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LibQual+® Library Survey Results 2019


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LibQUAL+® Library Survey Results 2019

To understand the needs of our library users and further improve our library services, our Library conducted a Library Survey from 1 November 2019 to 11 December 2019 using LibQual+® as the instrument. LibQual+® is developed by the Association of Research Libraries that is widely adopted by the libraries worldwide to review and assess their library services. We have used LibQual+® to carry out surveys in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Besides our Library, five other UGC-funded University libraries in Hong Kong have also participated in the 2019 LibQual+® Library Survey. The survey results will help review our existing library services and make comparison with other UGC-funded University libraries in Hong Kong to identify areas for improvement.

Target Participants of the Survey

To have a more comprehensive analysis of our library services, the Library invited all existing users of our Library, including Lingnan students, faculties and staff to participate in the Survey. All the opinions and comments are consolidated below for our review and further improvement.

Details of the Survey

The Survey was conducted from 1 November 2019 to 11 December 2019 and all target participants were invited to complete the online questionnaire in either English or Chinese by using the LibQual+® Library Survey 2019. As a token of appreciation, all participants who completed the Survey were eligible to enter into a lucky draw automatically for 10 incentive prizes of book coupons.

Response Rate

By the deadline on 11 December 2019, a total of 327 participants responded to the Survey and the response rate was about 7.84%.

Table 1 Response Rate
  Population Respondents Response Rate
Undergraduate 2,641 205 7.76%
Postgraduate 827 56 6.77%
Academic Staff 217 26 11.98%
Library Staff and other Staff 488 40 8.20%
Overall 4,173 327 7.84%

For details of the respondent profiles, please click here.

Survey Methodology

All respondents were required to answer 22 core questions in the Survey. The Survey was mainly focused on the following three service dimensions, which were:

  • Affect of Service: Customer services provided by library staff
  • Information Control: Library collections and access to resources
  • Library as Place: Library spaces, facilities, and environment

All respondents were asked to provide their rates on a scale of 1 to 9 for the above three service dimensions with the following three scales:

  • Minimum service level that they are willing to accept
  • Desired service level that they would like to receive
  • Perceived library’s service performance

After obtaining the Minimum, Desired and Perceived Mean Scores from the above three scales, the Adequacy and Superiority Mean Scores would be further calculated as follows:

“Adequacy Mean Score” refers to differences between users’ perception and their minimum acceptable service level (i.e. Adequacy Mean Score = Perceived Mean Score – Minimum Mean Score). The higher the Adequacy Mean Score, the better the library is performing.

“Superiority Mean Score” refers to differences between users’ perception and their preferred service level (i.e. Superiority Mean Score = Perceived Mean Score – Desired Mean Score”). The smaller the negative Superiority Mean Score, the closer to the superiority level the library is performing.


Summary of Survey Results

The survey results in this 2019 survey are compared with that of the last survey conducted in 2015 by our Library and that of other libraries conducted in 2019 in the same period with our Library.

1. Overall Mean Scores

Table 2 Overall Mean Scores
  Lingnan 2019 Lingnan 2015 JULAC 2019
Minimum Mean (a) 6.16 5.90 6.16
Desired Mean (b) 7.45 7.40 7.44
Perceived Mean (c) 7.03 6.80 7.09
Adequacy Mean (d) = (c) - (a) 0.87 0.90 0.92
Superiority Mean (e) = (c) - (b) -0.42 -0.61 -0.35

In 2019, our Library obtained the Adequacy Mean and Superiority Mean of 0.87 and -0.42 respectively. When compared with those figures in 2015, our Library obtained a slightly lower Adequacy Mean but obtained a higher Superiority Mean this year. The Perceived Mean score is also higher than in the past. This implied that the Library was improving in the past few years, but there were still rooms for improvement to meet the users’ desired service level.

In addition, when compared with those figures of JULAC, both Adequacy Mean and Superiority Mean obtained by our Library were relatively lower. It was concluded that our library services provided were slightly lower than other JULAC libraries. More efforts are needed to further improve our library services in the coming years.

