A survey of readers was carried out between Monday 19th March and Sunday 25th March 2012 in order to find out how satisfied readers are with the library's collections and information services. The original two-page survey form created in 2003 was used, as it has been every year since, to ensure consistent quality measurements. Posters advertising the survey were put up throughout the library for the whole of the survey week and survey forms were continually available at the library entrance, on the Issue & Enquiry Desk and on the IALS website. Members of the Academic Services team placed them on tables in the reading rooms and handed them out to readers to encourage returns. A prominent link to the survey was placed on the IALS homepage. The form was also sent electronically to lecturers who teach on the University of London LLM programme, and through Millennium to all of our academic members. A prize draw (£50 worth of cinema, theatre or book vouchers) was also offered to encourage reader participation.
The survey asked readers to rate how the library generally meets their needs in terms of books, journals, electronic databases, library catalogue, computers, photocopiers, printing, helpfulness of staff, training sessions, study facilities, study environment and opening and closing times. Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction on a 4-point scale. The definitions of each category were as follows:
|1 = rarely satisfied||3 = often satisfied|
|2 = sometimes satisfied||4 = usually satisfied|
In total 183 completed survey forms were returned, of which 112 were from LLM students or other postgraduate taught course students, 39 from academic and research staff, and 27 from postgraduate research degree students. Respondents did not always answer every question.
The overall satisfaction rate (those who indicated they were either often or usually satisfied) was 93.96% (95.09 % in 2011). This very slight dip may well be attributable to the heating issue which is addressed below.
As per the last 2 years, the top rating was for helpfulness of the staff, at 99.43% with range of books at 95.53%, range of journals at 94.8%, range of electronic journals and databases at 94.77% , overall satisfaction at 93.96%, electronic training sessions at 92.81%, and opening hours at 92.04% . The library is particularly pleased to note that the rating for opening hours is above 90% for the first time since the inception of the survey. Based on feedback from previous years surveys which indicated students wanted extended opening hours (particularly over exam periods), we trialled a 7 week extended hours period from April to mid June 2011 which was rolled out to extended opening hours between January to mid-June in 2012. The extremely positive reaction in the 2012 survey to this means we are planning to increase these extended hours still further to October to mid-June in 2012/2013. The fact that the rating for our electronic training sessions has remained above 90% for the fifth year running is particularly gratifying as we have expanded and developed these, and this result clearly shows that researchers and students view our annual programme of training sessions as a major value-added service . We were also very pleased to note that our rating for range of electronic journals and databases has remained at a 90% plus rating after dropping to 89.34% two years ago, as we are particularly keen to keep abreast of developments in electronic information provision.
Ratings above 80% were received for the study environment - noise, quality of computing facilities, ease of use of the library catalogue, closing times, availability of printing facilities, and study facilities . We are particularly pleased that the rating for (low) noise levels has remained over 80% for the third year running, demonstrating the positive effects of staff trying to police noise in the reading rooms more actively, undertaking regular patrols to ensure a very quiet study environment. Therefore whilst the comments section still includes some references to abuse of mobile phones in the reading rooms, we are confident that the situation is both being monitored and improving. Again, as with the rating for opening hours, we are very pleased to note the significant improvement on our rating for closing hours due to our new extended opening hours (rating is up from 67.7% in 2011 to 87.57% in 2012). A rating of 82.11% was given for sufficient copies of core LLM textbooks, a good improvement on last year's rating of 73.15% and 73.38% in 2010. It seems that the initial challenges of meeting the requirements of the devolved LLM programme - and the necessarily greater competition for the key resources - have been addressed. The acquisitions team has held discussions about the feasibility of introducing e-books, which should further assist in this area.
Most of these ratings are generally consistent with the ratings of the previous two years, as both this year and last year seven questions were rated over 90%. However, whilst just five questions were rated 80-90% last year, this year seven questions scored this high mark.
