Summary of LibQual+ Survey Results


This is the first time the Olin Library at Rollins College has participated in the LibQual survey. We have learned a lot about what our users’ expectations are and we are already using those lessons in our strategic planning process. 

One way we wanted to use these results was to hold ourselves accountable to you, the user. So we are publishing our results – warts and all – on our website so that you can see how your expectations of our library compare with your colleagues and you can hold us accountable for responding to your expectations.  


If you completed the survey, you will know that it is not a simple satisfaction survey. The survey asked you to define (on a nine point scale) your minimum expectation of 27 different questions of service, your desired level of service, and where you see the Olin library performs in relationship to that measure. Five of these questions are questions that we got to choose (we chose to ask you about hours, interlibrary loan, archives, information literacy, and our contribution to the intellectual atmosphere of the campus.) The other 22 “core” questions can be grouped into three “dimensions”; “affect of service” that measures the service provided by people in the library, “information control” that measures how our collections and systems serve you; and “library as place” that measures, well, the library as a place. You can learn a lot more about how the survey works by reading the introductory pages of the report.  I want to give you an idea of what we have learned already from this report and from your comments. Please let me know if you agree or not with my conclusions and also let me know if you have any ideas of how we can improve.


Here are some of the things we have learned from LibQual:



  1. Issues of information control are our users’ highest priority and they are the areas where we need to make the greatest improvement (particularly the library’s website, our print and electronic collections, off-campus access, and our access tools). In the case of the faculty and of graduate students we are not even meeting their minimum expectations.
  1. Our users also have quite high expectations in terms of affect of service and we are generally not doing too badly in this area. We certainly don’t meet your desired level of service in terms of instilling confidence, giving you individual attention, our readiness to respond to your questions, our level of knowledge, caring, willingness, or dependability, but we consistently exceed your minimum expectations by quite reasonable margins. However, there is one measure in this dimension on which we do not do so well: employees who are consistently courteous. In this measure the gap between undergraduates’ minimum expectations and their perception of our service is the lowest of any affect of service question and we do not even meet graduates’ minimum expectation. In one way, I find it quite disturbing that faculty respondents’ answers to this question do not reflect a problem. This could mean we treat our faculty users differently from our student users. Faculty respondents have a different area of concern as far as affect of service is concerned. We only barely exceed their minimum expectations in terms of “employees who understand the needs of their users.”
  1. How you perceive our services in terms of the library as a place really depends on which group you belong to. For instance, faculty respondents think the Olin Library is a “space that inspires study and learning.” So much so that we actually meet their desired expectations in this regard. Undergraduates don’t go quite that far, but they do give the place high marks. Graduate students on the other hand want a “quiet space for individual activities” and we are not meeting their minimum needs in this regard. I think we have some work to do to manage the varying needs of our users.
  1. All these points that are based on the numerical data part of the results are supported by some of the comments from users. 
  2. It is important to note that meeting users' desired expectations of service in all areas is very difficult.  Most libraries that have conducted the LibQual+ survey are happy if they have exceeded users minimum expectations by reasonable margins. 

You should expect to see us try and find ways to respond to what you have told us. Some things will be quick and relatively easy to do, but others will take a lot longer and involve more time and money. You can find out more about how we are responding to your comments by looking at the Frequently Asked Questions and Comments page.  We plan to repeat the LibQual survey in 3-5 years and hope to see that you have noticed improvement.


In the meantime, if you have comments about this short summary of our results, I would love to hear from you. E-mail me at