Law Library

2009 Law Library Student Survey

During the Spring 2009 semester, the Law Library conducted a survey asking students to comment on various aspects of the library.  573 students responded, providing more than 1,300 separate responses to our narrative questions. This is valuable input, and we want to thank everybody who completed the survey.

Below you can view several charts summarizing quantitative elements of this year's survey followed by a law library response to representative comments from the 2009 survey.

Quantitative Survey Results

Year and status of students who responded:


Reasons for visiting the Law Library:


Level of satisfaction with research assistance using LiveHelp (chatting online with reference librarians):


Level of satisfaction with service at the Law Library Circulation Desk (in either location):


Level of satisfaction with obtaining materials from other libraries:


Level of satisfaction with the Library's collection of print materials:


Level of satisfaction with the Library's collection of electronic databases:


What users are looking for when visiting the Library's website:


Law Library Response

During the Spring 2009 semester, the Law Library conducted a survey asking students to comment on various aspects of the library. 573 students responded, providing more than 1,300 separate responses to our narrative questions. This is valuable input, and we want to thank everybody who completed the survey. The Library reviewed all feedback, and we have compiled a response to several topics common across the responses.

Below you will find narative responses to the most fequent comments in the survey. We also invite you to view our previous posting with several charts summarizing quantitative elements of the Spring 2009 survey.

We also invite you to review the Spring 2007 Law Library Survey and Spring 2008 Law Library Survey to see information from prior years.

Narrative Survey Results

Sample Comment

Library Response


The Reading Room chairs are uncomfortable after 8 hours of reading!

This summer we purchased new chairs for the Robert L. Oakley Reading Room in the Williams Library. Please stop by and try them. They look great and feel even better.


In Wolff the reference librarians sit in the middle of the library. The discussions at the reference desk are disruptive for the people working around them.

We recently relocated the reference desk to a more central location across from the Wolff Circulation Desk. You'll see us there when you enter the Wolff Library. Now the study area on the third floor will be quieter and the reference desk will be more convenient to our patrons! Read more on the Library's Feedback Blog.

Reference Librarians - all nice, all brilliant, all helpful.

The librarians are very helpful in conducting research.

We're glad that our experienced reference staff has been able to help you.

My experience with reference librarians has been inconsistent among reference librarians.

The reference desk is staffed by librarians with many different subject specialties such as tax, environmental law, or health law. Sometimes, the librarian won't be able to answer your question, so we'll refer you to a librarian who has the expertise you need.

Instead of helping you actually find the document or law you are looking for, the librarians just point you to a bunch of their own webpages listing resources. They need to be more like firm librarians and stop wasting students' time.

The library has an academic duty to teach students to independently answer questions both before and after graduating. We always try to answer questions quickly, but also try to take the time to teach you to be become better legal researchers.

As an evening student, sometimes I'm not able to meet with someone for research assistance when they're available. I really like the live chat feature, but would like more evening hours for research librarians.

This is good to know. Based upon this insight we are steadily increasing our reference hours. For example, we added more weekend and evening reference hours during the Spring 2009 exam period.

We are also happy to meet with you outside of normal hours if you request an individual research consultation. Just use the research consultation form. Last year, several students used this system to meet with a reference librarian after the regularly scheduled reference hours.


I have not found all the past exams and feedback for each of my courses.

The library staff places exams and feedback on the web within two to three days after the Registrar's Office sends them to us. If there is an exam that is not in our system please let us know and we will re-double our efforts to get a copy of the exam for our online files.

There should be an easier link to exams on the website, not several clicks away.

On our homepage, there is now a short list of links called "Library Shortcuts" that links directly to exams and online book renewals, as well as other links our students use often.

In the student navigation menu, available across the library site, we added a link to past exams.


Can you extend the library hours?

Why is the library not open after 2 am?

The library hours are great, they really accommodate my study needs.

Thank you for opening the Reading Room one hour earlier on weekdays.

The library survey generated comments about the hours. These range from the hours are great, to we need to open earlier and close later. Each year we reexamine our hours and make changes that support students' research needs to best deploy our limited staff resources in a time of fiscal constraint. Entry records show very low use during extended Reading Room hours. We will continue to monitor use and will expand hours as demand indicates and staffing resources allow.

This year we are starting 24 hour access in the reading room during the reading week as well as the entire exam period. This is one week earlier than in previous years.