The rating regarding the availability of PCs has improved significantly from last year's rating of 72.79% to 79.38%, returning to the previous trend of improving ratings (82.84% in 2009, 81.48% in 2008, 74.18% in 2007 and just 66.66% in 2006). Whilst it has been suggested that demand for library PCs might have peaked, with more people bringing in their own laptops, it should be noted that there were many comments requesting more PC terminals through out the building, specifically on floors 2 and 3 - perhaps the modern student has come to expect extensive networked terminals in academic libraries. It may be that the Academic Services team will need to investigate the average computer to student ratio in comparable institutions and report back to the ILMT. Our rating for availability of photocopiers has however dropped slightly this year, from 83.34% last year to 78.13% this year. This is due to the age of the copiers, which are approaching the end of their five year lifespan and as a consequence are starting to break down more frequently. The Academic Services team is already investigating new machines which we hope to have in place for the start of the 2013 academic year.
Ratings of below 70% were received for cost of printing and study environment - heating. The rating given for the cost of photocopies has levelled out over the past few years at 55.77% this year, compared with 56.21% last year and 56.4% in 2010. These are disappointingly much lower than the 2009 rating of 63.58%, and represent a reverse in the improving marks we had been receiving. The cost of photocopies has been reduced on three occasions in recent years and now stands at 5 pence per copy, which compares favourably with similar libraries. Indeed, the cost was reduced to 5 pence as most of the University of London colleges libraries have this charge, and we are now in line with them. It may be that students are increasingly used to having free printing through their college. In order to update its information, the Library has again enquired about prices at other libraries: most University of London colleges (UCL, SOAS, KCL) still charge 5 pence per A4 copy, with extra charges for larger or colour copying. LSE reduced its price to 4 pence in April 2005, but charge 8 pence for A3 copies; and external users must purchase a card for £1 which has only 48 pence of copies on it. QMUL also charge 4 pence and 8 pence for A4 and A3 respectively. SOAS charges 5 pence per page, but external readers must buy a £1 card, which has only 45 pence worth of copies on it. KCL charges 5p per copy, but readers must purchase a £2 card with only 50p worth of copies on it, and UCL also charge 5p, but a blank £1 copy card must be purchased first. Senate House Library has increased its charges to 6p per copy. The Bodleian Law Library (University of Oxford) has recently decreased its fees from 7 pence to 6 pence per copy, but this is after having increased cost from 5 pence; and the Squire Law Library (University of Cambridge) have increased A4 copy charges from 7 pence to 10 pence.
For the second year in a row, the lowest rating received was for study environment - temperature, with the mark having decreased for the last 3 years in a row from the 2010 rating of 67.55% (which at that point was the lowest for some time but could be put into perspective: the central University of London's heating system broke down at the start of 2010, forcing the library to close early on one day) to last year's rating of 50.97%, to 45.19% this year. This is worryingly and unacceptably low, as reflected in the sheer volume of comments in the survey relating to the unbearably warm conditions in Spring/Summer and freezing conditions in Autumn/Winter. It has proved increasingly very difficult for the Estates Department to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature in the library - depending on the outside temperature it has either been too cold (for most of January) or far too hot (in February or March). Whilst this has always been an issue, the problem appears to have seriously deteriorated this year, to the extent that people have left the library unable to work in such extreme heat. Until a new temperature controlled system has been installed by the Central University, we will continue to receive complaints from users and this uncomfortable temperature will act as a significant deterrent to some of them using us on a long term basis.
Finally, given the choice, the majority of all respondents wanted more books available in the library ( 61.67% ) rather than more lending outside the library ( 38.33% ).
