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The University of Hong Kong Libraries’ 2011 Biennial User Survey



Our biennial user survey was conducted on November 1-15, 2011 with a view to providing users with an opportunity to evaluate the performance of the Main Library and the six branch libraries, to enable us to identify performance gaps and to study user preferences for print and electronic materials.

This was the second time we commissioned Insync Surveys Australia to conduct a user survey for us. The questionnaires we adopted for both the 2010 and 2011 surveys were basically the same. This has enabled us to compare survey results but at the same time, it is noteworthy that the 2011 survey was conducted when Main Library 3/F was closed for renovation. We understand that Main Library services were affected at that time and thus, the timing of the survey may have a negative impact on the results.

A total of 2,413 completed online questionnaires were received, of which 69.5% (82.1% in 2009/10) of the respondents selected the Main Library as the library they use most. The top number of respondents came from HKU current staff or student (59.9%), followed by SPACE student or staff (33.5%) and alumni (4%).



Ranked Overall Gap Scores

As in 2010, we have attempted to identify 28 areas where you consider that our performance does not match the importance you place on the range of services provided by Libraries. To do this we asked you to first rate on a scale of 1 to 7 (7 being most important) the importance of particular services. We then asked you to rate the Libraries performance in the same area once again on a scale of 1 to 7 (7 being the best possible performance). As a result we scored the overall mean importance and performance of each service and determined the gap between these two scores.

The five areas with the biggest gaps between user importance and our performance are:

  2011 2010
1. I can find a quiet place in the Library to study when I need to (1.67) I can find a quiet place in the Library to study when I need to (1.39)
2. The items I’m looking for on the Library shelves are usually there (1.53) The items I’m looking for on the Library shelves are usually there (1.31)
3. I can find a place in the Library to work in a group when I need to (1.31) A computer is available when I need one (1.25)
4. A computer is available when I need one (1.3) I can find a place in the Library to work in a group when I need to (1.25)
5. Laptop facilities (e.g. desks, power) in the Library met my needs (1.22) Laptop facilities (e.g. desks, power) in the Library met my needs (1.14)

The five areas with the smallest gaps between user importance and our performance are:

  2011 2010
1. Library workshops, classes and tutorials help me with my learning and research needs (0.03) Library workshops, classes and tutorials help me with my learning and research needs (-0.05)
2. Library staff treat me fairly and without discrimination (0.23) Online enquiry services (e.g. Chat, Ask a Librarian) meet my needs (0.25)
3. Face to face enquiry services meet my needs (0.29) Library staff treat me fairly and without discrimination (0.26)
4. Electronic enquiry services (e.g. email, Text a Librarian) meet my needs (0.32) I am informed about Library services (0.27)
5. I am informed about Library services (0.37) Self Service (e.g. self check loans, request, renewals, holds) meet my needs (0.35)



Overall Preference for Print vs Electronic

Results show that 61.76% of respondents prefer reading journals online while 27.68% prefer print. As for books for leisure, 71.67% prefer reading them in print format while 17.76% prefer them online. As for books for study/research, 57.8% prefer reading them in print format while 32.49% prefer them online.

Material Format No Preference % No Preference Online % Online Print % Print Total No. of Respondents
Journals 246 10.56% 1,439 61.76% 645 27.68% 2,330
Books – for leisure 246 10.58% 413 17.76% 1,667 71.67% 2,326
Books – for study/research 226 9.71% 756 32.49% 1,345 57.8% 2,327




Comparing with the results of the last biennial user survey, we have witnessed a drop in preference for online materials and on the other hand, a growth in preference for print format:

  % No Preference % Online % Print
  2011 2009/10 2011 2009/10 2011 2009/10
Journals 10.56% 10.52% 61.76% 66.41% 27.68% 23.07%
Books – for leisure 10.58% 12.98% 17.76% 29.63% 71.67% 57.39%
Books – for study/research 9.71% 9.25% 32.49% 45.09% 57.8% 45.66%



Response to the Survey’s Freeform Comments

The survey also provided us with an enormous amount of feedback on how well we are doing as well as areas that you would like us to improve or change.  While we received much praise, for which we are grateful, we take this opportunity to respond to the most common areas for improvement that you identified.

User Survey Data Report

Click here to view the data report of the 2011 biennial user survey



For further information contact Dr Y.C. Wan (Deputy Librarian)



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