A core theme I see in LibQUAL+ data is that most libraries do pretty well in the service dimension, but when it comes to enabling users to help themselves their perceptions are typically much lower.
When you put all the numbers together the narrative goes something like this:
You’re pretty good at helping me, thanks, but I’d really prefer to do more things by myself—and by the way, you don’t make that very easy for me.
But is this changing? Over the past several months (years?) a common theme seems to popping up everywhere: self-service. A few examples:
- Unmediated Holds (and eventually ILL)
- Unmediated Course Reserves (I’ve heard of UVA & York, but don’t have any proof)
- Vending Machines for Supplies
- /3/">Laptop (and soon Tablets) Self Checkout Machines
- Unmediated, Self-Deposit, Institutional Repositories
- Unmediated Reminders
- Patron Driven Acquisition
- Books on Demand
- RFID Self-Service Check-Out
- Self-Directed Library Instruction
- Self-Constructed Learning Spaces
- User-Created Metadata
This is just a sampling, but you see what I’m saying? The movement here is letting patrons do more on their own. Our challenge, as a profession, is going to be allowing ourselves to let them have more control over their library experiences.
I’d be curious to see some more examples of libraries that are empowering patrons.