Affective relationships between users and libraries in times of economic stress
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Academic libraries are considered as key factors in the educational system of a country and strong pylons for the economic and societal development. During the current economic recession, libraries have been struck by severe budget cuts that have forced them to shrink services to the end users. The purpose of this paper is to measure the opinion of academic libraries users on four main criteria categories, namely, cost, space and atmosphere, personnel behavior and facilitation of collaborative work and to reflect the level of affective relationship of users with their libraries. Design/methodology/approach – The survey followed a quota sampling technique and was addressed to users of all levels (students, post-graduate, faculty members, etc.) from all academic libraries across Greece, resulting in 950 questionnaires that were then processed with inferential statistical methods. The study applies the Stimulus-Organism-Response (SOR) behavioral framework to measure the opinion of the users on the criteria categories. Findings – The study provides representative findings from all Greek academic libraries and shows that libraries are considered as spaces that facilitate pleasant reading and studying, as well as efficient collaborative work. Library users are in overall satisfied by the personnel behavior and productivity, but they also believe that there are margins for further improvement of its knowledge, while they think that the cost of services should be revised and echo the current situation. Practical implications – The study is primarily a quantitative one and as such it provides the broad view of the current situation in the country. It focusses on important drivers of the expression of affective relationships and its findings can be useful to library administrators as it highlights the effects of economic crisis on key areas of library operation. Originality/value – It is the first nation-wide user survey that reports findings and recommendations from a national-wide user-based survey that was conducted in 2012. Previous nation-wide surveys were mainly addressed to library personnel or limited to specific institutions. The study is also the only one to the authors’ knowledge that applies the S.O.R. framework in the academic library setting.
- Περιοδικά, εφημερίδες