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Questioning LibQUAL+: Critiquing its Assessment of Academic Library Effectiveness

Bill Edgar

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Advertised as a total market survey of an academic library’s users, LibQUAL+ has risen to prominence in recent years as a means of assessing academic library effectiveness. In light of this, this paper raises and addresses four questions arising from its survey instrument. These reveal that LibQUAL only partially conceptualizes a library’s operations. Furthermore, it does not explicitly conceptualize users’ need for immediate epistemological value in the form of information, education, or persuasion. Finally, LibQUAL+’s survey correctly emphasizes the role of user self-reliance and satisfaction, but it unduly deemphasizes users’ need for professional information assistance and their actual experience of quality library service.

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