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Assessment in the MIT Libraries: 2015 Library Survey

A guide to the MIT Libraries' activities related to continuous assessment and improvement.

2015 library survey

In the January-February 2015 survey, over 5400 MIT members responded, with an overall response rate of 32%. (Response rates by community: 36% of the undergraduates, 34% of the grad students, 22% of faculty, 32% of postdocs and 26% of other research and academic staff.) Here are some of the findings:

Our Collections

  • Unsurprisingly, more than 80% of the community still prefer electronic journals, collections of papers, and conference proceedings.
  • On the other hand, print textbooks (preferred in print in 2011 by 52.5% over 22.2%) have been edged out by a preference for electronic textbooks (41.3% print to 43.9% electronic, +/- 1.1).
  • Library search tools (e.g., BartonPlus, Barton, Worldcat) continue to be one of the three most common starting points for finding e-books or books in print online. More faculty respondents, in fact (65.3%), start with library search tools than any other option.

Our Spaces

  • The three types of spaces that most student respondents have difficulty finding on campus include those where it is ok to be “loud in private”: spaces for conducting an interview (49.0%), to make a private phone call (44.0%), or to practice or record a presentation (42.0%). Through comments, students reiterated this need. (See Survey Snapshot: Loudness in the Libraries.)

Our Services

  • The Libraries offer a number of Research Data Management services, including help with organizing data files and support for preparing a data management plan, but awareness of these services in the MIT Community is quite low (below 15%). Despite this, almost 30% of all respondents rated these services very important or essential, and another quarter rated these somewhat important.
  • Where a librarian was involved in a class (38.8%), responding students indicated that they were able to apply the acquired skills to that class (73.8%) and, perhaps more importantly, in other situations as well (90.1%).

Below are several blog stories that describe specific results:

Below is the survey instrument, along with a summary results file.