The comments section of the questionnaire provided the standard mix of compliments and suggestions, and can be read in a separate report. It should be noted that, in keeping with the very low temperature rating, the negative comments are dominated by complaints about heating. This is a very serious issue which IALS Library hopes to address in the forthcoming programme of refurbishment. Along with the usual complaints about the cost of copying and printing (addressed above), there have been increased demands for scanning capabilities in the library, and the option for double sided printing and copying. At present, although our machines could be enabled for scanning/double sided copying, we have not set them up as there is no way to charge back to the student. We are liaising with EMOS to make sure that this is something we can offer readers when we upgrade our EMOS machines in 2013. Although, as in previous years, there were a number of requests for extended borrowing rights, this can be comfortably offset against the large majority of our users who prefer greater availability of materials in the library as opposed to greater loan privileges (many of the people who left comments requesting greater loan periods ticked the greater availability in the library option). In fact, whilst we received a total of 21 negative comments as to our loan periods/availability of core readings in the survey, we received 24 comments commending our good availability of books. As in previous years, requests were made by students for a group study room to be available, however both last year and this year we also received a number of requests for more space and seating areas in the reading rooms for silent study. Whilst this is a negative comment, it reflects our popularity amongst students as a base for their studies. Sadly, we cannot provide extra seating facilities until the building is fully refurbished. All collection development and book stock comments can be read in the appendices.
To conclude, the Library is very pleased and reassured that since its inception in 2003, we have received consistently high results across almost all categories in our annual user survey, despite our regularly changing reader base.
Assistant Librarian (Academic Services)
20th April 2012
The following full results of the survey contain responses across all reader categories to 19 specific questions all starting with the text: "Do you feel the Library generally meets your needs in terms of.". By ticking category 3 or category 4 on the 4-point scale we have assumed that the respondents needs were either often satisfied (3) or usually satisfied (4).
|Range of books ?||LLM / Other taught course students||91.67%||110||95.56%||86||96.36%||106|
|Postgraduate research degree students||96.67%||29||84.85%||28||92.31%||24|
|Academic / research staff||95.12%||39||95%||38||94.73%||36|
|All reader categories (including others)||93.3%||181||93.25%||152||95.53%||171|
|Sufficient copies of core LLM textbooks ?||LLM / Other taught course students||71.55%||83||68.18%||60||88.79%||95|
|Postgraduate research degree students||86.67%||13||93.33%||14||85.71%||6|
|Academic / research staff||75%||6||100%||5||100%||6|
|All reader categories (including others)||73.38%||102||73.15%||79||82.11%||101|
|Range of journals ?||LLM / Other taught course students||88.24%||105||92.04%||81||98.41%||104|
|Postgraduate research degree students||93.1%||27||90.63%||29||92%||23|
|Academic / research staff||100%||40||100%||38||94.12%||32|
|All reader categories (including others)||91.63%||175||93.67%||148||84.8%||164|
|Range of electronic journals and databases?||LLM / Other taught course students||91.38%||106||94.32%||83||95.41%||104|
|Postgraduate research degree students||80.77%||21||90%||27||96.15%||24|
|Academic / research staff||90.91%||30||85.72%||30||90.63%||29|
|All reader categories (including others)||89.84%||159||91.51%||140||94.77%||163|
|Ease of use of library catalogue ?||LLM / Other taught course students||90%||108||90.91%||80||87.39%||97|
|Postgraduate research degree students||96.66%||29||82.76%||24||96%||24|
|Academic / research staff||89.47%||34||94.45%||34||90.33%||28|
|All reader categories (including others)||91.06%||173||90.19%||138||88.38%||152|
|Quality of computing facilities ?||LLM / Other taught course students||93.04%||107||87.5%||77||88.78%||95|
|Postgraduate research degree students||96.43%||27||79.31%||23||88.46%||23|
