2012 Library Client Survey Results

Making Your Library Better – Responding to Your Priorities

In May 2012, Library and Information Services ran the JCU Library Client Survey.  More than 3,521 people took the opportunity to tell us what they think about their Library, and 1,295 people took the time to provide written comments.  We thank you for your feedback and input into this important benchmarking and continuous improvement exercise.

The survey results help Library and Information Services staff to identify what services and resources are most important to clients, how we are performing in the delivery of these services and resources, and identify priority areas for improvement.  The overall score was 77.7%.  This is a score increase of 2.0% since the previous survey in 2008.

New: Actions Taken

What is most important?

Library clients reported that access to online resources (e.g. ejournals, databases and eBooks) to meet learning and research needs is most important.  This was followed closely by Library staff providing accurate answers to enquires, Library staff being approachable and helpful, having access to library resources and services when away from campus, and getting wireless access in the Library.

What do you think we do best?

You told us that the top 5 factors are the performance of Library staff including:  treating clients fairly and without discrimination, being approachable and helpful, providing accurate answers, readily available to assist, and that Library InfoHelp enquiry services meet client needs.  Also in the top 10 are off campus access to library resources and services, self-service, access to online resources, improved service delivery from the new service desk in the Mabo Library, and printing and copying services.

What has improved significantly since the last survey?

In 2008, Library clients told us that they would like information resources (print and electronic) that meet their learning and research needs; and to ensure that it is easy to access electronic resources.

Since 2008 we have improved authentication to our eresources with the result that off campus access is now ranked as a top performer, 6th in the top 10 list.  We have also reduced the gap between importance and performance for information resources from a high of 1.43 in 2008 to 1.04 for online and 1.00 for print in 2012.  While clients want more improvements, those made since 2008 to the selection, discovery and availability of resources, have resulted in clients no longer ranking information resources in the lowest performing category.

Other improvements identified by clients since the last survey include: better opening hours, printing and copying services, easier access to readings via Reserve Online, Library website and Library catalogue are a bit easier to use.

Identified areas for improvement

The good news is that there are no significant gaps between importance and performance.  However clients would like to see improvements in the following areas:

More computers, laptop facilities (power), wireless access

Availability of computers is still the number one issue.  A significant contributing factor for dissatisfaction with laptop facilities and wireless access probably reflects the dramatic increase in the use of mobile devices in our libraries.  Library clients in Cairns, and particularly in Townsville, are also showing a much higher gap between expectation and performance for wireless access. The construction work in the Mabo Library over the past year may have also added to client frustration with ICT.

More quiet places in the Library to study

An issue, in all of our library facilities at the Townsville, Cairns and Singapore campuses.  In Townsville, the construction work in the Mabo Library was a major contributor to this issue.

More places in the Library to work in groups

Similar to finding a quiet place, the level of dissatisfaction with the current number of group spaces in the libraries are increasing.

Information resources that meet learning and research needs including online and print based resources

Make the Library website easier to use

Library Client Comments

We received 2,497 comments, approximately 71% from undergraduate students.  The majority of negative comments are about facilities and equipment. It is interesting to note that of the respondents who come onto campus 2-4 days per week, 86% come into the Library building while on campus, so it is extremely important to have a good facility with the appropriate equipment, environment and services.

The comments have been analysed and grouped into themes.  Below are the top 5 themes by campus.

A listing of the most common issues raised in the comments clients made in the 2012 Library Client Survey, broken down by campus.

Research Behaviours

For the first time we asked you about your research behaviours and how you seek information.  These results are available by type of client (undergraduate, postgraduate, staff), faculty, and campus and will assist Library and Information Services staff to refine our services.  2,818 people told us about their preferences and it is encouraging to note that overall:

  • 68% research a topic by looking for items in the Library database/ejournal collections.  This was closely followed by using Google or another search engine to find relevant resources.

  • 66% consult other students when they are stuck and need help

  • 78% prefer to ask Library staff for help in person

  • 72% are most frustrated finding full-text ejournal articles

  • 52% want to learn more about using Endnote

  • 63% prefer to learn about Library services via email

  • 47% would attend Library workshops more often if they were better publicised

  • 58% want to access One Search through a mobile device

Next Steps

Library and Information Services staff are analysing all of the information received to identify and prioritise actions for improvement.  We will report on all actions to be taken via the Library website and encourage you to check on our progress.


Questions or comments can be sent to the Library suggestion box.

For the full statistical results see the JCU Library Client Survey Report (2012).