Biennial Benchmark Survey helps University Libraries improve.Posted: February 16, 2023 Filed under: Archives & Special Collections, Art Library, Ekstrom Library, Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, Law Library, Music Library, University Archives & Records Center, University of Louisville Libraries, User Experience | Tags: assessment, feedback, library assessment, surveys, User Experience Leave a comment
By Anita Hall, Assessment Librarian
The University Libraries Benchmark Survey, released in February, is one of the primary ways we obtain feedback from the UofL community. It covers all of our campus libraries, and has existed in some form since 2001.
We do our best to read every comment and make real improvements to the campus libraries each time this survey goes out. Sometimes the results show clear areas for improvement, such as the need for more electrical outlets, or for creating graduate study space, or for beefing up journals in certain subject areas. Often the Benchmark survey results are a starting point for more research. For example, if we see that something isn’t meeting people’s needs, we learn more about the specific issues and possible solutions and use the time between surveys to do that follow-up work. Either way, we’re committed to listening, learning, and evolving to better serve the University community.
Our most recent survey was conducted in April 2021, when we made a major update to the survey instrument. We work with UofL’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness to administer the survey, and they generate a random sample of about 50% of the university community. Not everyone receives a survey and we are dependent upon those who take time to fill it out.
What did we learn that last time around? Overall, it seems like we’re doing pretty well. The vast majority (87.47% or 1612) of 2021 respondents said that they have used the Libraries in some way during the prior year. Of course, due to the pandemic a lot more people were using the Libraries virtually than in previous years, but we were very happy to learn that so many people were still finding ways to use our collections, services, and spaces. For people who said they did not use the Libraries, the top reason was that they just haven’t needed to – but will when the need arises. We also asked respondents to rate the Libraries overall on a scale of 0 to 10, and the average score was 8.32. This was up slightly from the previous survey, so we were happy to see that we have been making improvements!
We learned that people were struggling to find group study spaces, and added additional group study rooms on the second floor of Ekstrom. We’ve updated the lighting in the Art Library. We’ve been hard at work adding diverse materials to the collections at all campus libraries. We’ve made updates to the website, including a big refresh of the Archives & Special Collections site.
We’ll update you soon about the feedback gleaned in this year’s survey. Until then, we appreciate your input!