We Asked, You Shared: Survey Results

Published on September 21, 2023

LibQual 2023 logo

How do you know what a community of nearly 35,000 students, faculty, and staff need from their library? You ask! 

For almost 20 years, we’ve joined libraries from around the world in using a survey called LibQUAL+ to understand our users’ priorities for the library and their experiences with library services. The survey is one way Western Libraries uses data to continuously improve our services. Past survey results have informed everything from strategic planning, to the ongoing renovation of the D.B. Weldon Library.  

In March, we heard from more than 2,700 Western community members in response to the most recent survey. Thank you to everyone who shared feedback with us.  

What we heard

The 2023 LibQUAL+ results were consistent with what we've heard in previous surveys, with users indicating a high level of overall satisfaction with the collections, spaces, and services Western Libraries provides. Quantitative data shows users feel that library collections, spaces, and services help them complete their research more efficiently and advance in their respective fields. 


Commenters were clear they value the collections available to them, both online and in print, and are satisfied with their ability to access library materials, and especially, borrow from many different university library collections in Ontario. However, some commenters reported issues when using the new Omni search tool and other online library services. The usability of our online platforms will continue to be a focus for us in coming years. 

“Being a distant online learner, the availability of resources online greatly supported my learning while completing a Master's program,” said a graduate student from the Faculty of Education.  


Nearly 70 per cent of open comments on the 2023 survey had to do with physical library spaces, confirming that space for work and study continues to be essential to our users. Satisfaction with library spaces was significantly higher in 2023 than in 2019, with commenters stating that our study spaces were comfortable, welcoming, and inspired focus. 

“We’re thrilled to see that bump in space satisfaction. It’s great confirmation that the changes we’ve been making in response to the 2019 survey feedback, including the Weldon Revitalization Project, are a step in the right direction,” said Kristin Kerbavaz, assessment librarian and LibQual+ project lead.  

Ratings and open comments show noise levels are a significant concern for library users, and confirm study space is at a premium, particularly during exams. Creating and maintaining quiet study space will be a focus for us in the coming years.  

“The library in Weldon provides a very spacious place for students to find information they need, and study space to get work done,” said an undergraduate student from the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. “The only problem that I have is that it is often full and difficult to find a spot because of how full the library can be.”  


Satisfaction with staff and the service they provide has consistently been our highest scoring section of the survey. Commenters told us they find staff to be both friendly and helpful. They also shared how important research support, workshops, and class sessions are to their academic success. Comments suggest library users, particularly students, value the online research help services that expanded during COVID-19 library closures. Finding ways to sustainably balance online and in-person services will be a focus for us in the coming years. 

“The staff are excellent! They are courteous, efficient, and helpful,” said a faculty member from the Faculty of Science.  

What's next

We’ve shared the results with library staff and are working with our teams to brainstorm ways we can take action. 

The results will also be brought to a new library Student Advisory Council that will help us set priorities and provide a student perspective on our findings. 

Finally, we’re pursuing further research to dig into the findings more deeply. If you’re interested in sharing your feedback to help shape future library spaces and services, consider signing up for our User Participation Lab. As a member of the lab, you’ll be contacted with opportunities to participate in the user research projects we do throughout the year.  

Every day we strive to build the collections, spaces, services, and support you need to thrive at Western. It’s the valuable feedback we receive from our community that helps us grow alongside our students, faculty and researchers.