About the 2013 LibQUAL+® Survey
What is the LibQUAL+® survey?
Service quality has always been the focus of libraries. LibQUAL+® is intended to provide a measure of the value of library service quality across multiple academic and research libraries. The LibQUAL+® instrument measures library users’ perceptions of their libraries’ service quality and identifies gaps between minimum, desired and perceived levels of service.
LibQUAL+® is a standardized survey that was developed as a project of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in collaboration with the Texas A&M University Libraries. The project’s goal is to define and measure library service quality across institutions and to create useful quality-assessment tools for libraries.
What does the survey measure?
LibQUAL+® measures users' perceptions in three service quality dimensions that have been found to be valid in previous assessments of services: Affect of Service, Library as Place and Information Control. For each, users indicate their minimum, desired, and perceived levels of performance.
How will this survey benefit the VCU community?
This project will allow libraries to compare their service quality with other peer institutions, to develop benchmarks, and to reveal best practices across institutions. By participating in LibQUAL+® and initiating action based on the results of this survey, VCU Libraries can be more responsive to users' needs and provide services that are better aligned to reflect users' expectations.
Why is the survey important?
There is increasing pressure for libraries to move toward more outcome-based assessment efforts, instead of relying solely on input or resource measurements. This pressure comes from funding authorities as well as users themselves. Outcome measures show how well an organization serves its users, and assist in finding new measures of library efficiency and effectiveness.
How and when is the VCU Libraries survey being conducted?
The data for all participating institutions will be collected on secure servers located in the Texas A&M University Library. Each response will be stored separately as it reaches the server and survey results will be reported back to the participating institutions as aggregate mean score data. VCU Libraries will conduct its survey in Spring 2013.
Will there be any special incentives for participating?
For every survey completed, VCU Libraries will donate $1 to the Central Virginia Food Bank. At the end of the survey, respondents may elect to include their email address to enter a drawing for one of 10 Barnes & Noble @ VCU Bookstore $25 gift cards or one of two grand prizes: an Apple iPad or an iPad mini.
Are responses confidential?
Yes, the LibQUAL+® approach to confidentiality is guided by the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association (see http://www.apa.org/ethics/code.html, section 5) and the VCU Institutional Review Board (IRB number HM14979). Although some information is captured from respondents, such as network and email address, privacy is protected in two ways. First, only very indirect information is captured which would be difficult to trace back to an individual. Second, everything possible is done to separate personal information from survey responses. Email addresses are not saved with the responses, therefore it is not possible to link an individual's responses back to their email address.
What survey instrument is being used?
The LibQUAL+® survey evolved from a conceptual model based on the SERVQUAL instrument, a popular tool for assessing service quality in the private sector grounded in the "Gap Theory of Service Quality". It was developed by Leonard L. Berry (Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University), A. Parasuraman and Valarie A. Zeithaml. The Texas A&M University Libraries and other libraries used modified SERVQUAL instruments for several years; those applications revealed the need for a newly adapted tool that would serve the particular requirements of libraries. Since 1999, representing the largest research libraries in North America, Association of Research Libraries has partnered with Texas A&M University Libraries to develop, test, and refine LibQUAL+®. This effort was supported in part by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE).
Do all libraries use the same questions?
All libraries participating in the 2013 LibQUAL+® survey will use the same 22 core questions and demographic questions. Each library may also select five additional questions from a list of 122 optional questions. VCU Libraries has selected five optional questions with local relevance.
What other libraries are participating in LibQUAL+® ?
A list will be provided when available.
VCU Libraries will receive initial results in May 2013 and will share final results with the VCU community in fall 2013. The results will be analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.
See www.libqual.org for more information.
VCU Libraries participated in LibQUAL+® in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011. See VCU Libraries 2011 LibQUAL+® Survey Results.
If you have comments or questions, please contact Ibironke Lawal, Science and Engineering Collection Librarian, or at 804 828-8739.