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Demonstrating the value of “library as place” with the MISO Survey

Neal Baker (Libraries, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, USA)
Katherine Furlong (Library, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA)
David Consiglio (Library and Information Technology Services, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, USA)
Gentry Lankewicz Holbert (Library, Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama, USA)
Craig Milberg (Library, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon, USA)
Kevin Reynolds (Library, Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)
Joshua Wilson (Longsight, Inc., Independence, Ohio, USA)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 1 June 2018

Issue publication date: 7 August 2018




The purpose of this paper is twofold. It first examines cross-institutional benchmark data about “library as place” from 99 US schools in the Measuring Information Service Outcomes (MISO) Survey ( The data demonstrate the value of “library as place” to students in particular. Second, the paper shares case studies of how two college libraries made MISO Survey “library as place” data actionable. Lafayette College (Easton, Pennsylvania) analyzed local MISO Survey data after a renovation to validate return on investment. Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana) analyzed MISO Survey data to help secure a science library renovation and to justify an architectural study for its main library.


The paper begins with an analysis of “library as place” using aggregate benchmarks derived from US college and university respondents between 2012 and 2015. Specifically, the paper contrasts student and faculty perceptions of “library as place” via national benchmarks about: library services importance, satisfaction, and use (three benchmarks); hybrid online/“place-based” library services importance, satisfaction, and use (three benchmarks). Pivoting from higher education to individual, local perspectives, two case studies reveal how academic libraries used MISO Survey findings to demonstrate the value of “library as place” for renovation purposes.


The findings include that undergraduates make more frequent use than faculty of place-based services such as reference, equipment loans, and physical course reserves. Undergraduates also find most of these services more important than faculty do. Faculty makes generally more frequent use than undergraduates of online services such as library databases and the catalog. They find that these services to be more important than undergraduates do. Faculty and undergraduates use newer library discovery systems with equal frequency and find them to be equally important. Undergraduates find comfortable library spaces to be very important, and faculty considers them to be only a bit less important.


This is the first paper using MISO Survey data to focus on the importance and satisfaction of place-based library services involving cross-institutional comparisons for students and faculty. Previously published research using MISO Survey data have compared the use of place-based library services. This is also the first paper to offer case studies about how institutions use MISO Survey data to demonstrate the value of “library as place.”



Baker, N., Furlong, K., Consiglio, D., Lankewicz Holbert, G., Milberg, C., Reynolds, K. and Wilson, J. (2018), "Demonstrating the value of “library as place” with the MISO Survey", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 111-120.



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