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Crump/Freund Survey Results (complete): Meeting the Needs of Student Users in Academic Libraries: Home

Companion guide to: "Meeting the Needs of Student Users in Academic Libraries: Reaching Across the Great Divide"

Users Comment on Librarians

As is so often the case in surveys, the open comments said it all.

For the most part, users like librarians, but as these comments show, they don't always want or feel the need to ask us for help with their research. As a profession, do we settle for being “generally helpful”? Are we willing to give up our traditional role, our organizational structure, and our legacy processes to truly engage with the individual user and devote ourselves to their needs?

“I don’t have many research papers to do and it is easier for me to do them by myself.”

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to ask them about. I think I would come to them if I had a question I couldn’t google, but that hardly ever happens.”

            “If you need help from a librarian, then your high school teachers failed you in the paper-writing department.”

“…I’m a big boy, I can do it myself.

            “Don’t expect them to know the details about my class assignment. They would probably give help that is vague.”

“I don’t usually find they are very helpful. I wish they were.” 

            “I didn’t know that they were allowed to help with research."

“I’m too lazy, just want to get the paper/assignment done.”

            “I don’t like wasting time with a question when I know if I work hard enough, I can figure it out myself… I’m very independent… but library staff are generally very nice and helpful.”


The Study

Meeting the Needs of Student Users in Academic Libraries: Reaching across the great divide.

By Michele J. Crump and LeiLani S. Freund

Published by Chandos Publishing, Oxford UK as part of the Information Professional Series.

Forthcoming October 2012

For ordering information contact: Chandos Publishing

The authors and contributors explore the perceptions and relationships between library staff, library administrators, and academic library users. The authors' research focuses on a comparative study of perspectives of these groups that is summarized and analyzed in the book but detailed in this library guide.

Library User Survey: Data and Results

The User Survey consists of 17 questions, including the first question in which the participant voluntarily agrees to participate in the survey. Users are defined as any student, teaching-faculty, researcher, institution staff, or visitor who was present in the library when the survey was distributed. From the five participating libraries (Oregon State University, Syracuse University, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Florida, University of Texas at San Antonio), 1,204 users agreed to participate in the survey for a response rate of 99 percent.  Only nine respondents decided not to participate. The survey begins with questions that establish why the user comes to the library and concludes with demographic questions. Library participants reached out to users asking them to join in the survey by hand distributing flyers, through links to the survey on Facebook, Twitter, pop-ups on library Web pages, and working with student government to publicize and distribute the survey.

The survey data is presented anonymously (Library A-E), here and in the book, at the request of the library participants.

Open comments are coded for ease of categorization.

User Survey Results

User Comments from the Survey    

Library Staff Survey: Data and Results

The authors asked the partner librarians to get as large a staff sample size as possible, realizing that staff sizes and library organization would determine the pool of respondents. Library staff is defined as librarians, library administrators, paraprofessional staff, and student staff working in the library and receiving the request to respond to the survey through email or print handouts. Some of the library contacts discussed the surveys at staff meetings. Most distributed them via email, some to the entire library staff; others took a more targeted approach to the public services staff only. Sample sizes at each library ranged from a low of 25 to a high of 62 for a total of 214 staff responses. Staff responses were remarkably similar across all libraries, except in the case of a few questions for which it is useful to discuss notable differences between locations.

Open comments are coded for ease of categorization.

Staff Survey Results

Staff Comments from the Survey       

Subject Guide

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