LibQUAL+™ 2002 at The University of Memphis

In the spring of 2002, The University of Memphis Libraries, along with 163 other academic, research, health sciences and public libraries across the country participated in a user survey to assess satisfaction with library services and invite input on areas that needed improvement. Surveys were sent electronically to 1200 undergraduate students, 600 graduate students, 600 faculty, and 600 staff members. A total of 570 completed surveys were returned.

LibQUAL+™ measures total service quality as well as four dimensions of perceived library service quality. Twenty-five questions are distributed over these dimensions:

  1. Access to Information - such as comprehensive print collections, complete runs of journal titles, and convenient business hours (5 questions)
  2. Affect of Service - such as competence of staff and willingness to help (9 questions)
  3. Library as Place - a space that facilitates quiet study and a haven for quiet and solitude (5 questions)
  4. Personal Control - such as modern equipment, other tools, and a website enabling the user to locate information independently (6 questions)

For a complete list of the twenty-five questions grouped by dimension please refer to the LibQUAL+™ 2002 Dimensions

Gap Theory of Service Quality The LibQUAL+™ survey instrument is derived from the Gap Theory of Service Quality which measures the minimum, desired, and perceived levels of service on a nine-point scale. Between the minimum level of service and the desired level of service lies the zone of tolerance. Ideally, the perceived level of service should fall within this zone of tolerance. The gap between the minimum level of service and the perceived level of service or between the desired level of service and the perceived level of service measures perceptions of service quality. Key Findings
  • Among all the dimensions, Library as Place received the highest marks. The University of Memphis Libraries provides comfortable, physical environs that are conducive to quiet study and collaboration. The perceived level of service was higher than the minimum desired and the gap score falls within the zone of tolerance.
  • The Personal Control dimension gained prominence as the most important dimension of service to our users. It drew the highest mean scores for the desired level of service. This is not surprising since this dimension measures the ease with which users are able to connect with and use the resources in-house and from remote locations. A negative gap score indicates that the perceived level of service fell short of what was desired.
  • The Access to Information dimension received the second highest mean desired scores indicating that the quality, comprehensiveness, and strength of library collections was important to users in achieving their research goals. The negative gap score in this area is the greatest, indicating that the perceived levels of resources were significantly below the minimum levels required by the users. The U of M Libraries was least successful in providing adequate resources and collections, specifically complete runs of journal titles and comprehensive print collections.
  • The Affect of Service dimension ranked third in importance to users receiving the third highest mean score for the desired level of service. This dimension assesses the attitude, knowledge, and abilities of employees to assist users. A negative gap score in this area indicates that the level of perceived service falls below the minimum level required.
  • Respondents were encouraged to provide comments which have been analyzed and are presented below.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in collaboration with the Texas A&M University Libraries, under whose auspices the survey is being conducted, has provided results in the form of Adobe Acrobat files. These reports as well as the analysis of comments are included below:
Further information on LibQUAL+™
Questions may be directed to Perveen Rustomfram
Phone: (901) 678-8207