Library User Survey Results – As Promised!

Putting exam preparations on hold for a few minutes last spring, nearly 200 law students were very generous with their time and ideas in responding to the law library’s user survey. Every few years the library asks for your opinions and comments on a range of topics that help us plan for new services and improvements to facilities. This year’s survey focused on space planning, workspace design, and enhancements to your study environment. 

Comments and Suggestions

As in previous surveys, students continued to request more comfortable/adjustable chairs, more table space, improved lighting and climate control, 24/7 access, and more timely repair of printers/copiers, chairs, staplers, carpets, etc.  Some of these concerns have already been addressed and are in the works; some are more problematic:

  • Carpet replacement is done!
  • There are twenty new wired carrels on the 2nd floor and five more in the law journal area on the 1st floor.
  • Forty more comfortable chairs were added over the summer with more to come from this year’s budget. 
  • Lighting adjustments are the subject of ongoing discussions with architects, facilities experts and budget officials.  
  • Although the multi-purpose printers are maintained primarily by the Copy Center and Law-ITC, the library has provided clearer documentation and expanded staff training to help minimize equipment downtime.
  • Effective climate control continues to be an elusive, moving target.  All we can do is pass your complaints on to Facilities Management and hope their adjustments provide some relief. 
  • While full time access to the library is requested by half a dozen people each year, what we have learned from previous tests of extended hours is that our early morning head counts were so low that the extra costs and safety concerns couldn’t be reasonably justified.    

Ratings

On the questions concerning library services we learned that students are happy with the selection of online databases provided by library subscription and that access to these databases is pretty evenly split between remote and in-library users. However, some students say we could do a better job helping them locate print resources in the library, perhaps with more shelf maps or mobile technology.

On the questions dealing with staff performance, almost 95% of those surveyed were “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied” with staff competence/knowledge, courtesy, and speed of service. Overall satisfaction with the library was rated at 52% Very Satisfied and 43% Satisfied. These ratings are nearly identical to those of our 2009 survey and slightly higher than our 2001 and 2005 ratings. 

We also found out that 64% of our respondents either currently own a smartphone or contemplate purchasing one in the near future so we’re looking at ways to make mobile access to library services easier to accomplish and more productive. 

For a complete list of this year’s survey questions (excluding free text comments) with result tabulations for each, see http://lib.law.virginia.edu/usersurveys/may2011.pdf.   

– Joe Wynne 

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

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