Purpose – As libraries move their focus from print collections to digital resources residing in the “cloud”, the library‐user relationship has also changed dramatically. Power has clearly shifted from the library to the user and the dependence relationship has been inverted. The library‐user relationship is fundamental and defines what libraries are, and therefore their future. It is therefore important to think about how to ensure that users continue to use and value libraries. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the changing relationship between libraries and their users and to suggest critical factors to consider when designing and planning library services in order to sustain a viable library‐user relationship. Design/methodology/approach – The paper sets the context for discussing the importance of maintaining high levels of library use by considering key changes in the information environment and the behavior of users. It is argued that the abundant choices available to information users today cause them to make usage decisions that are not based only on the usefulness and quality of information resources and services, but more on expediency and other factors. Findings – It is not sufficient to provide useful, high quality and innovative library resources and services. The acid test for their success is whether they will be used frequently. Four factors are suggested – convenience, attention, awareness, and perception of value, that are likely to influence future use of libraries. Originality/value – The paper serves as a reminder for librarians to pay attention to the common sense factors when designing, planning, implementing and reviewing library facilities, resources and services.
Library Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 4, 2011
Keywords: Library users; Customer satisfaction; Individual behaviour; Information services
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