VCU Libraries to survey users’ library needs and preferences

Featured photo

Building on its history of improving services through better understanding of users’ needs and preferences, VCU Libraries will conduct a quality survey this spring.

The online survey goes out by email to all faculty members and to a sample of students on Tuesday, March 21. The survey should take 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The subject line will read: “Share your ideas to improve VCU Libraries. Your voice matters.” The sender will be VCU Libraries. The survey closes April 7.

“This data is extremely valuable to us,” said University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider. “The experience and needs of our users shape our decision-making about collections, facilities, teaching and how we assist users, and helps us with short- and long-range planning.”

“It is a best practice for libraries to seek opinions of their users by tools including surveys and focus groups,” said Michael Rawls, budget and assessment director for VCU Libraries.

The nationally normed LibQUAL survey, developed by the Association of Research Libraries and Texas A&M University, is used by most U.S. research libraries. Using comparable data from other research institutions, VCU Libraries can measure its performance and also compare its progress and position to that of peer and aspirant libraries.

Over the years, findings from this user data have resulted in:

  • Substantive renovations at both MCV and Monroe Park campuses;
  • Enhanced journal collection;
  • Addition of a graduate and faculty reading room in Cabell Library;
  • Better accessibility to collections and databases through better technology;
  • New, more user-friendly design for the website;
  • Facilities and furnishings updated;
  • Service hours expanded on both campuses;
  • Convenient one-button search function adopted.


In appreciation of this investment of respondents’ time, participants will be eligible to enter a drawing to win a Fitbit Charge 2. Students will be eligible to enter a drawing to win $500 in free textbooks. Additionally, the Friends of VCU Libraries will donate $1 to FeedMore for every survey form that is completed, up to a total of 1,500. By completing the survey, participants will help provide approximately five meals to people struggling with hunger in Central Virginia. If VCU Libraries reaches or exceeds a total of 1,500 respondents, then this will provide a total 7,500 meals to those in need.