Full summary and report by IALS Librarian David Gee

Here are the “You said, we did” Summary Report and Full Report and appendices on the 2020 IALS Library Reader Satisfaction Survey: https://ials.sas.ac.uk/library/library-services/ials-library-reader-satisfaction-survey-2020.

IALS is very pleased with these results, particularly the impressive 97.4% satisfaction rating and very positive comments for the newly transformed library space and new library services following the £11.5 million investment from the University of London. It is very reassuring to have evidence that our detailed plans for the new library space and the new library services are meeting reader expectations and needs.

The week-long survey in early March 2020 asked twenty-one questions of our readership. Here is a brief summary of the results:

 IALS Transformation Project – Reader Satisfaction Results:

Although we were initially concerned that the IALS Transformation Project building works might have a negative impact on this year’s survey results (as the works had been ongoing throughout much of the beginning of the 2019/20 academic year), we are very pleased to report that not only was there no general drop in reader satisfaction ratings, but that almost all the ratings improved.

The improved individual satisfaction ratings are mirrored by the high rating and very positive comments given in response to the new one-off survey questions which asked about the long-term and temporary effects of the major IALS Transformation Project. Readers were asked, firstly, to rate and comment on the permanently transformed library space and new library services, and secondly, to comment on how the temporary building works were handled in terms of keeping the noise and disruption to a minimum and communications. The reader satisfaction rating for the newly transformed library space was 97.4% which is very impressive. Almost all of the comments for the new library space were very positive and complimentary and can be read in Appendix A of the Full Survey Report. Here are a few examples:

“Very well laid out, and it is a better environment than ever in which to work.”
“I come here to be productive and am always happy with the spaces available.”
“Wonderfully quiet and the computers are excellent.”
“Much more comfortable space, very happy with the improvement.”
“Beautiful space.”
“It is now a modern, extremely well-resourced study centre.”

The comments on the handling of the building works were more mixed with some readers complaining about the inevitable noise. However, a majority seem to understand the reasons for the noise and disruption and the long-term benefits for readers and many complimented us on our temporary arrangements to keep the library open throughout the duration of the works. The full list of comments can be read in Appendix B of the Full Survey Report. Here are a few examples:

“Great, I believe. I always knew what was going on, either through Facebook or the info board at the entrance.”
“Could have been worse. Builders always friendly and pleasant.”
“There were a few insignificant noises. I sit mostly at the 3rd floor and it didn’t really impact my study experience.”
“Some serious noise issues, but this was inevitable. Otherwise excellent.”
“The result has been worth any inconvenience.”
“Was expecting it to have been much worse.”

Other Reader Satisfaction Survey Results:

The top rating was for our research skills public training sessions at 98% (97% in 2019).
The overall satisfaction rate increased to 97.5% (95.5% in 2019).

This year we had TEN satisfaction ratings above 90% which were for helpfulness of library staff at 96.6%, range of print journals at 96.6%, study facilities at 95.1%, range of electronic journals and databases at 94.7%, availability of PCs at 91.5%, range of books at 91.4%, ease of use of the library catalogue at 91.3% and closing times at 90.4% (as well as for our research skills public training sessions and for overall satisfaction). In 2019 we received eight satisfaction ratings above 90%.

We had SEVEN satisfaction ratings above 80%. These included opening times at 89.7%, quality of computing facilities at 88.9%, ease of access to e-resources at 88.4%, availability of photocopiers at 86.6%, study environment – noise at 86.1%, availability of printing at 83.9% and sufficient copies of LLM textbooks at 83.7%.

We continued to have ONE satisfaction rating above 70%, this was for study environment – heating at 76.5%. Even though this is the second highest mark we have ever received on this question, IALS Library is disappointed to note that the rating for heating has dropped slightly from last year’s record high mark. Part of the recent refurbishment project included the installation of a sophisticated new library heating and cooling system with onsite temperature controls, which we hoped would assist in our control over local temperatures in the reading rooms. Despite its introduction, the comments section shows that we do not always seem to have achieved a comfortable temperature over all floors of the library. However, this is counterbalanced by some respondents praising the heating levels within the library. Library staff will continue to monitor temperatures in the reading rooms as part of their regular patrols and will ask the supplier to review the working of the new system.

We continued to have ONE satisfaction rating above 60%, this was for the cost of copying, scanning and printing at 64.4%. This rating is higher than the 62.9% 2019 rating. Indeed, this rating has been improving steadily for a number of years.

Some positive comments made several times:

“Wonderful, quiet place to conduct research – I always have a productive day at IALS.” (x 16)
“Superb range of resources, the library has everything I need.” (x 15)
“The helpful and polite staff are second to none!” (x 11)
“Quite simply, an excellent library.” (x 8)

David Gee is Librarian at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.  He is Secretary of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) and has recently been appointed to the LLM-C Digital Board of Directors.