Assessing Service Quality, 3rd edition

May 2015 | 232pp

Price: £59.95
CILIP members price: £47.95

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Assessing Service Quality, 3rd edition
Satisfying the expectations of library customers

Peter Hernon, Ellen Altman and Robert Dugan

Academic and public libraries are continuing to transform as the information landscape changes, expanding their missions into new service roles that call for improved organizational performance and accountability. Since Assessing Service Quality premiered in 1998, receiving the prestigious Highsmith Library Literature Award, scores of library managers and administrators have trusted its guidance for applying a customer-centered approach to service quality and performance evaluation. This extensively revised and updated edition explores even further the ways technology influences both the experiences of library customers and the ways libraries themselves can assess those experiences. With a clear focus on real-world application, the authors:

  • Challenge conventional thinking about the utility of input, output, and performance metrics by suggesting new ways to think about the evaluation and assessment of library services
  • Explain service quality and customer satisfaction, and demonstrate how they are separate but intertwined
  • Identify procedures for qualitatively and quantitatively measuring both service quality and satisfaction
  • Encourage libraries to take action by presenting concrete steps they can take to become more customer-centric
  • Offer a range of customer-related metrics that provide insights useful for library planning and decision making, such as surveys and focus groups.

This book shows how to nurture an environment of continuous improvement through effective service quality assessment.

Readership: 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.

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 high-quality service
5. What can go wrong with numbers?                     
6. Different ways of listening to customers
7. Managing the three Cs (comments, complaints, and compliments)
8. Listening through surveys
9. Listening through focus group interviews
10. Customer-related metrics and requirements
11. Satisfaction and service quality: separate but intertwined
12. Interpreting findings to improve customer service
13. Embracing change - continuous improvement


”Throughout, figures provide straightforward model assessment forms and practical examples for the concepts being discussed…As the chair of my library’s assessment committee, which incorporates assessment into all aspects of our operations, I believe that libraries of all types can benefit from the various assessment concepts and strategies presented and discussed. Librarians charged with doing assessment for their organizations will find the book valuable in both theory and practice."
- Technical Services Quarterly 

"The third edition presents some major updates, reflecting the changing library landscape and technologies. The authors felt the need to make updates in the third edition to address these recent changes, primarily citing newer developments in the library culture at large. Additions in the new edition, such as incorporating and surveying social media, are examples of the new content...the text is clearly written and presented, with many figures and illustrations to support the discussion points. The book would provide a good foundation for anyone looking to start an assessment or survey of their library and gives a solid framework for the process of initiating the work involved in such an endeavor." 
- Reference Reviews

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, 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.

Robert E. Dugan is the dean of libraries at the University of West Florida (Pensacola). Prior to assuming this position, he had been at Suffolk University, Boston; Wesley College, Dover, Delaware; and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He has also worked in state and public libraries during his 40-year career. He is the co-author of 13 books, including the award-winning Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives (2009).

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