Some of you were asked to respond to a book availability survey this Easter – many thanks to those who did.
A key availability question, ‘How often were the books you needed available on the shelf?’ was asked both this year and last year. This year 83% of undergraduates usually or almost always found a book, 86% of postgraduates. This compares very closely with the 85% who reported that they usually or almost always found a book last year.
We also gathered some very useful information on the use of Library e-books – 80% of postgraduates and 58.8% of undergraduates used a Library e-book in semester 1. Perhaps most significantly, 67.4% of undergraduates and 65.1% of postgraduates either agreed or strongly agreed that an e-book was an acceptable alternative to a print book from the Library (around 14% were neutral on the question).
The greatest limit on the use of Library e-books in fact is the publishers understandable unwillingness to release Library e-book versions of textbooks aimed at undergraduates. The Library will certainly continue to purchase e-book versions of texts needed to support undergraduate and postgraduate modules wherever they are available.
The survey also found however that a significant minority of students are having difficulty finding the books they need – around 15%, depending on the question.
We will now seek formal or informal feedback to isolate the elements of using the Library catalogue and finding books on the shelves that cause the greatest problems – though we do have some sense of this ourselves!
Do comment on this news item if you would like to suggest areas of greatest difficulty.