User satisfaction and loyalty in a public library setting
Te-Shyang Tan, Tung-Liang Chen, and Pao Hui Yang (Chung Hua University), 2017, 45(5), 741–756

I began work in the Canterbury Public Library in Christchurch, New Zealand, 57 years ago; thus, the topic of user satisfaction and loyalty in a public library setting is of interest to me. Although the focal library in this study was located in Taiwan, the results are generalizable because the digital revolution affecting libraries and their patrons is global, giving rise to similar challenges and positive measures that should be undertaken to address these challenges.

The authors had my immediate attention with their opening statement that public libraries are an integral part of social communities and essential for education and leisure. Far from being dinosaurs, I see public libraries being a vital link between the haves and the have-nots. Not everyone can afford to buy books, but every child can have plenty of free books borrowed from a library. Not everyone has a computer, but children can do their homework on the free Internet at a library. Nor are adults forgotten: There are technology help drop-in sessions as part of community connections for adults, and there are numerous eResources. 

In this study, library users’ loyalty was the authors’ pivotal variable of investigation. They noted that although previous researchers had used a web-based survey, LibQUALTM, to identify best practice, library users’ loyalty had not been measured. Tan, Chen, and Yang found that the library service experience positively influenced users’ satisfaction and loyalty, thus influencing the intention to return. For this to happen, libraries and librarians have had to change and become proactive. No longer do librarians wait sedately for patrons to approach their desk, as in my day. Personal interaction is vital, as I witnessed on my recent visit to the National Library in Wellington, when a most engaging and helpful librarian quickly approached me. Library managers also need to publicize their services, as many people are unaware of the wide number of available resources.

And who thinks that public libraries are quiet, dull places? Anyone who has ventured near a children’s library with librarians reading and acting out stories and doing craft activities, and police dogs visiting, will know that there is plenty of noise in libraries. Shushing no longer happens. If an efficient user-driven service is provided in a public library, users’ satisfaction and loyalty will be enhanced, as will their intention to revisit. 

Katharine Samuel | Copyeditor
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal