Did You Know? Factoids from Library Assessment

November 2020

factoid showing the must used library services from Oct 2020

In October 2020, the first of two short library satisfaction surveys was circulated among randomly selected undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The goal of the survey was to assess the students’ needs and attitudes with respect to the services and resources offered by the University Library during the pandemic. In the survey, students were asked to rate eleven library services (i.e., study spaces, checkout items, librarian consultation) as easy, neither easy or difficult, or difficult to use. Students were also given an option to select that they have never used the service. Of the 215 responses, three of the most used services were e-books or e-journals (72% of respondents have used), checking out books, equipment, or other library items (45%), and consultation with a librarian (44%). Of those who have used each service, 69% of respondents selected that e-books or e-journals are easy to use, 52% selected that checking out library items is easy to use, and 66% selected that the consultation with a librarian service is easy to use. The second of this survey series will be sent in November to a different population of students. The comments from this survey have already revealed key areas of improvement for making the library’s services more easily accessible to students during the pandemic.


October 2020

graphic showing circulation statistics for Voyager ILS

The library started using Voyager as the integrated library system in April 2002. On June 24th, 2020, we said goodbye to Voyager, along with VuFind and Classic Voyager (WebVoyage), and welcomed Alma and Primo. During the past 18 years, millions of transactions were processed using Voyager. Looking at the circulation statistics alone, there were more than 8.5 million initial checkouts, 5.8 million renews, and 8.1 million returns recorded in Voyager. That equals to 1.2 million circulation transactions per year and an average of 2 transactions per minute.

We thank you for your service, Voyager. Bon Voyage!

Thanks to Michael Norman, Janelle Sander, Cherie Weible, and Heather Murphy for providing data and consultation. Image created by Library Assessment Graduate Assistant Lindsay Taylor.


September 2020

factoid image with library statistics related to the first day of classes

This year’s first day of classes for the fall semester, August 24, 2020, was far different than any other first day that the university has had. There were no long lines at the coffee shops, and no one asked where Room 66 was or where they could print out class schedules. While it was quiet in library buildings and spaces, library services were busy at work, serving faculty, staff, and students who were on or away from campus. Here is what happened in the Library (virtually) during the first day of classes.


August 2020

library factoid showing belonging statistics

In a survey conducted in Fall 2018, the library asked 974 undergraduate students to indicate their level of agreement to this statement “When I am in a campus library building, I feel that I belong” using a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree). The chart below shows how male, female, and students who did not identify with either gender responded to the question.

Male students were more likely to support the statement (n=617, median=6) than female students (n=219, median=5). It is unclear how the “Don’t identify with either” subgroup felt about this statement since it had less than 20 participants. However, understanding and acknowledging the differences in perceptions and needs across all student demographic subgroups is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest. Several studies of college student experiences during the pandemic have found that underrepresented or marginalized student groups are dealing with a higher level of stress and financial or social worries. For example, a study conducted by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS)* found that non-binary and female college students felt more stressed and worried about paying for rent or food than male students. Another study conducted by Ithaka S+R** revealed a similar trend about non-binary and female students. The Ithaka S+R report also showed that students lacked a sense of belonging and felt socially disconnected.

*HEDS COVID-19 Institutional Response Surveys
**Student Experiences During the Pandemic Pivot


July 2020

library factoid about business workshop feedback

Business Information Services (BIS) has been providing the Business 101 Library Workshop to students who enroll in BUS 101 (Professional Responsibility and Business), a 3-credit course and a core requirement for business majors. In Fall 2019, BUS 101 instructors required all their students to complete the Workshop. 704 students (out of 791 who enrolled) completed an evaluation after attending the Workshop. 66% of those students (n=464) ranked the Workshop “Very Good” and identified the elements they liked the most: Instruction, Hands-on Practice, and Availability of Resources. In addition, a comparison of BUS 101 course grades from Fall 2018 (students were not required to complete the Workshop) found that the students from Fall 2019 had higher grades (t test results).


June 2020

library factoid image showing EZproxy use

After the campus closed and all classes resumed online on March 23rd, the use of the Library’s EZproxy and electronic resources by all user groups, particularly by the students, has increased. More than 36,000 students have accessed the EZproxy server since September 2019. The chart below compares the percentages of students who accessed the EZproxy, using aggregated data from the fall semester (blue bars) and both fall/spring semesters (orange bars). The percentages were increased for all colleges, most notable for Fine + Applied Arts (FAA), Liberal Arts Sciences (LAS) and Vet Med (VMED).


