Perceptions of Pakistani Users about Library Service Quality: Libqual Comments

By Rehman, Shafiq Ur | Library Philosophy and Practice, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Perceptions of Pakistani Users about Library Service Quality: Libqual Comments


Rehman, Shafiq Ur, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction and Literature Review

There are at least eleven ways to listen the customers: transactional surveys, mystery shopping, new declining and lost customer surveys, focus group interviews, customer advisory panels, service reviews, customer complaint, comment, inquiry capture, total market surveys, employee field reporting, employee surveys and service operating data capture (Parasuraman as cited in Cook, Heath, Thompson, & Thompson, 2001).The French writer Francois de la Rochefoucauld said that "Il est plus necessaire d'etudier les hommes que les livres" (It is more important to study people than books).The LibQUAL qualitative comments provide very rich information on user's perception about library service quality. It gives unique opportunity for participating libraries to compare the users' perception through mix methods. Thompson, Kyrillidou, and Cook (2007) noted that about 40% of the LibQUAL respondents provide open-ended comments. These comments often indicate weak and strong areas of library service quality and library administration can use these comments and suggestions for improvement of their services.

Begay, Lee, Marti,n & Ray (2004) emphasized the use of open-ended comments. These comments provide additional rich source of information for future planning to meet the needs of user community. The open-ended comments are also helpful for refinement of instrument and increase in response rate. With these comments users can provide their problem and concerns for all relevant issues. Different qualitative data analysis software such as Atlas.ti, NU*DIST, Nvivo and Excel are available to analyse the open ended comment. The University of Idaho used Atlas.ti software (Jankowska, Hertel, & Young, 2006) and University of Arizona used NU*DIST software to code comments (Begay, et al., 2004). The LibQUAL website publication section (http://www.libqual.org/publications) enlisted some articles, how participating libraries analyzed their user s'comments.

The University of Arizona (Begay, et al., 2004) analyzed the 303 open ended comments provided by LibQUAL 2002 Survey participants. The close examination of comments resulted in three broad categories: access (n=290), services (n=161) and environment (n=156). The access comes up as major and environment as a least concern to library users. The comments related to access included: electronic access, suggestions for access, access to journals, access to print collection and organization of access. Most of comments were from graduates and undergraduate students and only a few were from faculty.

The second largest category of comments were related to services (n=161).The most of comments were related to staff services, competency for services and interlibrary loan services. The lowest numbers of comments were about environment category (156). The most of environment related comments were about noise, hours and study rooms. The 77% of comments were positive (related to staff competency) and 17% of the comments were negative. The negative comments were mostly about part-time student staff. Majority of comments were provided by graduate students. There were correlation between users' perception of staff competencies and satisfaction with services they received at their university library. A relationship was also noted between users' expectations and their perceptions of service quality. The University of Arizona library used these open ended comments to gauge the users' information need and planed new services, strategies to fulfill these needs.

The analysis of users comments at Vanderbilt Library (Wilson, 2004) revealed that out of 934 surveys completed, 380 respondents provided 650 discrete observations: 428 comments were critical and 232 were positive. Of the 428 negative comments, 129 related to the library building and 162 to Information Control (IC). Out of 232 positive comments, 97 were related to Affect of Service (AS) area. …

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