PurposeIn 2014, the RLUK Consortium (Research Libraries UK) developed a shared set of customer-focused Service Standards to be adopted and used by all University Library members. This was the first time that such an approach had been taken across Research Libraries in the UK. The driver for this initiative was to enable the libraries to develop more comprehensive, shared quality indicators which would enable them to demonstrate their value, especially in times of austerity when budgets might be under threat. The paper will set out the approach taken to the development of shared Service Standards and ensuring the engagement and buy-in of the RLUK membership. Design/methodology/approachThe Service Standards initiative was conceived and developed as a strategic RLUK project, as part of the strategy on ‘collaboration to reduce costs and improve quality’. Initially it was considered that a collaborative approach to developing quality and performance indicators and service standards would reduce duplication of effort across members and save staff time in establishing mechanisms for collection of performance data. In addition it was agreed that there would be potential for a shared set of measures or standards to be used for benchmarking purposes and to enable libraries to demonstrate their value to their institutions. FindingsThe initiative established 8 customer-facing Service Standards which were agreed as being applicable to all of the University Library members of RLUK. These include a range of quality indicators focused on services rated as important to our largest customer group – undergraduate students. The Service Standards include measures on areas such as shelving turn-around, time taken to obtain materials on reading lists, opening hours, information literacy teaching and inter-library loans. In addition, the UK National Student Survey data is included on satisfaction rates for library services, with a benchmark target set at 90%.Originality/valueNotwithstanding the SCONUL Annual Statistics exercise, this is the first time in the UK that a collaborative approach to the development of Service Standards has been attempted for a group of research libraries. The initiative also demonstrates the increased commitment amongst research libraries to the fundamental principles surrounding excellent customer service – in particular the need to demonstrate service quality and proactively identify gaps in services so that these can be addressed, and services can be improved on a continual basis.
Performance Measurement and Metrics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 11, 2016