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Systems & Access Services

User Satisfaction Survey, April 3 - 16, 2000.

Compiled by: John Lamborn, Systems & Access Services Librarian
April 21, 2000


In preparation for the 2004 accreditation review of WSU, the library has implemented biennial assessment of user satisfaction with programs and services. A survey of WSU faculty was conducted in 1999 and will be conducted again in 2001 and 2003. A survey of WSU students was conducted this Spring and will be conducted again in 2002 and 2004. The survey of faculty is planned and administered by the University Librarian. The survey of students is jointly planned and administered by the Reference & Information Services Librarian and the Systems & Access Services Librarian, in consultation with the University Librarian and the Instruction Services Librarian.

Survey Instrument

The survey instruments for Systems & Access Services were development in consultation with the Reference & Information Services Librarian, the Instruction Services Librarian, the University Librarian, and members of the Systems & Access Services Team. A separate but similar instrument was developed for each of the three primary components of Systems & Access Services: The Student Computer Lab, Circulation Services, and Media/Reserve Services ( Interlibrary Loan was not included in this round of surveys since it only recently became a part of Systems & Access Services). Each survey instrument consisted of approximately 20 "bullet statements" descriptive of a service, policy, collection, and/or attribute, etc. associated with that particular service area. Respondents were asked to assign a "satisfaction" rating ranging from 5 (highly satisfied) to 1 (highly dissatisfied) or to indicate that they had "no opinion" in regard to a particular statement. An explanation of the role/objective of each service being assessed was included on each survey instrument, as was an request for comments and suggestions from the respondent.

Survey Period

The survey for Circulation Services was conducted from April 3 (Monday) through April 9 (Sunday). The surveys for Media/Reserve Services and for the Student Computer Lab were conducted from April 10 (Monday) through April 16 (Sunday).

Survey Sample

The survey sought input from currently enrolled students who were physically present in the service area being assessed during the time of assessment. The primary audience was to be students receiving assistance at a service desk or, in the case of the Student Computer Lab, using a workstation. A secondary audience, if needed, was to be students studying in the immediate service area. A maximum of 20 or a minimum of 15 respondents was sought during each survey interval. This quantity was deemed adequate to provide a viable sample, and expected to minimize any negative impact the activity might have on both personnel and users.

In addition, a sample which was representative of the broad range of service hours (95 hours in a seven day period) was sought. To that end, personnel in the respective service areas assigned two hour intervals during which the surveys would be distributed on each of the seven survey days. At least two of the survey intervals were to target morning service hours(7am to noon), at least two were to target afternoon service hours (noon to 6 PM), and at least two were to target evening service hours (6 PM to midnight). Both Saturday and Sunday were to be represented in the sample as well. At least the minimum and usually the maximum number of survey instruments was successfully distributed in this manner for all but one of the designated survey intervals: Saturday's 2 to 4 PM period in Media/Reserve.

The survey intervals for each service area was as follows:


Monday: 8 to 10 PM Tuesday: 6 to 8 PM Wednesday: 4 to 6 PM Thursday: 10 to noon
Friday: 8 to 10 am Saturday: noon to 2 PM Sunday: 2 to 4 PM

Media/Reserve and the Student Computer Lab

Monday: 10 to noon Tuesday: 6 to 8 PM Wednesday: 8 to 10 PM Thursday: 10 to noon
Friday: 8 to 10am Saturday: 2 to 4 PM Sunday: 4 to 6 PM


Two survey distribution boxes and a sign noting that a survey was in progress were placed in the service area. Twenty survey instruments for each day of the survey, inconspicuously"tagged" on the reverse side with the date of distribution, were prepared and distributed to each service area.

Personnel were instructed to begin distribution of the survey instruments each day at the beginning of the designated survey interval. Distribution was to stop once the maximum number (20) had been reached. If fewer than the minimum number (15) had been distributed during a given survey interval, personnel were to "extend" the interval until that number had been distributed. When distributing the survey instrument, personnel were encouraged to do as follows:

  • Politely and pleasantly ask the individual to "participate in the survey" as he/she is offered a survey instrument and a pencil.
  • Assure the individual that completion of the survey "only takes about three minutes" and that he/she will not be asked to do another in that service area for at least a year.
  • Indicate where the completed survey instrument may be deposited.
  • Thank the student for his/her participation.

