Results of User Survey Forum Library

Published on
January 1, 2009

The Wageningen UR Library pays a great deal of attention to the quality of its services, which it measures with user surveys. In 2008, the Library carried out three surveys: LibQual, the biennial international benchmark survey done among a random sampling from the total Wageningen UR population; a survey on the experiences with the digital library (in collaboration with the Chair Group Marketing and Consumer Behaviour); and a survey among the users of the Forum Library. A detailed report from this last survey will appear shortly. Below is a small sampling of the results.

The Forum Library has been in use since July 2007 and is a merger of a number of smaller libraries. The Library works in an environment that we, with regard to type and size, did not previously have in Wageningen. In the new environment, the BSc education has become strongly concentrated but a large part of the research has become further removed from the library buildings. This fact and the fact that an important part of the literature information in the digital library can be consulted from a distance, made us very curious about the use and the users of the Forum Library. We wanted to investigate who uses the Forum Library, what they use it for, and what their opinion is about the services offered.

The survey was carried out from July to November 2008. Survey forms were continually distributed to library users at different moments of the day and week over two-week periods. In total, 306 forms were completed. In short, the users are generally very positive about the Forum Library. The Library offers an attractive environment with all the necessary facilities and a serious, but also pleasant study atmosphere. Almost 80% of those surveyed were students or PhD candidates from Wageningen University. About 50% of the total were MSc students. Studying (82%)is the most important activity done in the library, but users also use the library facilities a great deal. More than 60% consult the books and/or journals in the library, and the average library stay is 3.4 hours. About 63% of the library users visit the library from several times a week to daily. Finally, users are also satisfied with the collection and the way they are helped by the personnel.

Those surveyed also had criticism and this survey gave a number of important points of improvement. Although the majority of users like to come to the Forum Library to study, they still have critical comments, especially about the noise in the library. Disturbances are caused by speaking loudly (also from the Library employees), telephoning, tours, and clicking doors and hard heels on the stone steps. Users are also unhappy about the multiple problems with the copier/printer equipment.

The survey has yielded a treasure trove of useful information. Often recognizable, frequently surprising. Action points have been distilled from the results with which the library will try to solve a number of problems, honour wishes and thereby further improve the library's services.

(newsletter 1-2009)