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LibQUAL logoLibQUAL+ Survey - Spring 2004

As we continue to plan for the future of the Georgia Tech Library & Information Center, it's important to understand users' needs and expectations in order to provide dynamic services and comprehensive materials. Thus, for the second year in a row in spring 2004, the Libraries participated in a national research and development project to define and measure service quality across libraries. 202 libraries participated in this international study with approximately 112,000 respondents overall. The project, LibQUAL+, uses a survey instrument to gauge library users' perceptions of services and to measure their satisfaction with services and resources so that libraries can identify areas for improvement.

Nationally, the web-based LibQUAL+ survey consisted of 22 items which were rated on a scale of 1 to 9 and 3 demographic questions. Georgia Tech added 5 additional optional items a total of 30 questions. In addition, survey participants were given an opportunity to make suggestions or comments. Following is some of the survey data and highlights:

Survey Participants:

Survey invitations were emailed to a random group of 2,100 members of the Georgia Tech community as follows: faculty (600), graduate students (600), and undergraduate students (900). 349 students and faculty completed the survey for roughly a 17% response rate. This is considered a good response rate for a survey group of this size.

Overall respondents by user group:

  • Undergraduates: 139 (15% response rate)
  • Graduates: 140 (23% response rate)
  • Faculty: 69 (11% response rate)
  • Staff: 1 (Staff were not slated as a sampling group)


Respondents by Discipline:

The responses were generally representative with Humanities, Psychology, Science/Math, and Social Sciences responding at a higher rate than their proportion on campus. The remaining school or college response rates were slightly less than the campus population:

  • Agriculture / Environmental Studies: 3 (.65%)
  • Architecture: 23 (5%)
  • Business: 22 (4.8%)
  • Communications / Journalism: 1 (.22%)
  • Education: 3 (.65%)
  • Engineering / Computer Science: 282 (62.4%)
  • General Studies: 2 (.44%)
  • Health Sciences: 3 (.65%)
  • Humanities: 16 (3.5%)
  • Law: 2 (.44%)
  • Military / Naval Science: 1 (.22%)
  • Performing & Fine Arts: 1 (.22%)
  • Science / Math: 70 (15.2%)
  • Social Sciences / Psychology: 22 (4.8%)
  • Other: 8 (1.7%)


What was measured:

LibQUAL measured three dimensions of service: Affect of Service, Information Control, and Library as Place. The survey instrument gauges library users' perceptions of services and measures their satisfaction with services and resources so that libraries can identify areas for improvement.


The survey was random and completely anonymous. As an incentive, respondents were given the option to enter their email addresses into a drawing for one of five local prizes. The 5 local prize winners are: Joel Binder, Matthew Chamberlain, Farris Johnson, Pilho Kim, and Richard Wood.


155 people made approximately 211 distinct comments at the completion of their survey.


Comment Highlights

  • Most users are pleased with staff and think the Library does a good job with limited resources.
  • All users want more books, journals, and online (electronic) materials. Faculty members are particularly vocal in this area and are dissatisfied with the Library's collection depth. Students want more leisure/fiction books.
  • Many users are challenged by the variety of interfaces offered and at times have difficulty accessing e-journals.
  • Students agree that the Library buildings, furnishings, etc. need to be refurbished.
  • Students want more computer workstations and more wireless access.

Key Findings

Overall satisfaction varied among user groups. The LibQUAL survey results show that the top three overall areas that need improvement are:

  1. Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work
  2. The printed library materials I need for my work
  3. The electronic information resources I need

Student perceptions indicate the top area that needs improvement as: “A comfortable and inviting location.” The state of the Library buildings generated low scores and a number of negative comments.

The top three overall service areas that are perceived as best are:

  1. Giving users individual attention
  2. Community space for group learning and group study
  3. Employees who deal with users in a caring fashion

Library & Information Center’s Response:

The Library has taken a number of immediate actions in response to survey results and comments. Some of the highlights are:

2004 Highlights:

We continue to strive to make the Library West Commons (LWC) the best and most useful spot on campus for Georgia Tech students, staff, and faculty. We have upgraded the hardware, software, and printing facilities in LWC and in Library East Commons (near the Circulation Desk) as well. The Library's Presentation Rehearsal Studio opened in February 2004 in response to student requests for a technology-enhanced classroom where they can practice their presentations.

The migration from print to electronic remains a priority for the Library. A partial list of new electronic journals is available at In addition to migrating our subscriptions from print to electronic, our implementation of full-text linking via SFX has made the full-text of journals provided from aggregator databases such as ProQuest, EBSCOhost, IEEE, AIAA, ACM, AIP, Project Muse, JSTOR, etc. more readily available to our users. Our Electronic Journals web page is the most current and up-to-date list of our e-journals.

Accessing Library resources has become more complicated due the complexity of electronic access. We offer classes regularly on using Library resources including the GT Catalog (GIL) -- we encourage you to take advantage of these: Also, please feel free to contact us with any searching problems in one of the ways offered at:

The number of scholarly information resources that the Library provides for our users is increasing at a rapid pace. It's important for Library users to find out about resources relevant to their area of interest and to learn how to use diverse interfaces and searching methods. We are working with GALILEO to evaluate possible solutions, including software that provides federated searching across multiple databases and a set of personalization functions enabling users to customize their search environment.

GIL Express is a new service offered by the Library to make library resources throughout Georgia more accessible. Georgia Tech students, faculty and staff now have access to over four million books held by the 34 libraries of the University System of Georgia (USG) and the Gwinnett University Center. The system features an easy-to-use interface, immediate patron validation, and automatic tracking of materials. Most requested materials are delivered within three days. GIL Express offers the options of either online or in-person requests for circulating items contained in these collections. GIL Express online requests can be made from the Universal Catalog, which combines the individual collections of the 35 libraries. The Universal Catalog can be accessed from the Georgia Tech Library Catalog (GIL) by clicking on “GIL Universal Catalog” located on the top menu bar of the search screen, or at

During the fall 2004 semester, interlibrary loan or ILL will move to a new platform, ILLiad, which will increase efficiency in several ways. With ILLiad it will be possible for faculty and students to place requests, track them, view transactions, and more. Articles received through ILL will be automatically posted to a server, and the requestor will receive immediate notification when the material has arrived.

We appreciate your compliments about customer service and Library staff. We will continue to aspire to provide the staff, services, facilities, and collections that are needed by Georgia Tech faculty, students, and staff even in challenging budgetary times.

The Library Council and other Library working groups will continue to analyze the LibQUAL+ Survey results and consider additional service improvements.

We appreciate the thoughtful feedback and insight provided by LibQUAL+ Survey participants. Thanks for taking the time to assess the Library and improve the quality of our resources and services.

For more information about the survey, please email us.