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Team ID: 
College / Administrative Unit: 
University Libraries
Date Started: 
February 2009
The goals of LibQUAL+(TM) are to: foster a culture of excellence in providing library service; help libraries better understand user perceptions of library service quality; collect and interpret library user feedback systematically over time; provide libraries with comparable assessment information from peer institutions; identify best practices in library service; and enhance library staff members’ analytical skills for interpreting and acting on data.

LibQUAL+(TM) is a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users’ opinions of service quality. These services are offered to the library community by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The program’s centerpiece is a rigorously tested Web-based survey bundled with training that helps libraries assess and improve library services, change organizational culture, and market the library.

Penn State University Libraries participated in LibQUAL surveys in 2002 and 2004. This past year's survey was conducted in April, 2008 and Survey consisted of core questions, locally selected questions, Information Literacy Outcomes questions, General Satisfaction questions, Library usage patterns questions, Self-identified questions and comments.

Little change since the last survey, but certain trends were evident: dissatisfaction with Libraries’ Website, more pressure to add digital/full-text content (More journals in an area).

In future surveys, we will sample targeted populations & disciplines, sample more discrete areas within information control, and complete longitudinal analysis of LibQUAL results.



Libqual indicated that Penn State faculty had two concerns: 1) the Libraries' website was difficult to use and navigate and 2) the Libraries needed more electronic resources. In response, the Libraries conducted extensive usability studies of its website and hired a graphic designer to completely revamp the website to make the Libraries'
materials and collections more discoverable. The new and improved website will rollout Fall 2010. The implementation of a new content management system has enhanced the Libraries' ability to manage its website and to keep it relevant. The Libraries continue to increase its electronic resources of all kinds (limited only by budgetary constraints), and a new focus on services and marketing will ensure that faculty learn about the rich resources available to them and their students. A commitment to electronic resources and services is one of three key priorities in the Libraries' most recent Strategic Plan.

Libqual also underscored the interest that students have in attractive and functional library spaces. At University Park and several Commonwealth Campuses, libraries are being re-envisioned as knowledge commons. Commons are contemporary library spaces that feature environments that appeal to students and support the curriculum by encouraging collaboration, the integration of media into learning, and the exploration of new applications of technology.

Kimlyn Patishnock

Contact Person: 
Kim Patishnock
  • Sally Kalin, Co-Sponsor
  • Jack Sulzer, Co-Sponsor
  • Kim Patishnock, Leader
  • Chris Avery, Member
  • Matt Ciszek, Member
  • Kathy Fescemyer, Member
  • Glenn Masuchika, Member
  • Mary Frances McLaughlin, Member
  • Rebecca Mugridge-MacIntosh, Member
  • Doris Stover, Member