part of the Library's commitment to providing UCL
with the best possible service, a major survey of
undergraduate and taught postgraduate users was carried
out in March 2000. The results show the Library continues
to be a core resource which is heavily used by most
students. Although there are major concerns about
photocopying facilities and the availability of textbooks
and PCs, there is also satisfaction with much of what
the Library is doing.
of Priorites for improving Library Services
- Click on Image for larger version
survey was designed and analysed using a system called
Libra which is widely used in university libraries.
It gathered data on how students were using the Library,
on levels of satisfaction with collections, services
and the environment and on priorities for improvement.
Only undergraduates and taught postgraduates were
surveyed as both groups had been under-represented
in the previous 1997 user survey. Questionnaires were
sent out to a random sample of registered users in
these groups and a total of 282 completed forms covering
the full spectrum of faculties and departments were
90% of those responding to the survey visited one
of the library sites at least once a week and over
40% came in daily. 90% of users borrowed or returned
books and over 70% used the photocopiers. 62% used
the library as a place to study while 75% looked for
material on a reading list. Computer use was also
high with 45% using networked PCs in the library for
word-processing or email and 31% using them to access
databases and electronic journals.
is this high level of demand, combined with the large
number of students in UCL, that leads to the dissatisfaction
with access to materials and equipment that the survey
discovered. 42% of users were either dissatisfied
or very dissatisfied with the availability of recommended
reading and a similar percentage with the number of
multiple copies of core texts. High levels of dissatisfaction
were also expressed with the price of photocopying
and the number of photocopiers, the availability of
PCs and catalogue terminals.
when asked to choose between a variety of suggestions
for improving the library, it was these issues which
came out on top. The diagram shows user priorities.
The length of the bar indicates the strength of preference
or dislike for an idea, those items projecting to
the right are preferred and those to the left disliked.
All the ideas for improving the library came from
a focus group of students held earlier in the year.
The highest-rated suggestion by all groups was to
"buy more copies of set texts and commentaries". This
was followed by "make photocopying cheaper", then
"have more PCs in the library", "spend a bigger proportion
of the College's budget on the library", "subscribe
to more journal titles" and "open the library on Sundays
a more positive note there were some areas of the
Library that were highly rated. In particular, nearly
70% of users were satisfied with the and a similar
number happy with opening hours during term.
this information plays a vital part in the planning
process, helping to identify areas for attention and
improvement. An action plan to deal with each of the
issues identified by the survey has already been drawn
up. It involves a variety of measures including appointing
an outside contractor to provide photocopying services;
providing more space for PCs and catalogue terminals
in planned refurbishments of the Main and Science
libraries, and even closer co-operation between subject
librarians and academic staff to ensure core materials
are identified as early as possible and additional
Library is very grateful to everyone who took part
in the 2000 survey and hopes that many more will participate
in the next survey planned for 2002.