Library Survey – a bit of feedback


Thank you and prize winners:

At the end of Lent term we asked you to respond to our Biennial Library Survey, and we had a great response rate (31% of all Magdalene Students). 72% of respondents were undergraduates and all disciplines were represented in the responses.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey, we’ve been through every response and they will help us to improve the library service at Magdalene. Of course there was the chance to win a prize and the winners were:

Quain Kunyao Zhu – Magdalene College Library Travel mug



Natalia Kahn – £20 Heffers Voucher

Thanks to Heffers for the voucher prize and the 20% off vouchers for all participants, we hope they were useful.


Your feedback

We asked what your satisfaction was with various aspects of the Library Service:

You were most satisfied with library staff (99% – ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Very Satisfied’), the cleanliness (96%), the noise levels (93%) and the atmosphere (92%).

The temperature (38% – ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’) and seating (29%) in the library had the highest level of dissatisfaction.


The majority of comments about atmosphere touched on the library as being an inspiring, studious place to work;  managing to be both welcoming and cosy as well as a place to concentrate and get work done.

  •  “It has a good working atmosphere and lots of nooks and crannies to work in.”
  • “The cosy and (comparatively) relaxed atmosphere”
  • “There is a relaxed atmosphere in comparison to other larger libraries around Cambridge.”
  • “The relaxed feel (no security buzzers and strict librarians!). Makes it a much nicer environment to work in than my department’s library.”


We had a serious problem with the heating this winter, which made it almost intolerable to work in the library at the start of Lent term. We are liaising with the Clerk or Works and upgrades to the boiler system will take place in the Summer. If this does not resolve the issue we will discuss alternative heating options, and if all else fails will but blankets for use in the library (we might do that anyway, I could do with one sometimes!).

We asked you to rate the Library Collection:

67% of 1st year undergraduates rated the stock as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and only 3% rating it as ‘poor’.

This is not a bad rating but it could be better and we aim to improve the stock every year. We’ve worked throughout the year on developing the collection;  the new book lists that we produce at least termly (see can help you to see what we’ve purchased in your subject.

The free text comments in the survey highlighted a number of subjects where there could be specific improvements and we have already begun to focus in on them, for example improving the Linguistics and Economics sections and purchasing a number of second copies of key texts.

Book recommendations:

Book recommendations are particularly useful in helping us to buy what you need, 36% of you had previously recommended books and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive:

  • “A very easy process, and Tom got in touch both as soon as he had ordered and when the book arrived!”
  • “Great – very efficient and helpful responses from the library staff. I feel very encouraged to do this again if I find another book which would be helpful is missing.”
  • “Uncomplicated.”


62% of undergraduate respondents use the library at least weekly, with 52% of postgraduate respondents being weekly users.

Only 5% said they never use the library, while a third of respondents only use the library a few times a month or less.

New library


Your thoughts on the new library were very welcome and we’re pleased that many of them are reflected in the design as it stands and they are helping us to further tailor the new (and current!) library service to your needs.


Other improvements:

new resources

Since the survey we have made some additional improvements. The A4 whiteboards have proven to be very popular, as well as the earplugs. We will be purchasing some additional whiteboards and will have earplugs again for next Easter term. We have also introduced the Welfare Section (located in the Middle Room, Left Cloister)  as detailed

A water cooler has now also been installed in Ramsey hall accessible until midnight via the rear door.

Covered drinks only in the Librar3y

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