Survey Says! Student Thoughts on New Library Spaces

By Rebecca Blunk
Published on 6 July, 2022

In 2019, CSN Libraries began refurbishing their North Las Vegas space with new furniture after receiving the CSN Foundation’s Spirit of CSN award. Along with more modern and moveable furniture (including many charging ports!), the refresh also reimagined the reference desk area where students could consult with librarians, a relocation of the book collections, and a redesign of individual and group study spaces.

At the Henderson Campus, CSN Libraries reopened in the brand-new Health Sciences building August of 2021 after many years of being in Building A. The library now includes multiple group study rooms complete with large, sharable screens, a devoted library instruction classroom, individual study furniture with privacy walls, and a large set of “social stairs” leading to the second floor that provides a sprawling space for seating and USB cable ports for visitors to charge devices while overlooking the campus through large floor-to-ceiling windows.

With the transition back to in-person services last Fall, we decided it was time to survey students asking what they thought of the new spaces. Two distinct themes emerged from these surveys: comfort and agency. The following word cloud illustrates the terms most frequently used from the survey responses:


The theme of “comfort” emerged from the numerous positive feedback related to the library furniture, the new layout, cleanliness, and the friendless of the staff. Many students also commented on the spaces being “nice” and “cozy,” as well as “quiet” and “spacious.” Many students also described feeling comfortable approaching service desks, stating how “friendly” and “helpful” CSN librarians and staff were. At CSN Libraries, we strive to offer an environment where students feel welcome and at home. We therefore appreciate how most of the responses positively described the physical space as being one in which they felt relaxed as well as the sense of ease they experienced when asking for help from our staff. This was an important finding, as research suggests that some students may experience feelings of anxiety or discomfort when visiting traditional academic libraries due to their unfamiliarity with the unspoken and ambiguous social “rules” and practices that have been associated with these spaces. Therefore, we were pleasantly reassured to read student survey responses that reflected positive interactions.


We use the theme "agency” to summarize how students described navigating the new spaces and how this contributed to accomplishing their goals. For example, several responses illustrated a preference for using the spaces to study or access information. They indicated that the charging ports, table space, and flexible seating options were directly connected to their ability to be productive in the library. The connections students made with the library being a physical place to achieve their academic goals indicate a recognition of their own agency within the library. This is important, because we hope that students feel free and encouraged to assert their individuality and student identity throughout their college career.

Final Thoughts

CSN Libraries has been delighted to be able to refresh our existing spaces and build new ones that can adequately provide for the needs of our wonderful CSN students. Arriving at the conceptual themes of comfort and agency has been important in our own assessment of the flexibility, relevancy, and impact that our spaces have on those who visit, work, and study in the library. We look forward to following up on future feedback from students in order to continue to improve our services, spaces, and contributions to their success at CSN.