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Satisfaction Surveys: Reaching Students Where They Are

Sad, neutral, and frowning faces next to checkboxes. A hand is checking the box next to the neutral face.

My college enjoyed spring break last week, and this week we’re starting the second half of the semester. For my library, that means running our annual student satisfaction survey. This front and back paper survey asks students how successful they were at using the library to complete whatever task they’d come there for, requests they rate different parts of their experience, and offers some open-ended prompts for longer responses. The survey is run at all campus libraries, and the results are compiled by Institutional Research.

I have mixed feelings about the survey, which began before I started my position. It’s important for us to know how we’re doing, and the students coming into the physical library represent many of our users. However, our resources and services are increasingly available online, and we may have dedicated users who never set foot in the building. The paper survey will never reach them. Unfortunately, when I tried to send out a different electronic survey to our student population, it only received a handful of responses. Students (and the rest of us) are bombarded with emailed surveys, and it’s easy to click delete. Still, reaching our full audience is something for us to consider as our library becomes increasingly hybrid.

Do you formally assess student satisfaction at your library? If so, how do you reach as many students as possible? What kind of response do you receive?  

One reply on “Satisfaction Surveys: Reaching Students Where They Are”

We have had success in the past sharing links to online surveys as announcements in our college’s course management system. Students are already there doing work for classes, so the survey link is easy to access.

A few years ago, I attended the Library Assessment Conference and learned about a lot of different ways to get feedback, from more formal surveys, to more informal techniques. You can check out past posters and presentations on the conference website: https://www.libraryassessment.org/

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