Church Library Survey-Please participate

Church library survey

I am a university librarian conducting research on church libraries with the intent of publishing an article on the topic. I have devised an electronic survey to gather information and would welcome your participation. The short, 5-10 minute survey can be found at

Your response to the survey by July 6 will be great!

Thank you! Ellen Bosman

New Mexico State University Library

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Comment by Ellen Bosman on June 26, 2015 at 2:10pm


Thanks for taking part in the survey and your question. The next iteration of the survey will probably not occur for several years, at which time it would be a comparison to the current survey.  Due to needing permission from my university to even offer the survey, I can't easily change anything because that would require me to re-submit the whole survey for approval. 

I would greatly appreciate you forwarding the info regarding the survey to other libraries in your area. 

Comment by Ellen Bosman on June 26, 2015 at 2:05pm

Comment by Bob Haskins on June 25, 2015 at 6:36pm


Thanks for the opportunity to take part in your survey. After I took it I noticed your reply to Rex about adding more questions in the "next iteration of the survey”. When and where will that be available? We are associated with about 15 other church libraries in our area and would want to pass that info on to them as well.

Comment by Ellen Bosman on June 25, 2015 at 1:13pm


Thank you for your feedback.  There's always room for improvements and I will take your suggestions under advisement.

Comment by Nancy Elkington on June 25, 2015 at 9:14am

Initially I welcomed the opportunity to share thoughts about our library but found the survey to be disappointing in a number of ways detailed below. 

In content terms it does a very poor job of getting at the issues behind the issues.  The questions are often superficial and the multiple options for answers are also overly simplistic.  For example: is the library's catalog card-based or do you use library software.  We use both -- we're in transition between relying on a card catalog for access as well as circulation and moving to use of a freely-available, server based cataloging solution.  My expectation is that there is a large number of respondents who  found themselves similarly challenged in answering your question.

In construction terms it assumes that the answer to every question is "Yes" and requires that choices be selected from a limited field of options.  I was particularly irked by Q27 -- asking about library policies.  The question did not allow me to answer "no, we have no written policies" -- instead I was forced to either lie or quit the survey. 

I find it pretty surprising and disappointing that the scope of the research was explained neither on the CLN website nor in the survey itself.  In particular, I would have liked to know in advance:

  • the purpose of the survey -- what research question were you trying to answer in compiling, distributing and collecting responses to the survey?

  • what is your relationship to church libraries?  do you manage one yourself?  are you the Religion selector for your university library?  are you responsible for cataloging resources acquired either at your church library or your workplace?
  • that the survey only pertained to US libraries rather than to US and Canadian libraries;

  • whether the survey - perhaps in modifed form - is being distributed to libraries within other faith communities' organizations (synagogues, temples, et al);
  • that there would be no option to answer "no" to many of the questions; further, that there would be no free-text fields for responses to open-ended questions; and finally, that there would be no opportunity at the end of the survey to contribute opinions or facts that did not get addressed in the survey.

I wish you well and hope that you will share a link to your paper here on CLN when it is completed.


Comment by Ellen Bosman on June 24, 2015 at 11:23am

Rex, thanks for your participation in the survey and for your suggestions about other questions.  in the next iteration of the survey i have modified one question to include your suggestion about magazines, have added one about the size of the library's staff, the last time the online software was updated.  I'm going to include a question about the age and gender of the person most responsible for the library.  a question about the availability of the library's catalog on the internet will be added. 

Comment by Ellen Bosman on June 24, 2015 at 10:44am

Patricia,  thanks for your participation! :-)

Comment by Patricia D. Neumann on June 23, 2015 at 8:45pm

Some of the questions were difficult to answer, but I did the best I could!

Comment by Rex Beavers on June 23, 2015 at 8:37pm

Ellen- you didn't ask how many on the library staff, their ages, How many books are checked out & over due.

when was the card catalog updated, or computer program updated. Can the librarian use the catalog software.

Does anybody read the religious magazines- can you give them away?  Enjoyed the survey... Rex

Comment by Ellen Bosman on June 23, 2015 at 1:35pm

Kay,  thank you for your comment.  At this time it is just US churches and synagogues.  My plan is to do a separate survey and article at a later date that would have a non-US focus.   I think it would make an interesting comparison; this would be similar to the article I published on church libraries in Australia, which compared/contrasted those with US libraries.  Thanks for you interest and participation.  Ellen


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