Assessing Service Quality: Satisfying the Expectations of Library Customers, Second Edition

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Authors
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Because of technology, the old measures of service quality no longer apply. If libraries are to succeed, they must see themselves in competition with other institutions and sources of information--especially the Web--and make customers feel welcome and valued. This classic book is brought fully up to date as Peter Hernon and Ellen Altman integrate the use of technology into the customer experience. They offer solid, practical ideas for developing a customer service plan that meets the library's customer-focused mission, vision, and goals, challenging librarians to think about customer service in new ways, including

  • Distance education
  • Use of library Web sites
  • Partnerships and consortia for electronic collections
  • Ways to effectively embrace change for continuous improvement

Senior librarians, library directors, and trustees will learn how to see the library as the customer does with the aid of dozens of tools to measure service quality--from mystery shoppers and benchmarking to surveys and group interviews.

List of Figures



1. Understanding Ends and Means
2. A Look in the Library Mirror
3. "Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It . . ."
4. Measuring and Evaluating the Components of Service Quality
5. What Can Go Wrong with Numbers
6. Managing the Three Cs (Comments, Complaints, and Compliments)
7. Listening to Customers through Surveys
8. Listening to Customers through Focus Group Interviews
9. Customer-Related Indicators and Requirements
10. Satisfaction and Service Quality: Separate but Intertwined
11. Interpreting Findings to Improve Customer Service
12. Embracing Change—Continuous Improvement



Peter Hernon

Peter Hernon is a professor emeritus at Simmons College, Boston, and was the principal (and founding) faculty member for the doctoral program, Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions. He received his PhD degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and was the 2008 recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries' award for Academic/Research Librarian of the Year, the founding editor of Government Information Quarterly, and past editor-in- chief of The Journal of Academic Librarianship. He is the coeditor of Library & Information Science Research and has taught, conducted workshops, and delivered addresses in eleven countries outside the United States. He is the author or co-author of 57 books, including the award-winning Federal Information Policies in the 1980s (1985) and Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives (2009).

Ellen Altman

Ellen Altman, now retired, was visiting professor in the Department of Library and Information Studies, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), 1996– 1997. She had been a faculty member at the Universities of Kentucky and Toronto and at Indiana University, professor and director of the Graduate Library School at the University of Arizona, and feature editor of Public Libraries, the official publication of the Public Library Association. Altman was coeditor of "The JAL Guide to the Professional Literature" in the Journal of Academic Librarianship, a member of the editorial board of Library Quarterly, and a co-author of Performance Measures for Public Libraries. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Rutgers School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, in 1983.

"The great strength of the book lies with the recommended practical methods, grounded in well-explained theory, by which libraries can complement traditional assessment measures with a customer-centered framework. Highly recommended."
--Internet Reference Services Quarterly

"Having delivered a previous volume that established strong, consistent measures that librarians and managers could use to determine whether their customers were satisfied, Hernon and Altman address technological issues and reiterate the importance of customer loyalty .. Public, school, and academic library examples have been included in this very complete summary of using research to evaluate customer satisfaction."

"The authors have written a book for practitioners, but soundly based it on research, as the extensive bibliography demonstrates. This is an excellent book that should be purchased by all library managers, and then used to develop better customer service."
--Australian Library Journal