2. Mean Scores by Different User Types

Table 3 Overall Mean Scores by User Types
  Undergraduates Postgraduates Academic Staff
Minimum Mean (a) 5.90 6.61 6.82
Desired Mean (b) 7.26 7.81 7.99
Perceived Mean (c) 6.85 7.49 7.36
Adequacy Mean (d) = (c) - (a) 0.96 0.88 0.54
Superiority Mean (e) = (c) - (b) -0.41 -0.32 -0.63

Among different user types, undergraduates provided the lowest Minimum Mean score. However, the Adequacy Mean from undergraduates was the highest among the three user groups while academic staff scored the lowest. It reflected that undergraduates had lower expectations on the library services than other user groups and our library services can satisfy their learning needs.

On the other hand, the academic staff gave the highest Desired Mean score which showed that they had higher expectations on the library services than other user groups, but they had the lowest satisfaction level as reflected from their Adequacy Mean Score. It is a signal for us to focus on their expectations and put more efforts on the improvement of the library services in order to narrow down such gap.

In addition, our Library obtained the highest Superiority Mean Score from postgraduates. Our Library had been putting much efforts in improving the services for the postgraduates in recent years, such as designing workshops on research topics, improving library space and facilities for postgraduates etc. The highest Superiority Mean score obtained from the postgraduates showed that our efforts have been recognized.

3. Mean Scores by 3 Service Dimensions

Table 4 Overall Mean Scores by 3 Service Dimensions
  Affect of Service Information Control Library as Place
Minimum Mean (a) 6.04 6.20 6.26
Desired Mean (b) 7.28 7.51 7.60
Perceived Mean (c) 7.02 6.99 7.10
Adequacy Mean (d) = (c) - (a) 0.98 0.79 0.84
Superiority Mean (e) = (c) - (b) -0.26 -0.52 -0.50

The Adequacy Mean and Superiority Mean of Affect of Service scored the highest among all 3 service dimensions. The delivery of the professional services was the most satisfying services as perceived by our Library users. We will continue to serve the users in high standards and professional manner. Information Control had the lowest Adequacy Mean and Superiority Mean scores. In order to satisfy their information needs and to enhance our Library collections to better support their learning, teaching and research, our Library will work more closely with the faculties and professors in the coming future to review the current resources subscriptions, as well as to seek recommendations on new purchases and subscriptions.

Highlights from Core Question Mean Scores

1. Areas Needing Attention

Referring to Table 3, it shows that academic staff gave the lowest score on Adequacy Mean and Superiority Mean among different user groups. It indicated that the academic staff had the lowest satisfaction level as compared with the other two user groups. It is necessary to find out which areas needing improvement. Taken into account of the fact that the Mean Scores on “Information Control” dimension given by academic staff in Table 6 were not up to their minimum acceptable level, Table 5 shows the core questions in this dimension with negative Adequacy Mean Scores.

Table 5 Core Questions with Negative Adequacy Mean Scores (by Academic Staff)
  Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office The electronic information resources I need Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work
Minimum Mean (a) 7.33 7.00 7.29
Desired Mean (b) 8.21 8.25 8.50
Perceived Mean (c) 7.00 6.63 7.00
Adequacy Mean (d) = (c) - (a) -0.33 -0.38 -0.29
Superiority Mean (e) = (c) - (b) -1.21 -1.63 -1.50

The results in Table 5 alerts the Library that there were high demands for information resources from the academic staff, but the Library could hardly fulfil the needs. Although only these 3 questions had lower Perceived Mean scores than the Minimums that resulted in negative Adequacy Mean scores, the other core questions for evaluating the Information Control service dimension also showed that the Library could just reach the acceptable service level by academic staff. When comparing with the other 2 service dimensions (Table 6), Information Control for academic staff is the area that the Library should pay more attention. The Library will work more closely with Academic staff to identify their information needs for their teaching and research work.

