From LibQUAL™ to LibQUAL+™ Lite

Quick Overview

LibQUAL+™ has served the academic library community well with over 1,000 participating libraries and over 1 million respondents since 1999. However, there has been a growing desire within the community of users for a briefer version of the survey. With 34 questions, including optional selections, in the full LibQUAL+™ survey, libraries have reported significant numbers of respondents who start but do not complete the survey. Other potential respondents may also have declined to take the survey because of its size. LibQUAL+™ Lite has been developed by ARL to address these concerns.

ARL officially implemented the Lite survey format, which had been in trial mode for two years, in 2010. The Lite format reduces the number of core questions a respondent must answer by 50%. The rationale for the introduction of the Lite format was to increase the percentage of respondents who complete the survey.

Recommended Options for LibQUAL Canada Participants

Individual consortium members are free to choose different options (differing percentages of respondents who take LibQUAL+™ Lite vs full LibQUAL+™). 75% of the member libraries opted for the Lite format in 2010. In addition to the potential benefits of a briefer survey, the desire to compare their results with peer institutions was also a motivating factor in our member’s selection of survey format. Of the French-language universities, 7 of 8 chose the Lite format. Overall, 80% of total respondents took the Lite survey, rising to 94% in the case of the French language respondents.

A study in 2010 by a team led by Sam Kalb1 concluded that there was no statistical difference between the aggregate results from the full survey and the Lite format. However, if a member library wishes to track the results from particular survey questions, the Lite format may yield too little data for reliable analysis. In the latter case, the member library should implement the full survey format or a mix of Lite and full formats.


LibQUAL+™ Lite uses matrix samplingMatrix sampling is a survey method that can be used to collect data on all survey items without requiring every participant to react to every survey question.  With this approach all of the LibQUAL+™ questions will still be  asked but not of every respondent. 

LibQUAL+™ Lite Described In Brief

No LibQUAL+™ Lite respondent will have to answer more than 19 questions (not counting demographic items) as opposed to 34 questions for the full LibQUAL+™ survey.

  1. Basic Questions

  • 3 questions will be common to all the LibQUAL+™ Lite surveys (one from each of the three service dimensions).
  • 8 questions will be randomly selected by the LibQUAL+™ system, for each respondent in the following manner:
    • 2 questions randomly selected from the remaining 8 Affect of Service questions
    • 2 questions randomly selected from the remaining 7 Information Control questions
    • 1 question randomly selected from the remaining 4 Library as Place questions

  2. Optional Questions

  • 1 question randomly selected from the library's 5 optional questions (if the library chooses to include 5 optional questions)

  3. General Satisfaction questions

  • 2 questions randomly selected from the General Satisfaction questions

  4. Information Literacy Outcomes questions

  • 2 questions randomly selected from the Information Literacy Outcomes questions

  5. Library Use questions

  • All 3 Library Use questions


  • The comments box

How Does a library select LibQUAL+™ Lite?

In January 2013, when each library enters its options for the survey, they will have an option to select what percentage of the library's total respondents will randomly receive a LibQUAL+™ Lite survey as opposed to a full survey.  The percentage can be from 0 to 100%. 


  1. Canada Lite: impact of LibQUAL+® Lite on the members of the LibQUAL+® Canada Consortium, by Sam Kalb, Eun-ha Hong, Susan Czarnocki, Sylvain Champagne, 2010 (preprint of a paper presented at the Library Assessment Conference, Baltimore, Md, October 25-27, 2010)