Library's community survey results are in

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library’s community survey results are in, and the results are positive—especially regarding respondents' opinions on library staff and facilities.

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 noncustomers 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,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “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 Feb. 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 the library’s 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 that ranged from how often the resident visits the library and whether he or she has an eReader, to the resident’s level of satisfaction with the libraries' staff and services.

The results of the survey fall roughly into two categories: what types of services residents use (and how often), and how residents feel about the libraries’ staff, services and facilities.

Use of library services varied widely. More survey respondents check out books (80 percent via phone survey; 94 percent online/paper survey) than use the public computers (31 percent phone survey; 48 percent online/paper survey), and more residents call for information (40 percent phone survey; 48 percent online/paper survey) than use the online databases (29 percent phone survey; 39 percent online/paper survey).

The respondents’ feelings about the library’s staff, services and facilities were consistently high. At all four branches, the average respondent rating for staff helpfulness and availability was 97 percent (both phone and online/paper), and the average rating for safety at all four branches was 93 percent (both phone and online/paper).

In addition to quantifiable data, the surveys also collected comments from residents, which ranged from glowing to frustrated. One resident praised the library, "Very, very grateful for the library system and think it is a treasure," while another complained, “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,” said Levin, “but there is always room for improvement, so we are paying close attention to the negative feedback as well.”

Heights Libraries encourages the community to read the full survey results, including all comments, by downloading the report at www.heightslibrary.org as a PDF document. Feedback is always welcome.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 4:18 PM, 07.31.2013