Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library’s community survey results are in, and the results are good.
In February 2013, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library contracted with the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace University to conduct a combined survey of Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents, library customers and non-customers alike.
“We wanted to gather as much information as possible from our residents, both positive and negative, to make sure that we understand what they want and need from us,” says Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “We’ll be using the results of this survey to help us make decisions in the coming years.”
The surveys were conducted as random phone surveys between February 25 and March 20, and residents who did not receive a call were encouraged to fill out the survey online or on paper at any of Heights Libraries four branches during the same time period. Baldwin Wallace completed a total of 582 phone surveys, and another 220 completed surveys were obtained from online and paper survey results. The random phone survey results were analyzed separately from the online and paper survey results.
Library staff, library board members, and staff from Baldwin Wallace worked together to design the 34 survey questions, which ranged from how often the resident visits the library, whether he or she has an eReader, to his or her level of satisfaction with the library’s staff and services.
The results of the survey fall roughly into two categories: what kinds of services residents use (and how often), and how residents feel about the libraries’ staff, services, and facilities.
Use of library services varied widely. For example, more survey respondents check out books (80% phone survey; 94% online/paper survey ) than use the public computers (31% phone survey; 48% online/paper survey), and more residents call for information (40% phone survey; 48% online/paper survey) than use the online databases (29% phone survey; 39% online/paper survey).
The respondents’ feelings about the library’s staff, services, and facilities, however, were consistently high, something the staff is, of course, delighted to see. For example, at all four branches, the average respondent rating for staff helpfulness and availability was 97% (both phone and online/paper), and the average rating for safety at all four branches was 93% (both phone and online/paper).
In addition to quantifiable data, the surveys also collected comments from residents, which range from glowing (“Very, very grateful for the library system and think it is a treasure.”) to frustrated (“I am very upset about the hours. The hours are very poor.”)
“We are thrilled to hear that our community thinks we’re doing a great job,” says Levin, “but there is always room for improvement, so we are paying close attention to the negative feedback as well.”