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Library Faculty Meeting Agenda Committee

LibQual+ Summary

The LibQual+ survey was administered to 43 libraries in the United States during April of 2001. There were 20,000 respondents from these 43 institutions, most of which belonged to the Association of Research Libraries. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign contributed 669 respondents to this national effort. The survey was used in part to identify 25 questions that could be used in future surveys, thus eliminating one of the major complaints (redundancy of questions) from those who took the survey at the University of Illinois.

The LibQual+ team was also able to isolate 4 factors as contributing to the construct of library service quality. These four factors were Affect of Service, the Library as Place, Personal Control, and Access to Collections. This cuts in half the eight factors identified in the LibQual+ 2000 survey. These formerly used eight factors, and which were used to report this year’s results are: Assurance, Empathy, Library as Place, Reliability, Responsiveness, Tangibles, Instruction/Custom Items, and Self-Reliance.

In addition to the responses to the 56 individual questions relating to these eight factors, three questions attempted to gauge an overall service quality and service satisfaction. The mean for these three overall areas (Overall Service Quality, Satisfaction with Service Affect, and Satisfaction with Support for Scholarly Efforts was 6.99, 7.23, and 6.81 on a nine point scale. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scored above the mean in all three areas (see below).

What the survey did was to measure specific levels of satisfaction along a continuum. In answering specific questions, respondents were asked to indicate what the minimum level of service was, what the desired level of service was and what the perceived level of service was. In this way "gap" scores were developed to indicate the measurable difference between perceived and minimum and perceived and desired levels of service. Almost invariably a gap will exist between the desired level of service and the perceived level of service. While not ideal, the closer a service organization comes to the desired level the better. On the other hand when a negative gap appears between the minimum level and the perceived level (i.e. perceived service is less than what is minimally acceptable), then the library has a problem. The LibQual+ survey allows libraries to discern what broad user groups perceive about these various levels of service and therefore can tailor their remedial measures accordingly.

Summary results of the LibQual+ 2001 survey for the University of Illinois at U-C

Demographic overview

669 respondents

Faculty 25%

Grad 19%

Lib Staff 16%

Staff 23%

Undergrad 17%

By Discipline (defined by LibQual+ 2001)

Agriculture 7%

Architecture 0%

Business 6%

Education 5%

Engineering 16%

General Studies 0%

Health Sciences 2%

Humanities 10%

Law 1%

Other 24%

Performing and Fine Arts 4%

Science 13%

Social Sciences 11%

Undecided 0%

Gender Male 47% Female 53%


<22 14%


>45 38%

Use on premises

Daily 22%

Monthly 27%

Never 2%

Quarterly 18%

Weekly 31%

Remote use of electronic library resources

Daily 20%

Monthly 20%

Never 11%

Quarterly 14%

Weekly 35%

Summary ratings

Overall Service Affect Support Scholarly Efforts

Mean 6.99 7.23 6.81

UIUC 7.21 7.29 7.01

Gap Analysis – Problem Areas relating to specific survey questions

Aggregate with all respondents (43 North American Libraries)

Accuracy in the catalog, borrowing, and overdue records

Negative gap of .46 (i.e. the perceived level of service was below the minimally acceptable level of service

UIUC respondents

(selected areas showing trouble areas)

Undergraduate Students – no negative gaps

Graduate Students – no negative gaps


Complete runs of journal titles -- negative gap of .43

Accuracy in the catalog, borrowing, and overdue records – negative gap of .67

A library website enabling me to find information on my own – negative gap of .39


Accuracy in the catalog, borrowing, and overdue records – negative gap of .25

A secure and safe place – negative gap of .01

Library Staff

Access to collections

Convenient access to Library collections – negative gap of .22

Assurance – all negative gaps

Employees who have the knowledge to answer user questions .78

Employees who are consistently courteous 1.02

Assuring users of the accuracy and confidentiality of their transactions .25

Employees who instill confidence in users .32

Empathy – all negative gaps but one

Employees who deal with users in a caring fashion .70

Employees who appear to enjoy what they do .65

Employees who understand the needs of their users .64

Having the users’ best interests at heart .47

Library as Place – all negative gaps but one

Space for group/individual study and research 1.30

Space that facilitates quiet study 1.17

A comfortable and inviting location .96

A secure and safe place .86

A haven for quiet and solitude .66

Reliability – all negative gaps but one

Accuracy in the catalog, borrowing, and overdue records 1.74

Responsiveness – all negative gaps

Willingness to help users .43

Readiness to respond to users’ questions .40

Prompt service to users .24

Tangibles – all negative gaps

Visually appealing facilities .86

Modern equipment that lets me easily access the information I need .72

Self-reliance – negative gap

Easy to use access tools that allow me to find things on my own .49

Instruction – All positive gaps between minimal and perceived