|Academic / research staff||100%||29||78.26%||18||78.95%||15|
|All reader categories (including others)||94.83%||165||84.29%||118||86.62%||136|
|Availability of PCs ?||LLM / Other taught course students||80%||92||73.25%||66||79.43%||85|
|Postgraduate research degree students||76%||22||75.86%||22||84.62%||22|
|Academic / research staff||93.75%||30||70.97%||22||72.73%||16|
|All reader categories (including others)||82.02%||146||72.79%||107||79.38%||127|
|Photocopiers ?||LLM / Other taught course students||83.62%||97||81.4%||70||79.61%||82|
|Postgraduate research degree students||86.21%||25||75.86%||22||69.23%||18|
|Academic / research staff||93.94%||31||96.55%||28||76.93%||20|
|All reader categories (including others)||86.11%||155||83.34%||120||78.13%||125|
|Printing ?||LLM / Other taught course students||78.57%||88||80.96%||68||80.95%||85|
|Postgraduate research degree students||92.86%||26||82.15%||23||69.23%||18|
|Academic / research staff||90.91%||20||90.91%||20||87.5%||14|
|All reader categories (including others)||82.92%||136||82.84%||111||80.14%||121|
|Cost of photocoping / printing ?||LLM / Other taught course students||52.21%||59||50%||52||54.37%||56|
|Postgraduate research degree students||72.41%||21||53.84%||14||48%||12|
|Academic / research staff||75.86%||22||77.78%||21||75%||18|
|All reader categories (including others)||56.4%||97||56.21%||77||55.77%||87|
|Helpfulness of library staff ?||LLM / Other taught course students||99.17%||119||98.89%||83||99.09%||108|
|Postgraduate research degree students||100%||30||96%||31||100%||26|
|Academic / research staff||100%||41||100%||40||100%||38|
|All reader categories (including others)||99.49%||193||98.76%||160||99.43%||177|
|Electronic training sessions ?||LLM / Other taught course students||91.51%||97||90.24%||74||92.45%||98|
|Postgraduate research degree students||86.36%||19||88%||22||95%||19|
|Academic / research staff||84.62%||11||100%||13||90%||9|
|All reader categories (including others)||90.07%||127||90.83%||109||92.81%||129|
|Study facilities ?||LLM / Other taught course students||88.34%||106||76.13%||67||88.79%||95|
|Postgraduate research degree students||78.57%||22||71.88%||23||77.78%||21|
|Academic / research staff||97.15%||34||100%||35||93.55%||29|
|All reader categories (including others)||88.71%||165||80.64%||125||87.65%||149|
|Study environment - noise ?||LLM / Other taught course students||79.17%||95||93.26%||83||81.81%||90|
|Postgraduate research degree students||86.21%||25||70%||21||76.96%||20|
|Academic / research staff||94.28%||33||85.72%||30||87.1%||27|
|All reader categories (including others)||83.43%||156||87.02%||134||82.46%||141|
|Study environment - heating ?||LLM / Other taught course students||56.66%||68||44.44%||40||34.23%||38|
|Postgraduate research degree students||79.31%||23||43.75%||14||44.44%||12|
|Academic / research staff||91.67%||33||75.75||25||76.47||26|
|All reader categories (including others)||67.55%||127||50.97%||79||45.19%||80|
|Opening times ?||LLM / Other taught course students||80%||96||76.41%||68||90.91%||100|
|Postgraduate research degree students||93.11%||27||71.88%||23||92.31%||24|
|Academic / research staff||95%||38||94.74%||36||94.45%||34|
|All reader categories (including others)||85.42%||164||79.87%||127||92.04%||162|
|Closing times ?||LLM / Other taught course students||59.17%||71||59.09%||52||84.54%||93|
|Postgraduate research degree students||72.41%||21||65.63%||21||96.16%||25|
|Academic / research staff||86.85%||33||91.42%||32||91.66%||33|
|All reader categories (including others)||67.37%||128||67.74%||105||87.57%||155|
|Overall, how satisfied ?||LLM / Other taught course students||92.44%||110||92.22%||83||94.64%||106|
|Postgraduate research degree students||100%||30||96.97%||32||92.6%||25|
|Academic / research staff||100%||41||100%||40||94.73%||36|
|All reader categories (including others)||95.31%||183||95.09%||155||93.96%||171|
|More materials available in the library or more lending?||LLM / Other taught course students||In library||56.03%||65||61.36%||54||53.57%||60|
|Postgraduate research degree students||In library||72.41%||21||65.63%||21||57.69%||15|
|Academic / research staff||In library||84.21%||32||83.33%||30||89.19%||33|
|All reader categories (including others)||In library||64.86%||120||67.31%||105||67.67%||111|
Any comments on this public report of the 2012 IALS Reader Satisfaction Survey should be emailed to Laura Griffiths, Assistant Librarian, Academic Services at Laura.Griffiths@sas.ac.uk .