Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Public Library User's Survey

The CIPFA Public Library Users Survey is the leading tool for understanding user attitudes to libraries across the UK. Initially developed in 1993, it has a database of thousands of libraries to draw from, and will allow you to not only review your own situation but to measure it against the national picture.

In this time of financial constraint it is important for libraries to understand the impact that diversification, changes to service provision, the prominence of online and digital resources and an increase in self-service facilities have on their customers.

The CIPFA service

We provide you with a questionnaire that is updated to reflect the needs of the sector, both online and hard copy options to collect and return customer feedback. We scan and analyse your returns and will deliver a comprehensive, comparative report on your results. 

Download the latest national report

Our latest report reveals the thoughts and opinions of 116,684 responses across 548 libraries. Research suggests that half of library visitors come with the intention of borrowing a book while around three in ten do so either to use a library computer or find something out. Of these three groups, their success in achieving their intention is high with 85% able to borrow a book, 89% able to use a computer and 80% having found something out.

Some six in ten library visitors stated that the library has helped them most with study or learning, while one-third also report that it has helped with health and well-being, getting online and meeting people. This report features the results of 33 library services, the surveys of which occurred in the financial years 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18.

Libraries Users Report 2018

Library surveys on the web

This approach allows your users to complete the survey online, cutting down even further on any staff administration and improving result turnaround times.

Participating authorities have used the survey to:

  • inform future developments and improve services
  • review changes following library promotion, marketing or following changes to services
  • generate action plans
  • track progress against plans.

The benefits of the survey

  • Benchmark your results against other authorities.
  • Develop action plans and track their progress.
  • Gain customer insight on how to improve services.
  • Obtain evidence to guide the future development of libraries.
  • Track usage over time.
  • Identify savings.
  • Identify who uses the service and what they use it for.
  • Better understand usage at a national level.
  • Understand usage across segments of society.

Your customers say…

Recent surveys have highlighted the following:

  • Customers are still awarding services high scores to libraries, although closures or reduced opening hours have reduced the numbers of visitors.
  • Library computer use is far higher for those living in the most deprived areas. This group also rate the computer services far higher.
  • Book borrowing is more prevalent with people living in the least deprived neighbourhoods.
  • People who are retired are more likely to borrow books regardless of what area they live in.

"Libraries are crucial in enabling adults and families to access Community Learning. They provide neutral and attractive spaces for learning to take place, which is a particularly important factor for families where the home learning environment may be challenging"

Susan Chambers - Head of Family & Intergenerational Learning, NIACE

Find out more

For more information, please contact E: or download the flyer.

Other services you've looked at

Related Products

Data-Driven Decisions

People and organisations across the globe gather and analyse data to make more informed decisions

Find out more