Sample Library Survey

Prior to going to the public for a vote on a budget, it is critical that a library have an accurate understanding of how the community feels about its operations and services. This can be accomplished by a survey of both users and non-users. Survey results can pinpoint reasons why some segments of the community are not using the library or what services can be offered to increase usage. The higher the percentage of library users there are within the community, the greater chance there will be for a positive vote on the library budget. Survey results, especially responses to open-ended questions, can also provide clues as to any organized opposition within the community to the library budget vote. This will provide an advance opportunity to take corrective actions to “win over” opposition prior to the budget vote. The survey format and the process for collecting data used by libraries will vary depending on the size of the community and the information being sought.

Here is one example of a fairly simple survey that can be used as a template.

Dear Neighbor:

The Board of Trustees of the XYZ Public Library is updating the long-range plan that will guide future development of the library. In order for the plan to reflect your ideas and interests, we ask that you take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey. When you are finished, please bring it to the library or drop it in special boxes located at xxxxxx.xxxxx, and the xxxxxx by (date). Thank you for your assistance.

1. Are you:

___ Male

___ Female

2. Your age:

___ Under18

___ 18-35

___ 36-55

___ Over 55

3. Your residence:

___ XYZ Town

___ ABC Town

___ DEF Town

___ Other ___________________

4. Do you use the XYZ Library?

___ Yes

___ No -- Please skip to Question 9 and continue

5. How long ago was your last visit to the library? (check one)

___ within last 3 months

___ 3 to 6 months ago

___ 7 months to a year

___ more than a year ago -- Please skip to Question 9 and continue

6. During the past year, have you: (Check All That Apply)

___ Checked out books

___ Checked out large print books

___ Checked out Books-on-Tape

___ Requested an interlibrary loan

___ Checked out magazines/newspapers

___ Used the community information center (bulletin board)

___ Used the local history collection

___ Obtained tax forms

___ Checked out CD’s

___ Asked for help finding information

___ Checked out videos

___ Used the copy machine

___ Used a library computer

___ Attended a children’s program

___ Attended adult programs

___ Used a public meeting room

___ Other _____________________________

________________________________

7a. Please rate the following services and collections of the XYZ Library:

 

Fine

Needs a little improvement

Needs a lot of improvement

Don't know

a. Adult fiction
       
b. Adult nonfiction
       
c. Children’s fiction
       
d. Children’s nonfiction
       
e. Large print books
       
f. Books on tape
       
g. Interlibrary loan
       
h. Magazines
       
i. Newspapers
       
j. Reference help
       
k. Adult videos/DVDs
       
l. Children’s videos/DVDs
       
m. CDs
       
n. Copy machine
       
o. Computers -- adult
       
p. Computers -- children
       
q. Meeting room
       
r. Adult programs
       
s. Children’s programs
       
t. Courtesy of library staff
       
u. Helpfulness of staff
       
v. Overall size of collection
       
w. Quality of collection
       
x. Furnishings and décor
       
y. Parking
       
z. Hours of operation
       

7b. Go back to Question 7a and circle the letter next to those items that are very important to you personally. (For example, if courtesy of library staff is very important to you, then circle the letter ”s” in the question.)

8. (Skip this question if you have visited the XYZ Library within the past year) Why haven’t you visited the XYZ Library in the last year?

___ Don’t use libraries

___ Location not convenient

___ Hours not convenient

___ Don’t know where it is

___ Don’t know what it has to offer

___ Other (please explain) ____________________________________________

______________________________________________________

9. In the past year have you visited any other library?

___ Yes -- Which one? __________________________________________

___ No -- Please skip to Question 12 and continue

10. (If yes to Question 9), why did you visit that library rather than the XYZ Library?

___ More convenient location

___ More convenient hours

___ Better atmosphere

___ Had what I need (please explain) ___________________________

___ Attended a program or meeting

___ Other (please explain) ____________________________________________

______________________________________________________

11. What segments of the community should the library do a better job of serving (for example, pre-schoolers, senior citizens, etc.)?

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

12. What specific kinds of programs and activities would you like to have the library conduct?

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

13. What changes would the library need to make so that you would be more satisfied with its services?

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

14. Would you support efforts to improve XYZ Library facilities or services through increased community funding?

___ definitely

___ probably

___ probably not

___ definitely not

___ don’t know?

15. During the past year, have you or anyone in your household done any of the following?

 

Yes

No

a. Rented or purchased a prerecorded video tape or DVD
   
b. Used an on-line service such as Prodigy or America Online
   
c. Purchased a book for pleasure reading
   
d. Purchased a reference book
   
e. Purchased a CD
   
f. Purchased/subscribed to a magazine
   

16. Do you?

 

Yes

No

Own a personal computer?
   
Use a computer at work?
   
Currently have access to the Internet?
   

17. Please rank your overall satisfaction with the XYZ Library.

___ Excellent

___ Good

___ Fair

___ Poor

___ Don’t know

18. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your time and comments


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Last Updated: July 28, 2009 -- asm [created January 27, 2005]; for questions or comments, contact us