At  the end of each day, the completed survey instruments were given to the Systems & Access Services Librarian for tabulation. Responses of a rating of 3 or higherwere interpreted as representing satisfaction with the service, policy, collection, attribute, etc. represented by the statement. Responses of a rating of 2 or lower were interpreted as representing dissatisfaction with the service, policy, collection, attribute, etc. represented by the statement. "No opinion" responses were interpreted as representing a lack of familiarity, for a variety of possible reasons, with the statement's subject matter.

Return Rate

No Distributed No Returned % of Return
Circulation 131 131 100
Media/Reserve 141 118 87
Student Computer Lab 140 127 91

Observation and Analysis

A summary of responses to the surveys distributed in each of the Systems & Access Services components (excepting Interlibrary Loan) is found at the end of this narrative. To summarize further, I have compiled a translation of those responses into "percentages" of satisfied and dissatisfied users (page 6) from which the following "highlights" are given:

All Service Areas

  • 98% of student users surveyed expressed "overall satisfaction with" Circulation Services, Media/Reserve Services, and the Student Computer Lab.


  • 95% of respondents are satisfied with the friendliness and approachability of personnel.
  • 92% of respondents are satisfied with the thoroughness of the assistance provided.

Service Hours

  • 95% of respondents are satisfied with weekday service hours
  • 87% of respondents are satisfied with weekend service hours


  • 51% of respondents had no opinion regarding the fee charged for lost items.
  • 36% of respondents were satisfied with the fee charged for lost items.
  • 48% of respondents were satisfied with the fee charged for late returns.
  • 36% of respondents had no opinion regarding the fee charged for late returns.

Printing and/or Photocopying

  • 85% of respondents were satisfied with the extent of access to these facilities.

Individual Service Area: Circulation Services

  • 95% of respondents are satisfied with the stacks arrangement and management.
  • 82% of respondents are satisfied with the availability of "quiet study" areas.

Individual Service Area: Media/Reserve Services

  • 82% of respondents are satisfied with the length of the loan period for Reserve material.
  • 0% of respondents are dissatisfied with the availability and quality of viewing/listing rooms
    and viewing/listening equipment (VCRs, CD Players, etc.)

Individual Service Areas: The Student Computer Lab

  • 93% of respondents are satisfied with the seating, work space, lighting, and room
    temperature of the lab.
  • 87% of respondents are satisfied with the quality of the lab PCs.

Suggestions for Improvement

  • A 70% satisfaction rating for "referrals to other library services as needed" suggests
    that personnel require a better understanding of both " when to refer" and "where to
    refer" users requiring assistance not usually provided by Systems & Access Services.
  • The high percentage of "no opinion" responses given for statements relating to the
    Self-Check System (63%), Option to Extend a Loan Period Via the Internet (51%), and
    the E-Reserve System (41%) may be due to a lack of interest in these services. On the
    hand, lack of use may be due to a lack of awareness that these services even exist. More aggressive promotion of these services is needed to determine which factor(s) best explain the lack of use.
  • The lower rating of satisfaction for service hours during semester breaks (64%) in
    comparison to satisfaction ratings for hours on weekdays and weekends is of some
    concern. However, the elimination of semester break hours between Spring and
    Summer semesters (to be implemented this May) is expected to bring a greater level
    of satisfaction from users. If that is not the case, further examination of this issue will
    be requested.
  • Only 10% of respondents are dissatisfied with the number of MAC workstations (4) in the library lab; 20% want more PCs in the facility. It would therefore appear that we should make an effort to meet the request of the latter group. However, the library lab is the only lab open during semester breaks and on holidays. Since the capacity of the lab restricts an increase in the number of workstations to three or four at most, careful consideration must be given to which will be added: MACs or PCs?
  • Comments made on the survey instruments (included with the summary of responses)
    provide the following additional suggestions for consideration:
      • Add Microsoft Office as an option on lab workstations.
      • Increase the loan period for videos.
      • Clean the workstation keyboards in the lab.
Updated October 6, 2004 . Please send comments to John Lamborn, Systems & Access Librarian.
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