We have also extended our morning hours on weekdays. Because of your comments, during the regular semester the Reading Room is now opens at 7 am each week day and closes at 2 am every day we are open.

There is never anybody in the Media Center. Microfilm and microfiche are difficult to use without support.

Because of the level of usage in the Media Room, we do not have library staff permanently assigned to that room. We have recently implemented a schedule where full time staff are available in Media during peak usage times. If the desk is not staffed when you need assistance please call or come to the Circulation Desk (there is a wall phone available) and someone will help you.

The circulation staff are not always approachable at the desk

The Circulation staff is here to assist you in your library research. While the staff perform several tasks, both at the desk and away from the desk, please feel free to interrupt us even if we look busy.

In response to your comments the Library is implementing a staffing pattern that will allow one full-time staff to spend more time working with the circulation student employees at the Circulation Desk.


I cannot stress enough how much the Library needs at least one scanner.

I wish there were scanners that were as accessible as the printers and photocopiers are (or if one of the printers was also a scanner).

The new digital scanner is great. Please buy more and advertise them.

There are now three scanners in the Library. They are designed to be as easy to use as a photocopier. The new scanner will allow you to scan from books or individual sheets of paper and send the file as a pdf to any email address. The first is located at the Technology Reference Desk, on the Third Floor of the WIlliams LIbrary, where IST professionals are available to help you with the scanner. Last summer we purchased and installed two more. One is on the Wolff Circulation Desk. The third scanner is in the Robert Oakley Reading Room in the Williams Library.

The digital scanner and duplex printing are just a few ways that we are creating an environmentally conscious library and provide you with some relief from the cost of copying and printing.


It is confusing when I find a book in the catalog that says it is located in the Third Floor or the Fourth Floor. I can't tell if it is in Williams or Wolff

Because both library locations have similar locations, we have enhanced the GULLiver catalog location details to help avoid confusion. In the GULLiver catalog, materials in the Edward Bennett Williams Library now have the letters "WMS" preceding them. Materials in the John Wolff Library have the letters "INTL" preceding them. For example, the Kansas Legal Research and Reference Guide is now noted as being in "WMS REF," and the Research Guide to Chinese Trademark Law and Practice is noted as being in "INTL REF."

The printers and photocopiers are out of service or out of paper when I need them.

As with any machine that has many moving parts and used as much as ours are, there will be times when the printers and photocopiers will need paper or service.

We have instituted a daily check of all photo copiers and printers with the hope of minimizing this problem. We also have established an internal online tracking log to record and track these issues. Please report any difficulty to the circulation desk so we can rectify it for you or the next patron.

Why am I paying for copies and printing when I pay so much for tuition?

The printing and copying services operate on a cost recovery basis (to pay for equipment, etc.). We are constantly looking for ways to reduce expenses and keep your costs down. For example, to provide you with a no-cost option, the library purchased three self serve document scanners. They are free and as easy to use as a copier. Digital copies will be directly emailed to your email address.

Scanners are located at:

  • Wolff Circulation Desk
  • Williams Reading Room
  • Williams 3rd floor computer lab
Finally, the library's subscriptions to Lexis and Westlaw include free printing. Pick up printouts in the printer rooms on the fourth floor of both Wolff and Williams.

I think a library in the 21st Century should save paper and provide duplex (two-sided) printing.

Yes we do offer two-sided printing. However, you have to manually configure the software you are using to print to use the duplex feature. The library has posted information on green printing on our Library's Feedback Blog.

Also note that our photocopiers are set to default to making two-sides copies.


The website is a little busy. I think it needs to be simplified.

The library's website is easy to navigate.

Most students responding to our survey indicated no problems finding items on our site, so we didn't want to make drastic changes. However, over the summer we tweaked the homepage design to simplify search options for our catalog and collection of research guides. In addition, we adjusted the color of the navigation menus to emphasize content specific to student and faculty needs. We also reviewed and adjusted the sitewide navigation menu based on survey feedback and site access statistics.

On several general information pages, we include in a consistent location our contact information as well as the library's operating hours for the current day.

Additionally, we also made some small changes you might not notice:

I didn't know you could book study rooms online.

I really like the idea of booking group study rooms on the website. The paper book is old-fashioned.

The library is creating a new system for booking group study rooms online, which we plan to launch during Fall 2009.
Once it's available, students can log in and book study rooms for three or more people in either library location, using a system we will create specifically for the Georgetown Law Library.

On The Web

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