf                 25

            Currency                      17

            Journals                          7



Lack of Space - 72

            Group Study                 35

            Individual Study            26

            Research                        7

            General                          4

Noise - 43

            General library 30

            Cell phone                      8

            Employees                      5

Computers -41

            Not enough                  18

            Inadequate                   16

            Need software                6

            Very Good                     1


Library Hours - 11

            Inadequate                   11


Library Responses to User Perceptions of Service Quality Deficits

Library As Place

·        We will seek to make the Coleman Library more conducive to study by making it a cell-free zone. Patrons will be asked to keep cell phones in the vibrate mode, and use phones in the lobby. Library personnel will remind users of the policy as necessary.

·        We will utilize the concept of a “quiet floor” and designate a floor for this purpose. Signs will be posted, furniture will be arranged to encourage individualized study, and the quiet zone will be enforced thru monitoring.

·        We have already improved facilities with the new library expansion.

·        More group study rooms are available and individual work spaces.

Information Control and Access

We will continue to assess the collection development needs of the libraries, especially journals and purchase according to the budgetary allowances available. We will:

·        encourage increased faculty and student participation in collection development.

·        place a submissions form on our web site to make it easier to submit a request.

·        place signs at service areas to invite suggestions and participation.

·        advertise the collections via various media, publications and mailings (faculty new materials alerts).

·        working on the proxy service to improve remote access to electronic resources.

·        review policies in Special Collections to insure that the collection is as accessible to users as possible – including digitizing resources.

·        we are already increasing and updating computer resources.

·        seek increased funding for resources.

·        seek more funding for events such as library fairs.

·        seek funding for staffing: web development support, collection development, public relations, and security/monitors.

·        seek funding for increased equipment.

Affect of Service

·        We will seek more funding for staff development.

·        We will study ways to improve customer relations and implement them.


All assessment information is useful for improving library services. This assessment is particularly useful in that it reached a wider population of both students and faculty. The findings support those from earlier surveys, such as the need to increase and improve resources. We will use these results as a baseline to measure the impact of improvements that will be made to library services. We are pleased that customers are generally satisfied, and that we have already begun to address issues.