Disappointed about low turnout


Comparison of turnout/participation of students at the Divinity Faculty: Library surveys 2016 and 2017

This is not about the low turnout at the local elections (even though I find this somewhat disappointing too; don’t ask!), but about our annual Library Survey.

The Library conducted surveys in 2009, 2011, 2016; and this year we asked our readers between Fri 10 February and Fri 17 March what they think about our services and provisions.

The Turnout/participation this year compares:

2016 2017 Relative change
Part I 35% 40% 5%
Part IIA 39% 31% -8%
Part IIB 46% 28% -19%
MPhil students 71% 41% -31%
PhD students 37% 27% -10%

There is bound to be annual variation in the participation amongst students, but the response from the MPhil students is particularly disappointing – as we improved their library borrowing privileges significantly in November 2016 (but then some people say that mostly people only respond when they are unhappy with a service, product, etc.). On the staff front things are much better:

2016 2017 Absolute change
Academic staff 8 10 25%
Research staff 3 5 67%
Affiliated lecturers 9 5 -44%
CTOs 0 0 0%
None of the above 2 2 0%

As last year, we will publish various results from the survey via our blog.

To share a flavour of the 31 responses from UG and MPhil students who responded to the optional part of our Survey, to “I would really like to make the following comment about the Divinity Library, its services or provisions.”

My top 3 positive responses:

1.      I use the Divinity Library very frequently and really appreciate all of the hard work put in by the librarians. It is a wonderful place to study.
2.      I think it is the best library in Cambridge in terms of the way it works, the genuinely lovely staff who are incredibly helpful, and are always polite and patient in every situation. Couldn’t speak more highly of all of the library staff in the Divinity Faculty.
3.      The librarians are always friendly and quick to help/ give advice- it really makes a difference when you’re stress-collecting books for essays- thank you!

My choice of the worst 3 responses:

1.      The opening hours are not good and the atmosphere is quite cold in terms of the male staff.
2.      In general I think reading list books are well covered. I know for the Mphil in Christian theology we’ve had some reading this term (particularly Balthasar) where there is only one copy in the Div Fac library and very few in college libraries/the UL and the four of us on the course have been unable to each get a copy of the text. It would be nice to have this not be a problem.
3.      In comparison to other universities, Cambridge seems to be lagging behind on library services. Both in terms of opening hours and access, but also in terms of the number of texts available online. Another negative is the online search system which is often very slow and is not intuitive enough when searching.



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