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Customer survey reveals satisfaction with Suffolk’s library service

Suffolk Libraries are highlighting the results of a recent customer survey which show how valued the county’s libraries are.

Suffolk’s Libraries Industrial and Provident Society (Suffolk Libraries) has been running the library service in Suffolk since August 2012 when it was transferred out of county council control which still funds the service. The transfer has enabled all 44 libraries to remain open with the new structure saving over £2million.

Suffolk Libraries wanted to find out how people in Suffolk were feeling about their library service and to gather ideas and comments about how further improvements could be made in the future. A customer survey was carried out in November and December last year. The results show that people are still feeling positive about the service with the majority of people saying they felt there had been no difference in the library service or that it has even got better, despite recent changes.

Over 1,500 people completed the survey from across the county and some of the key facts and figures are highlighted below:

  • 92% of people said library staff were excellent or very good

  • When asked if they had noticed any difference in the library service over the past year, 53.8% said it was about the same, 39.4% said it had got better and only 6.8% felt it had got worse.

  • 86% said the choice of books in the library was good, very good or excellent

  • Nearly 60% of people said they visited their library at least once a week and 28% visited once a month

  • Although the traditional use of libraries is constantly changing as the service develops, 93% of people who responded said they still used the library for borrowing books. The range of other services and options was also reflected including 7% of people saying they accessed ebooks, 18.7% of people using the free internet, 27% visiting for information and research and 17% taking part in regular activities for themselves or their children.

Tony Brown, Chair of Suffolk Libraries’ Board said:

The results of this survey are very positive and reassuring. We have the entire community and our staff to thank for the hard work that has gone into running the library service in Suffolk and in dealing with the changes that have taken place. The support and passion that ensured that all our libraries remained open has carried forward and although we are not complacent and there is still work to do, it cannot be underestimated how positive the position in Suffolk is compared to many other library services across the country. We are very grateful for this feedback and for the many helpful and constructive comments which we have received.

Some additional comments received from the survey:

I am amazed that we still have such an excellent service. I moved here from the London borough of Brent where 50% of libraries have been closed. So I know how lucky I am to be here.

Haverhill Library is the best library that I have ever attended. The staff treat me like one of their own. I look forward to coming in every day, as I always receive such a warm welcome. If I have any questions the staff are more than happy to answer my questions. They always go out of their way to listen to me, and it goes without saying, that they go the extra mile. I think they should be voted best in the country, because they truly are, thank you.

The recent customer survey focused on the service provided in libraries. Suffolk Libraries will also soon be carrying out a specific survey of mobile library customers. There will also be a further exercise to ask people what they think of library IT services once the current programme to upgrade the public access computers in libraries has been carried out.