The 2023 Gordon Library Student Survey will help us prioritize services and resources for the 2023/2024 academic year. We want to thank the 414 respondents who represented many of the departments and programs at WPI and all academic levels from freshmen through PhD programs. Over 75% of students surveyed visit the library 1 or more times per week, with 40% indicating they visit more than 3 times per week! More than 90% of these students typically spend an hour or more in the library when they visit.
Our services and resources were almost universally rated as “good” or “great”, with our friendly and helpful staff, our hours of operation, our group study spaces, and the access provided to electronic resources receiving the highest rankings. Many students appreciated the availability of popular reading materials, with recommendations for more variety in the collection and the need for a more attractive display. The most popular spaces in the building are the individual study spaces, the group spaces, and the Tech Suites.
The need for better availability of food, particularly fresh food options, was noted as important to the students surveyed, as was the need for more outlets and/or charging options. Even though our group and individual student spaces and Tech Suites are well used and appreciated, the students pointed to the need for more of these spaces across all three of the categories. It was also often noted that additional and updated furniture – particularly of the comfortable or soft seating variety – is important, along with a general updating to the overall building.
It was interesting to note that among the 414 students surveyed, 76% buy less than 25% of the required textbooks, and over 89% spend less than $200 per year on their textbooks. Over 80% of the students taking the survey also indicated they would like to see a ‘free or low-cost’ designation on courses in the catalog.
The Library will do further analysis of the survey data over the summer, and continue to look for ways to address some of the expressed needs.