Colleen Cook, Fred Heath

LibQUAL+(tm) is a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of service quality. These services are offered to the library community by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The program's centerpiece is a rigorously tested Web-based survey bundled with training that helps libraries assess and improve library services, change organizational culture, and market the library. The goals of LibQUAL+(TM) are to:
  • Foster a culture of excellence in providing library service
  • Help libraries better understand user perceptions of library service quality
  • Collect and interpret library user feedback systematically over time
  • Provide libraries with comparable assessment information from peer institutions
  • Identify best practices in library service
  • Enhance library staff members' analytical skills for interpreting and acting on data
The LibQUAL+(tm) project was supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) from 2001-2003. LibQUAL+(tm), a partnership between ARL and Texas A&M University, is one of the ARL New Measures Initiatives managed as part of the ARL Statistics and Measurement Program. More than 500 institutions have participated in the LiqQUAL+(tm) survey, including a growing number of libraries in Europe. Designed initially for research libraries, its application has been expanded to all types of institutions of higher education. It has been administered to consortia in North America, and has been evaluated in the public library setting as well.

The LibQUAL+(tm) survey evolved from a conceptual model based on the SERVQUAL instrument, a popular tool for assessing service quality in the private sector. The Texas A&M University Libraries and other libraries used modified SERVQUAL instruments for several years; those applications revealed the need for a newly adapted tool that would serve the particular requirements of libraries. ARL, representing the largest research libraries in North America, partnered with Texas A&M University Libraries to develop, test, and refine LibQUAL+(tm). This effort was supported in part by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE).

Bielefeld University Library - last update: 01/11/2006