22  ·  Survey Results:  Survey Questions and Responses
3. How do your library user experience activities fit within the library’s broader array of assessment
activities? N=59
According to our library’s mission statement, the library must “understand the research, teaching, and learning needs
of its users” in order to fulfill its mission. The desire to understand the experience and needs of library users is perhaps
the raison d’être for the library’s assessment program. There is substantial overlap between the library’s user experience
activities and its assessment activities, though they are not wholly coterminous.
All of our assessment activities are currently focused on our users.
Assessment of customer needs and assessment of the customer are the central components of our assessment
activities. We assess needs to determine what our customers need from us to support their success. This information
informs our strategic planning and development of new services or resources. Assessment of the user experience
(including satisfaction with our services) helps us assess our progress toward our goals and helps identify areas in need
of improvement. Our other assessment activities are primarily clustered around efficiency in use of our resources and
staff climate and learning needs.
At this time, the library does not have a designated assessment unit, or a user experience unit, so these activities are
generally done at the department or division level, in alignment with strategic priorities.
Currently, the majority of our assessment activities are focused on user experience with services that currently exist or
on identifying gaps in services that would enhance user experience. However, we do “by the number” assessment of
ILL/resource sharing, cataloging, and other production areas of the libraries to meet goals.
For many years, we have had a committee that administers surveys and works on branding and marketing issues.
The UX office works with the chair of that committee to coordinate and report on survey activities. The UX office
coordinates the library’s marketing efforts, promotes outreach, and leads the web team’s usability testing. Additionally,
the UX office engages with users via focus groups, and informal surveys.
GWUL responded to LibQUAL+® results by creating position of Student Liaison who works with the AUL for
Administration, Development, and Human Resources, and with the Outreach Group to plan and participate in several
annual student centered activities. Examples are new student orientations during summer before freshman year,
graduate student orientations, resident advisors assistance, “Take a Break” activities with snacks, fun giveaways,
movies, etc.
I tend to view “user experience” activities as an attempt to capture feedback on a more narrowly defined basis, e.g., on
a particular service or space, from a particular user group.
In 2002 and 2006, the UIC University Library participated in the LibQUAL+® Total Service Quality survey. The surveys
highlighted a need for greater access to technology and overall improvements to library facilities (which had not been
renovated since the 1980s). As a result, over the last several years, the library has conducted multiple user surveys
focusing on experience with reference, instruction, circulation, and collections. Additionally, an annual user survey is
conducted during the fall semester to measure library performance and patron satisfaction, with a particular emphasis
on facilities, services, and technological resources. It has tracked satisfaction and improvement in these areas, while
also gathering useful information about changing patron wants and needs. In response to patron feedback, the library
has made significant changes. Over the past 18 months, library hours have been extended, physical improvements have
been made in all facilities, and public computers have been replaced and upgraded. Later this year, construction will
begin on a new IDEA Commons—a space intended for active learning and 24 hour access. Information gained is also
being used to make strategic decisions about collections development and allocation of resources. The annual survey
also provides respondents the opportunity to identify what they feel should be priorities for the library. Responses have
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