Student Experience Survey, Spring 2022

Working to answer several questions regarding the Libraries and its operations, the User Research Team (URT) surveyed a group of 120 students who had agreed to volunteer in user research for the spring 2022 semester, with a total response rate of 49%.



Many of the students surveyed stated that they visited the library often, with 37% visiting daily and 41% a couple times a week. With so many floors and spaces to work in, the library can be hard for students to traverse. 

Forty percent said they had been lost in the library before, citing issues with finding study rooms and elevators. Approximately 16% of the group had trouble finding a book in the stacks. Several students said that they wandered around until they found the correct book, while others asked the information desk or peers for help.


  • Investigate improvements to wayfinding for study rooms and bookstacks

Finding a comfortable place to work

When students come to the library, finding a comfortable place to work is key. The Libraries’ has dedicated signage and maps to help students find the perfect study spot, including the "How busy is the Hill Library?" kiosk. (This map is also available on our website and is updated live.)

Fifty-five percent of respondents had seen the kiosk either in-person or online, with 50% having used it to find a study spot. After consulting the kiosk, most decided to work in the upper-level bookstacks, with a few going to “quiet” study rooms and one going to the mid-level stacks or south study lounge. Forty-six percent of respondents found their study spaces “As busy as expected” and 46% found them “Less busy than expected.”


  • Consider tweaking the Occuspace busy percentage a tad lower as half of users found spaces to be less busy than expected


Furniture can be a huge deciding factor in where a student works in the library with 99% of respondents saying furniture type impacted where they chose to work; 29% said “A great deal”, 40% “A lot” and 30% said anywhere from “Moderate” to “A little.” 

Most furniture types were used by over 50% of the respondents. Seventy-five percent used workstations, 69% used adjustable-height tables and 67% used banquettes. Fifty-nine percent of respondents used lounge furniture, 55% used study carrels and 53% used big tables. Tall tables underperformed at 18%. Suggestions for other types of furniture from respondents included a space with “cozier lighting like lamps,” “big tables” and more “private” seating among others.

Tripsaver interlibrary loan

Fifty-eight of respondents had not heard of Tripsaver, the Libraries’ interlibrary loan service. When asked what they do when the library doesn’t have a book or article, 42% say they search for a version online,  25% have requested it through the library, and 25% have given up (looked for another article or done without). Seven percent of patrons will buy an item if they can’t find it.


  • Conduct further user research into student search habits, in particular for items that the Libraries does not own or license.

Closed Captions

Closed captioning is perhaps one of the best ways for users to partake in accessible web practices. In total, 93% of respondents said that they use closed captions when watching a streaming video assigned for a class. Fifty three percent used closed captions often, 29% used them sometimes and 11% used them rarely. Only 5% of respondents “never” used closed captions. 


  • Share findings on closed captions with library instructors and others involved with supporting video and streaming media. 

Attending events

The pandemic’s arrival in late 2020 meant that library events went online temporarily. Since then, some events have remained online and others have returned to in-person attendance. Roughly 53% of respondents like both virtual and in-person events, with 31% preferring in-person attendance and 16% virtual.


How We Did It

A survey covering 11 topics was sent to a group of 120 students. The survey was open from February 23 to March 2, and received 59 responses (plus 4 respondents who didn't move past the first 3 or 4 questions). The questions on the survey were solicited from several different departments by the User Research Team. After the survey closed, the grab bag survey team analyzed responses and agreed on recommendations.

Report written by Myra Bari, Student Assistant to the Web Team