What is LibQUAL?
LibQUAL is a web-based survey that asks library users their minimum, desired, and perceived service levels in three dimensions: Library as Place, Information Control, and Affect of Service. Participating institutions may customize their disciplines and positions (user groups, i.e., undergraduate, graduate, etc.) as well as library branches.
Since 2000, more than 1,340 libraries in 35 countries have participated in LibQUAL, including college and university, community college, health sciences, and academic law libraries. This growing community of participants and its extensive data set of more than one million completed surveys are rich resources for improving library services.
What are the goals of LibQUAL?
The goals of LibQUAL are to:
- Foster a culture of excellence in providing library service
- Help libraries better understand user perceptions of library service quality
- Collect and interpret library user feedback systematically over time
- Provide libraries with comparable assessment information from peer institutions
- Identify best practices in library service
- Enhance library staff members' analytical skills for interpreting and acting on data
How will LibQUAL benefit your library and your users?
Library administrators have successfully used LibQUAL survey data to identify best practices, analyze deficits, and effectively allocate resources. LibQUAL gives your library users a chance to tell you where your services need improvement so you can respond to and better manage their expectations. Institutional data and reports enable you to assess whether your library services are meeting user expectations—and develop services that better meet these expectations. Access to the aggregate data and reports of other LibQUAL participants allows you to compare your library's performance with that of peer institutions, and examine the practices of libraries evaluated highly by their users.
What are the elements of the LibQUAL survey itself?
The survey comprises 22 core questions, 5 outcomes questions, 3 general satisfaction questions, 3 library use questions, demographic questions (the number varies by institution), and a comments box. Institutions can also add up to 5 optional questions.
What is LibQUAL Lite?
LibQUAL Lite is a shortened version of the survey questionnaire in which all users answer a few, selected survey questions (i.e., 3 core items), but the remaining survey questions are answered ONLY by a randomly-selected subsample of the users. Thus, data are collected on all questions, but each user answers fewer questions, shortening the required response time.
Our research has shown that response rates are higher with LibQUAL Lite. However, because fewer responses are collected for the non-core questions, smaller libraries sometimes elect to use the full version in order to collect sufficient data for analysis.
What is the median response time?
The median response time for the Lite survey is about 5 minutes. Comparatively, the median response time for the long version of the survey is about 10 minutes.
What is the cost of participation?
The standard base fee to run LibQUAL is $3,200. For information on the cost of registration and other LibQUAL services, see Services and Fees.
What are the benefits of participating in LibQUAL as part of a consortium?
Consortia participation provides the following benefits:
- Analysis of group data and production of a group results notebook, if your consortium has five or more members participating
- The ability to add five new optional questions to the survey as unified group; the purpose of these questions are to identify certain areas of your libraries that the 22 core items may not address (the data from those questions will be included in the group notebook)
For more information about participating as a consortium, please see the Consortia Participation page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When does registration open for the LibQUAL survey?
Registration runs on a calendar year. Registration for the current calendar year is open until mid-November. Registration for the following calendar year typically opens in August.
To register, please go to http://www.libqual.org/register/survey.
What data do I have access to? What is a membership subscription?
You will always have access to your institution's raw data, comments, and results report via the Data Repository.
If you are interested in benchmarking your results against those of peer institutions, a LibQUAL Membership Subscription provides expanded access to past and current data, both through the Data Repository and the interactive Analytics module. While a standard LibQUAL registration includes access to data for other institutions participating in the same year, you may find that your peers are not on the same survey schedule. A LibQUAL Membership Subscription provides access to Results Notebooks, Data Summaries, and dynamically generated tables and charts for all institutions in all survey years. The cost of a one-year subscription is $1,000. Visit https://www.libqual.org/register/subscription to subscribe.
How do I subscribe to the LibQUAL-L discussion list?
LIBQUAL-L is a discussion list for staff in libraries that are currently participating in or have previously participated in LibQUAL, as well as other individuals interested in the survey protocol. To subscribe to the list, please submit this form:
What is the ARL-ASSESS list?
ARL-ASSESS is a public discussion list maintained by the Association of Research Libraries for individuals interested in discussing and learning about library assessment and service quality. If you would like to subscribe to this list, please visit the Google Groups subscription page.
How can I get more information about LibQUAL?
Email us at: email@example.com.