Table 6 Mean Scores by 3 Service Dimensions (by Academic Staff)
  Affect of Service Information Control Library as Place
Minimum Mean (a) 6.71 7.00 6.59
Desired Mean (b) 7.87 8.15 7.88
Perceived Mean (c) 7.73 7.06 7.22
Adequacy Mean (d) = (c) - (a) 1.02 0.06 0.63
Superiority Mean (e) = (c) - (b) -0.14 -1.09 -0.66

2. Services Recognized by the Library Users

From the previous section on comparing the Mean Scores by 3 Service Dimensions, Library staff’s customer services recognized by users as “Affect of Service” has received highest adequacy mean score and superiority mean score among the 3 services dimensions (Table 4).

As reflected from the core questions, the academic staff gave the highest scores among different user groups to the questions related to the “Affect of Service” dimension. Four questions have recorded positive Superiority Mean scores which mean services on these areas not only reach their acceptable service level but also their preferred service level.

Table 7 Core Questions with Positive Adequacy Mean Scores (by Academic Staff)
  Library Staff who instil confidence in users Giving users individual attention Library Staff who are consistently courteous Readiness to respond to users' questions
Minimum Mean (a) 6.25 5.74 6.81 7.22
Desired Mean (b) 7.67 6.91 7.96 8.17
Perceived Mean (c) 7.88 6.96 8.12 8.26
Adequacy Mean (d) = (c) - (a) 1.63 1.22 1.31 1.04
Superiority Mean (e) = (c) - (b) 0.21 0.04 0.15 0.09

Obtaining positive Superiority Mean Scores in 4 questions in the “Affect of Service” dimension (Table 7) is encouraging to our Library colleagues as our efforts to serve are recognized by our academic staff, especially when compared with the JULAC libraries. Lingnan academic staff (Table 8) has generally higher expectations (Desired Mean) than other JULAC libraries. It is heartening to learn that we can achieve their expected service level with slightly higher adequacy and superiority mean scores than other counterparts.

Table 8 Comparison of Affect of Service with JULAC (by Academic Staff)
Affect of Service (by Academic Staff) Lingnan JULAC
Minimum Mean (a) 6.71 6.32
Desired Mean (b) 7.87 7.47
Perceived Mean (c) 7.73 7.31
Adequacy Mean (d) = (c) - (a) 1.02 0.99
Superiority Mean (e) = (c) - (b) -0.14 -0.17


1. Affect of Service

The customer services provided by the Library had generally been recognized by the Library users. The Library will certainly continue to provide high quality and professional services. Staff training to uplift the service standard of all library staff will be enhanced. Regular communications will be made with Faculty through the Library Liaisons. More research support services will be offered too.

2. Information Control

The Survey reflected that there was a high demand for study and research resources, especially from the academic staff. The Library will strive to develop fit-for-purpose Library collections via different means. Though under a limited budget, the Library will try our best to explore more funding sources. We will also pay more efforts in obtaining more affordable resources or making available more open access resources. Partnering with Faculty as well as other researchers to understand in what ways the Library can meet their research and teaching needs will certainly be undertaken.

In addition, as some users commented that although the Library provided useful resources and services to them, the publicity was limited and they were not well-informed. To improve the publicity, the Library will enhance the promotion by using different channels and means so as to reach as many users as possible.

3. Library as Place

Many of our users were concerned about the library environment, such as the cleanliness and tidiness, air conditioning, and facilities maintenance etc. The Library has been working closely with the Facilities Management Division (FMD) to enhance the standard and will deploy more staff to patrol the Library to spot for any negligence, all aiming at providing a comfortable and convenient environment for the users.

Many users also requested for additional study rooms and study areas in the Library. The Library is now working hard on a renovation plan and more study rooms and study areas would be provided in the future after renovation in this coming December. The noise problem in the collaborative workrooms would also be resolved after the renovation.


Related Links

Written Comments and Library's Responses

Respondents' Profile

Download the Survey (Chinese Version / English Version)

Download Full Report (Lingnan Library / JULAC)