Assessment of use and quality of library services, accessibility and facilities by students at Cape Peninsula University of Technology

  • Deborah Becker CPUT
  • Hillary Hartle CPUT
  • Gugu Mhlauli CPUT
Keywords: academic libraries, service satisfaction, library facilities, library services


The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of library services and facilities by students at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and, in particular, gather feedback with regards to service satisfaction, accessibility and use of facilities. The investigation, carried out in March 2015, was based on a triangulation approach including surveys, informal interviews and an observation study. A total of 394 students responded to the survey. Their opinions supported information gathered from other surveys and available statistics. The results indicated that, although demand for some services such as circulation and reference transactions are decreasing, the number of visits to library facilities is increasing. While students prefer using online resources, they still choose face-to-face interaction with library staff as their first choice of contact, followed by email. Information literacy training, seen as essential by librarians, is rated as ‘least important’ by respondents. It was revealed that, although students show little interest in following the library on social media, they indicate a growing need for online tutorials and a growing use of library LibGuides. Furthermore, it is acknowledged that the services provided by staff are seen as important and students tend to use the library mainly for individual study, research, and group study. The study supported the fact that the changes made to library spaces and services are meeting the demands of library users, although there is still room for improvement.

Author Biographies

Deborah Becker, CPUT
Librarian: Quality Assurance and Library Research Support
Hillary Hartle, CPUT
Marketing Librarian
Gugu Mhlauli, CPUT
Assistant Librarian: Quality Assurance


Ajiboye, J.O. and Tella, A. 2007. University undergraduate students’ information seeking behaviour: implications for quality in higher education in Africa. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – TOJET, 6 (1): article 4: 40-52.

Applegate, R. 2009. The library is for studying: student preferences for study space. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 35(4): 341-346.

Asher, A. and Miller, S. 2011. So you want to do anthropology in your library? Or a practical guide to ethnographic research in academic libraries. [Online]. (14 January 2016).

Asher, A., Duke, L. and Green, D. 2010. The ERIAL Project: Ethnographic research in Illinois Academic Libraries. The Academic Commons for the liberal education community. [Online]. (3 February 2016).

Association of Research Libraries (ARL). 2008. LibQUAL+ 2008 survey: Cape Peninsula University of Technology Libraries – English & Cape Peninsula University of Technology Libraries – Afrikaans. Washington: ARL.

Association of Research Libraries (ARL). 2015. Statistics and Assessment Programme: LibQUAL. [Online]. (11 January 2016).

Bedwell, L. and Banks, C. 2013. Seeing through the eyes of students: participant observation in an academic library. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 8(1). [Online]. (11 January 2016).

Bennett, S. 2005. Righting the balance. In: Library as place: rethinking roles, rethinking space. CLIR report. [Online]. (11 January 2016).

Burns, V. and Harper, K. 2007. Asking students about their research. In Studying students: the undergraduate research project at the University of Rochester. N.F. Foster and S. Gibbons, Eds. Chicago: ACRL.7-15.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology. 2017. Extended Curriculum Programme. [Online]. (9 June 2017).

Chandrasekar, K. and Murugathas, K. 2012. An assessment of user satisfaction on library services: a case study of undergraduate biology students at the University of Jaffna. Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka, 16(1): 34-45. [Online]. (22 March 2016).

Drago, E. 2015. The effect of technology on face-to-face communication. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 6(1): 13-19. [Online] . (22 March 2016).

Gibbons, S. and Foster, N.F. 2007. Library design and ethnography. In Studying students: the undergraduate research project at the University of Rochester. N.F. Foster and S. Gibbons, Eds. Chicago: ACRL. 20-29.

Hernon, P. and Calvert, P.J. 1996. Methods for measuring service quality in University Libraries in New Zealand. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 22(5): 387-391.

Hunter, G. and Ward, D. 2011. Students research the library: using student-led ethnographic research to examine the changing role of campus libraries. C&RL News, 72(5): 264-268. [Online]. (3 February 2016).

Kiran, K. 2010. Service quality and customer satisfaction in academic libraries: perspectives from a Malaysian university, Library Review, 59(4): 261-273. [Online]. DOI:10.1108/00242531011038578.

Knight, N. 2013. Enhancing access to library resources at Northern Caribbean University through an e-library initiative. [Online]. The Electronic Library, 31(6): 753-769. DOI:10.1108/EL-01-2012-0001.

Library Research Service. 2016. Library user survey templates & how-tos [Online]. (20 June 2016).

Lippincott, J.K. 2005. Net Generation students and libraries. EDUCAUSE review. March/April. 56-66. [Online]. (3 February 2016).

Microsoft. 2003. Higher Education Leaders Symposium: the next-generation student. June 17-18, 2003. Redmond, Washington. [Online]. (13 January 2016).

Olsen, R.J. 2006. The heart of the university. BYU Magazine. Summer Issue. [Online]. (23 March 2016).

Rieger, O.Y. 2009. Search engine use behaviour of students and faculty: user perceptions and implications for future research. First Monday. 14(12). [Online]. (3 February 2016).

Society of College, National and University Libraries. 2017. SCONUL Satisfaction Survey – Guidance Notes. [Online]. (30 August 2016).

Suarez, D. 2007. What students do when they study in the library: using ethnographic methods to observe student behavior. Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, 8 (3): (Winter 2007). [Online]. (3 February 2016).

Thaler, M. and Pittman, T. 2015. A student view of academic libraries. Dialogue, 27: 9-10. [Online]. (23 June 2016).

Research Articles