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Customer Service in Academic Libraries

Book Description

The term 'customer service' is not new to the academic library community. Academic libraries exist to serve the needs of their community, and hence customer service is essential. However, the term can be applied in a variety of ways, from a thin veneer of politeness, to an all-encompassing ethic focussing organisational and individual attention on understanding and meeting the needs of the customer. For customers, the library’s Front Line team is the ‘human face’ of the library. How well they do their job can have a massive impact on the quality of the learning experience for many students, and can directly impact upon their success. The importance of their role, and the quality of the services they offer, should not be underestimated - but in an increasingly digital world, and with potentially several thousand individuals visiting every day (whether in person or online), each with their own agendas and requirements, how can the library’s Front Line team deliver the personal service that each of these individuals need? Customer Service in Academic Libraries contributes to what academic libraries, as a community, do really well - the sharing of best practice. It brings together, in one place, examples of how Front Line teams from libraries across a wide geographical area - Hong Kong, Australia, Turkey and the United Kingdom - work to ‘get it right for their customers’. Between them, they cover a range of institutions including research-intensive, mixed HE/FE, private establishments and shared campuses. All have their own tales to tell, their own emphases, their own ways of doing things - and all bring their own examples of best practice, which it is hoped readers will find useful in their own context.



  • Discusses ‘customer service’ in a library setting
  • Translates ‘management theory’ into useful practice information
  • Examines building relationships, meeting customer needs, and marketing and communication
  • Provides examples of practical experience grounded in recent, transferable experience

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. List of Figures
  7. List of Abbreviations
  8. About the Editor
  9. About the Contributors
  10. Acknowledgments
  11. Introduction
  12. Chapter 1. “Customer Service”—What’s the Big Deal?
    1. Abstract
    2. What’s in a Name?
    3. Thinking Like a Customer
    4. Mapping Your Customer’s Experience
    5. Customer Service Standards
    6. Building Customer Relationships
  13. Chapter 2. Staffing the Front Line
    1. Abstract
    2. Recruiting, Developing, and Rewarding Staff
    3. Listen and Learn
  14. Chapter 3. Marshalling a Century of Experience: Customizing Services for the Next Generation of Users
    1. Abstract
    2. An Institution Amidst Rapid Changes
    3. Historical and Emerging Roles of the Libraries
    4. Holistic Approach to Building a Service Culture
    5. Knowing the Users and Striving for Continuous Quality Assurance
    6. Nurturing a Customer-Centered Team
    7. Strategic Application of User and Staff Surveys
    8. Next Goal—All-Dimensional Experience
  15. Chapter 4. Customer Service in a 24/7 Environment: The Exeter Experience
    1. Abstract
    2. Background
    3. Why Rove?
    4. Initial Training and Mobilization
    5. Maintaining a Roving Culture
    6. Roving and Communication
    7. Recognition and Feedback
    8. Ongoing Challenges and Developments
  16. Chapter 5. Customer Service at Victoria University, St. Albans Campus Library
    1. Abstract
    2. Customer Service: What Does it Mean to Me?
    3. Organizational Structure
    4. VU Focus on Customer Service, Drivers, Etc.
    5. Library Structure
    6. Our Libraries
    7. Library Focus: What Does Customer Service Mean to Us as a Service
    8. St. Albans Campus Focus: What Does Customer Service Mean to Our Staff?
    9. How Do We Recruit for Customer Service?
    10. How Do We Train Staff?
    11. Student Mentors: Rovers, Student Assistants, Research Ambassadors, and Writing Space Mentors
    12. How Do We Know When We are Getting it Right?
    13. What Have We Learnt So Far?
    14. Future Considerations?
  17. Chapter 6. Innovations in User Services at Sabancı University Information Center
    1. Abstract
    2. About Sabancı University
    3. About the Information Center
    4. Introduction
    5. Rooms Booking System
    6. Nothing Endures But Change. (Heraclitus, 540 –480 BC) (Fechete 2014)
    7. Customer Satisfaction
    8. Improving Ideas Comes with Erasmus
    9. Standards
    10. Problems with the Reservation System
    11. Teamwork
    12. Finally
    13. Conclusion
  18. Chapter 7. Library Services for Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus: Listening to Our Customers in a Shared Services Environment
    1. Abstract
    2. Background and Context
    3. Library Structure
    4. Customer Care and Our Customers
    5. Customer Consultation and Feedback
    6. UCF LibQual Survey 2013
    7. Conclusion
  19. Chapter 8. Where Next for the “Front Line”?
    1. Abstract
  20. Bibliography
  21. Index