The Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL), part of the Colorado State Library, provides “free audio, braille and large print books” to keep people “connected to reading, stories, and adventure.” CTBL serves Coloradans experiencing physical limitations that prevent them from reading standard print, including vision and other physical impairments, as well as learning disabilities. In order to assess CTBL services, every two years the Patron Satisfaction Survey is administered by the Library Research Service. The 2022 survey was administered in the winter of 2022-23. 428 patrons completed the survey which examined patron demographics, satisfaction, value, communication, and engagement. This was the first survey administered since 2020, when we were in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways in which we all view and interact with the world around us, and although these changes are difficult to assess in a survey of this type, it’s important to acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic may still be affecting perceptions and usage of the library.
Upon analysis, we found that based on age groups, responses were representative of the overall CTBL patron population. We did not receive any responses for the age group 18-21, however this group makes up a very small percentage of the overall population at only about 1%. This year, we did not ask patrons for their gender or race, but we did ask about educational attainment: 55% of respondents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of respondents, 3% are currently enrolled in school, with 45% of them in college, and 55% in K-12.
We found that patrons are quite satisfied with CTBL and value it very deeply. Overall satisfaction with CTBL remains very high: 96% of respondents rated their overall satisfaction as good or excellent with 81% choosing “excellent.” Only 3.6% of respondents rated their overall satisfaction as fair, and no one rated it as poor. In every service category except for “Materials Selection” at least 90% of the respondents said each of the services was either good or excellent.
The two services with lowest satisfaction ratings were the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) app, and Materials Selection. “Courtesy of staff” had the highest excellence rating with 87% of respondents rating it as excellent and no one rating it as poor. While satisfaction for Materials Selection remained low (77% rated it excellent or good, 19% said fair, and 4% said poor), this is actually an increase in the excellent rating since 2020. When comparing satisfaction of all services to 2020 ratings, excellent ratings increased for every service with the largest increase in satisfaction for “Delivery Speed.” Satisfaction was also measured for Books on Demand (also known as Duplication on Demand.) Of the people who use the service, 64% were very satisfied, 20% satisfied, and less than 1% were very dissatisfied.
When respondents were asked, “How has the library service been valuable to you?” the top two answers overall were “Read for enjoyment – fiction” at 85% and “Keeps my mind active” at 82%. The option least frequently chosen was “Resource for job/career” with only 6% of respondents selecting it. Unsurprisingly, “Keeps my mind active” was the most common response for people ages 76 and over with 82% of this group selecting it. We were very surprised to see that there was no correlation between overall satisfaction and communication frequency. This tells us that satisfaction does not hinge on direct customer service because there was no pattern to communication frequency when comparing the most satisfied and dissatisfied customers.
Colorado Talking Book Library continues to be an incredibly valuable asset to Coloradans in particular those with vision impairments and learning disabilities. The stories from patrons, both in words and numbers, show that this service is highly valued, and that users are extremely satisfied with the library. Throughout this report you will find quotes from patrons and more extensive statistics from the survey. CTBL looks forward to continuing to serve the community and wants to thank the participants of this study as well as the CTBL Friends Foundation for their ongoing support.