What Students Are Saying About Lilly

Students study for finals in Lilly Library, April 2023. (Photo by Bill Snead, University Communications)

Every couple of years, we survey the student body to understand how they view our services, spaces, and materials, and how satisfied they are with their overall library experience. (The short version: very satisfied, if we do say so ourselves.)

This year, approximately 2,500 Duke students responded to our call for feedback—about 15 percent of the total student population—evenly split between undergraduates and graduate students. Their answers were both candid (“I can never find an open group study room in Perkins”) and imaginative (“NAP PODS! This would be a game changer”).

Some of the most interesting findings were in the open-ended comments, where students could share anything they wanted us to know. The things they had to say about Lilly Library, in particular, reveal the fondness many students have for the East Campus library and its staff. But even Lilly’s most devoted fans found plenty of room for improvement in the current condition of the aging building, driving home the need for the upcoming renovation and expansion.

“I love Lilly Library. I wish I had more reason to visit Perkins/Bostock, but I am a Dance graduate student, so Lilly’s collections are more relevant to my research.” – Master’s student

“Lilly has the best vibes.” – First-year undergraduate

“The staff at Lilly is fantastic and I love going in to pick up books for my research, but as a workspace for graduate students it leaves a little to be desired.” – Ph.D. candidate

“I proudly don a Lilly sticker on my laptop. Some of the biggest things I’ll miss at Duke, when it’s time for me to go, are the libraries.” – Ph.D. candidate

“I really love Lilly Library! I study there every day and it’s an irreplaceable part of my life at Duke.” – Master’s student

“I like the study spaces on the first floor at Lilly Library because of how open the space is, so there are people watching out for each other. It makes me feel safer.” – Master’s student

“Get nicer chairs with some padding in Lilly, and please upgrade the Lilly basement.” – First-year undergraduate

“I always feel welcome in Lilly Library in particular (the library where I spend most of my time)—the staff is welcoming and friendly, and I always feel safe and comfortable there.” – Senior undergraduate

“Lilly Library has a bit limited collaboration space, which is filled up very quickly around the time of midterms and finals.” – First-year undergraduate

“I wish Lilly Library had a cafe, or even just a coffee machine in it.” – Master’s student

We hear you, and we’re doing something about it.

Over the next few months, we’ll be analyzing the survey data and ultimately use it to make service enhancements, expenditures, and other improvements across the Duke University Libraries. The more feedback we get, the better equipped we are to improve the services we already offer and develop new ones to meet students’ emerging needs.

Students study for finals in Lilly Library, April 2023. (Photo by Bill Snead, University Communications)