Bank Street Library Survey 2014: Executive Summary

Survey Distribution and Design

The library survey was distributed in several ways. It was delivered in electronic form via email to our current graduate student population and faculty and staff. It was put in the virtual backpack for parents in the School for Children, and added to the alumni newsletter which is emailed monthly. The survey was also set to automatically come up on all library computers when a user clicked on any browser.

The survey of the Bank Street Community ran from May 26th through August 26th, 2014.The 15 question survey covered:

  • Demographic information
  • Overall satisfaction with collections, hours, space, technology, services
  • Top priorities for improvement over the next two years
  • Awareness of existing resources
  • Activities when visiting the library
  • Comments and suggestions

Question 1: Demographic Information

Out of 230 respondents 57% were current graduate students. 33% were faculty, staff, and teachers in the SFC, and the rest were alumni, parents, and those identifying themselves as “other.”

Question 2: Satisfaction with library services in general

General satisfaction with the library is quite high, with 92% satisfaction overall and for library services. The satisfaction level drops to 89% for the collection of materials, and notably to 75% for library hours. On the question of hours, dissatisfaction is 17%, whereas overall dissatisfaction for collections and services is 3%. 44 out of 82 comments (54%) mention the need for longer hours, and the majority of the 44 comments specifically mention a need for Sunday hours.

Question 3: Top priorities for the next two years

The majority of respondents want us to invest in providing more online journal and electronic book titles. Number 2 on their list was to provide areas in the library for group work and collaboration. There were a wide range of comments including allowing food and coffee, getting new chairs, and providing easier access to online resources.

Question 4: How easy does the library make it to do certain activities

The 11 activities on the list were purposefully wide-ranging to match the various types of patrons. For instance, we listed “Read to a child” and “Use the library for class-related group work” as activities. This resulted in a lot of responses that were “neutral” or, no opinion. Generally, our patrons found checking books in and out the easiest (94%), and getting together for class-related group work the hardest (18% found it hard to do). Photocopying and printing also rated very difficult for many (15%)

Question 5: Satisfaction with specific library services

Respondents were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with 11 services. The highest level of satisfaction was for library staff assistance. The highest level of dissatisfaction was with space to study.

Question 6: Awareness of resources

We listed 7 resources that we feel are useful to our patrons to gauge whether they know about them. The Center for Children’s Literature is well known (over 70%) whereas our online tutorials and the APA e-book are lesser known.

Question 7: Rate the potential value of the listed resources to help you complete coursework, tasks, or goals you set for yourself

Almost 90% of respondents found that the books in the library were “very helpful” and “somewhat helpful”, the highest ranking of potential value. Article databases were also very useful to our constituents. Less important were the educational videos and the APA e-book. We feel that this question illuminates a need to promote these resources to our students.

Question 8: Satisfaction with technology in the library

Most people are generally satisfied with library technology in all areas except the ability to charge their devices (only about 34% were satisfied). The online catalog, website, and the computer workstations all rated 80% satisfied or above. Copying, printing, and scanning and wireless access rated somewhat lower; however, with new copy machines and an upgraded wireless network, satisfaction levels should increase. Written comments on this question (and elsewhere) mention the desire for more Macintosh computers.

Question 9: When visiting the library, how often do you use the library to do various [listed] activities

Our respondents overwhelmingly mention often coming to the library to borrow books (60%). Other activities that occur often are printing, working or studying individually, and doing research. The survey reveals that 54% rarely come for group work, most likely a sign of their dissatisfaction with space for group work.

Question 10: Best ways to communicate to patrons

Almost all of our respondents prefer email communications. Some comments suggested making use of text messaging.

Question 11: Asks about following the library on social media networks

Over 60% say they follow us on Facebook. Our library blogs slightly edge out Twitter and Instagram.

Question 12: Level of satisfaction with library staff

We asked our patrons to rate us on courtesy, helpfulness, and availability. All three areas rated quite high, above 90% indicated they were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied”. For courtesy and helpfulness, approximately three-quarters of respondents were “very satisfied”.

Question 13: Which rules and policies frustrate you and keep you from accomplishing your intended tasks

This question had respondents rank the listed rules and policies from most frustrating to least frustrating. The design of the question led many to be confused as to how to complete the question and 50 people decided to skip it. The most frustrating policy is that patrons can only check out adult books for a 2-week period. Second and third on the list is that there is no food and drink allowed in the library, and the 25-cent per day overdue fine, respectively. Least bothersome was being blocked from checking out materials if their fine was too high.

Question 14: “I would use the library more if…”

This was an open-ended question that is very useful for seeing exactly what is on our patron’s minds. The clear message is that people wish the library were open more hours – some wish us to open earlier, others, stay open later, and many would like Sunday hours. The other highly mentioned topic is that our space is insufficient for their needs. They want more space for group work, more space for quiet study, and private rooms for both. Allowing coffee and food into the library is also on the list for many people.

Question 15: “What would you like to see in library resources and services that we don’t currently have”

More and better. More books, more recent books, more space, more online resources, better printing, color printing, better chairs, more staffing.