Thursday, January 29, 2009

Graduate Student Library User Survey

Last spring, library staff conducted a survey of graduate students’ library usage and satisfaction with resources and services. Survey responses reflect the changes that have occurred in students’ information needs and behaviors since the last survey was done in 2000.

A total of 310 completed surveys were received from students in all nine graduate programs. The survey revealed that more than half of the respondents conduct their research away from the CSC Libraries. 59.1% of the respondents do their research at home, and only 28.9% use the CSC Libraries as their primary research site. This finding has significant implications for the delivery and access of library services.

While print sources are still important to graduate students, access to digital content is a big need and the top library priority for survey respondents. The overwhelming majority of students (90.4%) want the Libraries to provide more online full-text journal articles, with almost half (43%) requesting more library databases. Coming in at a distant third is more library computers (28.3%). Comments from respondents echoed the need for more full-text articles.

Library staff helpfulness and knowledge and interlibrary loan services were all given the highest ratings by survey respondents, and written comments confirm that the libraries’ greatest strength is its staff.

Survey responses affirmed the Library’s prioritizing of electronic resources, specifically library databases. Librarians are also providing more training workshops and individual consultations for graduate students and are engaged in a significant redesign of the library website to improve service to remote access users.

The staff is appreciative of the students who contributed their ideas and voiced their concerns, and we will continue to use the survey data as guidance in addressing graduate students’ information needs.

by Sue Gray, Reference and Circulation Librarian, Mpls Campus

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