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Library Services Quality Survey 2019 (LibQUAL+®)

Your Library – Your Say!


As part of our continuing efforts to provide service excellence to the University community, the Library conducted a Services Quality Survey among current students, faculty and staff from 28 October to 1 December 2019.

The Survey is a joint project of 5 libraries at UGC-funded institutions (JULAC libraries). Using LibQUAL+®, a survey instrument developed by the Association of Research Libraries that is widely adopted by libraries worldwide, the Survey allows a comparative analysis of our services with our peer institutions in Hong Kong. This is the fourth time we conducted such a Survey. The last three Surveys were conducted in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

For questions about the Survey, contact Ms. Alice Ho, Head (Administrative Services), at


Survey Results

For complete Survey results, see the result notebooks produced by LibQUAL+®.

“These reports were produced by LibQUAL+® for HKUST and JULAC libraries. LibQUAL+® is a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users’ opinions of service quality. These services are offered to the library community by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). For more information, visit”


Key findings of the Survey are highlighted in the following sections.

Response Rates

3,578 HKUST students, faculty, and staff (library staff excluded) completed the Survey, which is about 18% response rate. A breakdown of respondents by user groups is shown below.  

User Group Population Respondents Response Rate
Undergraduate 10,122 2,166 60.54% 21.40%
Postgraduate 5,886 939 26.24% 15.95%
Academic & Research Staff 3,726 141 3.94% 3.78%
Staff (excluding Library Staff) 2,072 332 9.28% 15.69%
Overall 19,734 3,578 100% 18.13%


Five UGC-funded libraries conducted the Survey. HKUST respondents made up 41.62% of the total JULAC respondents of 8,596.

Service Dimensions and Scores

LibQUAL+® measures three service dimensions:

  • Affect of Service: Customer services provided by library staff
  • Information Control: Library collections and access to resources
  • Library as Place: Library spaces, facilities, and environment


Respondents were asked to give their ratings for 22 core questions in these three service dimensions on the following three scales:

  • Minimum level of service they are willing to accept
  • Desired level of service they would like to receive
  • Perceived level of service they are provided


The Minimum, Desired and Perceived Mean Scores, along with the Adequacy and Superiority Mean Scores are shown below. Compared to the scores obtained in the past 3 Surveys, we have improved our services since 2007. In 2019, the Library achieved the highest Perceived Mean Score of 7.11, and the smallest gap in Superiority Score of -0.36.


HKUST Service Scores 2019 2015 2011 2007
Minimum Average Score 6.10 5.90 5.75 5.73
Desired Average Score 7.48 7.49 7.50 7.62
Perceived Average Score 7.11 7.01 6.88 6.87
*Adequacy Mean Score 1.01 1.09 1.12 1.14
**Superiority  Mean Score -0.36 -0.49 -0.62 -0.75


* “Adequacy Mean Score” indicates the extent to which the library is meeting the expectations of our users (Adequacy Mean Score = Perceived Mean Score – Minimum Mean Score). The higher the Adequacy Mean Score, the better the library is performing.

** “Superiority Mean Score” indicates the extent to which the library is exceeding the desired expectations of our users (Superiority Mean Score = Perceived Mean Score – Desired Mean Score). The smaller the negative Superiority Mean Score, the closer to the superiority level the library is performing.


Core Questions Summary
This radar chart shows the aggregate results for the 22 core questions. Each axis represents one question. They are grouped into sections: Affect of Service, Information Control, and Library as Place.

On each axis, respondents’ minimum, desired, and perceived levels of service quality are plotted, and the resulting “gaps” between the three levels (representing service adequacy or service superiority) are shaded in blue and yellow.



Core Question Dimensions Summary
On the chart below, scores for each dimension of library service quality have been plotted graphically. The exterior bars represent the range of minimum to desired mean scores for each dimension. The interior bars represent the range of minimum to perceived mean scores (the service adequacy gap) for each dimension of library service quality.



Benchmarking with JULAC Libraries

The following table summarizes the mean scores of HKUST library and JULAC participating libraries* in terms of service adequacy and service superiority.

Service Dimension Adequacy Mean Score Superiority Mean Score
Affect of Service 1.13 1.03 -0.20 -0.20
Information Control 0.97 0.86 -0.41 -0.42
Library as Place 0.87 0.85 -0.56 -0.47
Overall 1.01 0.92 -0.36 -0.35

*Participating libraries: HKBU, HKIEd, HKUST, Lingnan, PolyU


HKUST library was rated higher than average in two areas: “Affect of Service” and “Information control”. This shows that users recognize and appreciate HKUST Library staff’s strong professionalism, work ethic, and dedication to service. We have slightly lower than average JULAC rating on “Library as Place”. This is an area that the Library is planning to improve upon, as space and budget permit.



At the end of the Survey, respondents were asked to give their comments about library services. There were 1,435 comments received. Over 25% of these comments are praises and words of appreciation. The rest are suggestions and constructive remarks. 

Examples of praises
  • “The best place to stay in UST.”
  • “Our library is the best!”
  • I love the ground floor of the library, i think especially in the morning it is so peaceful and calm.
  • Our library provide information and resources for us, including materials and many classes about how to use them. I really thanks staffs of library. And further I hope that our library could provide more chance and resource of 3D printer and I really love it.”
  • 服務良好、環境非常舒適,可以讓我專心溫習、 資源豐富、職員亦很友善,樂意詳細回答我的問 題,活動種類繁多,可以讓我找到興趣,又能學習 新的東西。
  • 图书馆有很好的环境,也会提供各种活动和讲座帮助我们熟悉使用图书馆的资源,喜欢我们的图书馆。

Action Plans

The Library is actively developing plans to follow up on the comments received. Please refer to the following dimensions of service:


Our Thanks

To show our appreciation to the Survey participants, 70 prize winners were randomly drawn from a lucky draw. Our Director of Library Services presented prizes to the grand prize winners on 11 December 2019.

Grand Prize Winners and the Director of Library Services


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last modified 23 March 2020