ULC Annual Report 1995-96
Campus-wide Library Survey
In spring 1995, the GLS contracted for a campus-wide survey by the L&S Survey
Center. Four thousand questionnaires were mailed; 2,468 were returned, a 61.7%
response rate. The questionnaire presented statements about library
collections, electronic information, staff, services, and facilities.
Respondents indicated both their current level of satisfaction and the
importance of each item. The questionnaire also contained statements about
overall impressions, with which respondents agreed or disagreed. Respondents
identified their status, departmental affiliation, and primary library.
Suggestions for improving campus libraries were solicited, and nearly half of
the respondents offered comments. Because each user category has distinct
needs, responses from faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and academic
staff were analyzed separately. Despite the large sample, the number of
respondents who identified any particular library as their primary library was
too small to permit generalization.
The survey confirmed the importance of the completeness of library collections
to the faculty. Critical comments about the collections were spread across
disciplines and formats. "Books and journals on the shelf when I seek them"
emerged as a major concern across all user categories. Students, both
undergraduates and graduates, ranked library hours as extremely important. A
strong desire for longer hours in the evenings, on weekends, and during
non-class periods was revealed in the written comments.
The survey suggests a lack of support for library consolidation. Across all
user categories, respondents agreed that libraries "are located conveniently"
and disagreed that collections "are too scattered." There was some sentiment
for mergers in the sciences, judging from the comments. The importance of
libraries as environments for study and research was stressed in the many
comments on facilities and equipment. "Helpfulness of library staff" and
"knowledge and expertise of library staff" ranked high in importance. Many
praised individual staff members for the excellent service they provide.
Across all user categories, there is strong agreement on the value of
electronic information. Undergraduates were more satisfied with current
electronic offerings than were other respondents. The availability of the full
text of journals in electronic form received low satisfaction scores, but
overall it was not judged to be of top importance. Access to Electronic Library
resources from non-library locations is especially important to faculty and
The findings of the campus-wide library survey dovetail with other recent
surveys. A survey sponsored by DoIT found that library databases were high on
the list of resources regularly accessed by WiscWorld users. In the annual
undergraduate survey, libraries received the highest satisfaction rating of any
campus service. A survey of summer session participants similarly revealed high
regard for libraries. And finally, a survey of freshmen showed that, of all the
services introduced during SOAR and Welcome Week, the libraries were the one
most often used by students during their first semester on campus.
The 1995 library survey provides baseline data, against which the libraries and
the ULC can measure the impact of budget reductions and the benefits of
improvements. The GLS intends to repeat the survey in two to three years.
Although the survey pinpointed a few areas of high importance coupled with low
satisfaction, overall 90% of the respondents agreed that "libraries on this
campus are doing a good job of meeting my information needs."
Last modified July 7, 1998
University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries
Office of External Relations
Comments or questions to: Deborah Reilly , Coordinator