May 2020

library factoid image showing chat statistics

While all University Library locations are closed to the public in accordance with the “stay-at-home” order, the Ask a Librarian virtual reference service continues to support students, faculty, and the broader user community. Data show that the Ask a Librarian service answered 201 chats during spring break 2020 (March 14-22) – a 100% increase compared to spring break 2019. During the first week after classes resumed online (March 23), the Ask a Librarian service answered 252 chats, which marks the busiest week since October 2019.


April 2020

library factoid image showing EZproxy statistics

Usage of library electronic resources has increased after the university began alternative online course delivery. Based on the year-to-date data, the highest daily transactions by faculty/staff and students were both recorded on Monday, March 30th. There were 2,989 EZproxy transactions initiated by Illinois students and 2,419 transactions initiated by Illinois faculty and staff.


March 2020

library factoid image showing off campus resource use

Since September 2019, the Library has been using Splunk (a large scale data analysis tool) to process EZProxy logs in order to record the aggregate use of electronic resources by off-campus users. From September to December 2019, 33% of faculty, as well as 32% of students, have accessed the library resources from off-campus. The chart below shows that during the same time period, 32.4% of the off-campus student logins were initiated by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) students, 17.1% by the Grainger College of Engineering (ENGR) students, and 16.5% by the Gies College of Business (BUS) students.

The data analysis and visualization of usage logs would not be possible without extensive work by the Library IT, especially Jon Gorman and Jason Colwell.


February 2020

library factoid image showing off campus resource use
Since September 2019, the Library has been using Splunk (a large scale data analysis tool) to process EZProxy logs in order to record the aggregate use of electronic resources by off-campus users. From September to December 2019, 33% of faculty as well as 32% of students have accessed the library resources from off-campus. The graph below shows the percentage of students who accessed resources from off-campus for each college. The top colleges/schools are the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, iSchool, the College of Education, and the School of Social Work.

The data analysis and visualization of usage logs would not be possible without extensive work by the Library IT, especially Jon Gorman and Jason Colwell.


January 2020

library factoid image showing statistics about the undergraduate library

As part of the Undergraduate Library’s 50th Anniversary celebration, we asked students to write down what they liked about the UGL. Overwhelmingly students said they loved the UGL as a place to be with friends (Social Spaces, 25%) and to study (22%).


December 2019

library factoid graph showing circulation statistics

The University Library recorded 322,962 initial circulations during Fiscal Year 2019, which shows a 2% increase from Fiscal Year 2018 (316,273). Academic libraries use “initial circulations,” which does not include reserves and loanable technology or e-book usage, as an important metric to assess the use of a physical collection. During FY18, the Library recorded the second highest number of initial circulations among BTAA libraries (#8 among 116 ARL university libraries).


November 2019

library factoid graph showing reference transactions

A “Reference Question” is defined as an “information contact that involves the knowledge or use of one or more information sources by library staff” (ISO 2789). While many academic libraries have reported a decline in reference services for the last decade, these continue to be important at the University Library. During the fiscal year 2018, the library provided the most reference and consultation interactions (62,868) among all BTAA libraries and more than many other peer institutions (#14 of 116 ARL university libraries).


October 2019

library factoid image reporting faculty survey statistics

How do Illinois faculty value the University Library and the librarians and staff? The 2019 faculty survey found that 63% of the faculty participated in the survey felt that the librarians and the library contribute to student success. The faculty also highly valued that the library “Pays for the resources they need” (94%), “Supports graduate research” (82%) and “Supports undergraduate education” (79%).

For more information about the survey, please visit https://www.library.illinois.edu/staff/assessment/libsurv/ithaka-sr-faculty-survey-2019-faq/.


September 2019

library factoid graph showing faculty survey result

The library conducted a faculty survey in spring 2019 and found a considerable increase (19%) in the importance of undergraduate library instruction. 79% of the Illinois faculty who participated in the survey viewed the function of “The library helps undergraduates develop research, critical analysis, and information literacy skills” to be important/extremely important. In 2013, only 60% of the participants valued the undergraduate library instruction as important.

For more information about the survey, please visit https://www.library.illinois.edu/staff/assessment/libsurv/ithaka-sr-faculty-survey-2019-faq/ .


August 2019

library factoid graph expressing number of library visits for undergraduate students

A survey conducted in fall 2018 by the Library shows that 97% of the undergraduate students surveyed have physically visited the library. 42% said they prefer studying/working in a campus library more than in other types of buildings. 52% identified with this statement: “When I am in a campus library building, I feel that I belong.”

For more information about the survey, please visit https://odos.illinois.edu/assessment/pulse/2018/library/ and https://go.library.illinois.edu/undergrad.