Effective service quality assessment
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Academic and public libraries are continuing to transform as the information landscape changes, expanding their missions into new service roles that call for improved organizational performance and accountability. Since “Assessing Service Quality” premiered in 1998, receiving the prestigious Highsmith Library Literature Award, scores of library managers and administrators have trusted its guidance for applying a customer-centered approach to service quality and performance evaluation. In the new, extensively revised and updated edition, published by ALA Editions, Peter Hernon, Ellen Altman, and Robert E. Dugan explore even further the ways technology influences both the experiences of library customers and the ways libraries themselves can assess those experiences. With a clear focus on real-world application, the authors:
- challenge conventional thinking about the utility of input, output and performance metrics by suggesting new ways to think about the evaluation and assessment of library services;
- explain service quality and customer satisfaction, and demonstrate how they are separate but intertwined;
- identify procedures for qualitatively and quantitatively measuring both service quality and satisfaction;
- encourage libraries to take action by presenting concrete steps they can take to become more customer-centric;
- offer a range of customer-related metrics that provide insights useful for library planning and decision making, such as surveys and focus groups.
Hernon is a professor emeritus at Simmons College, Boston, and was the principal (and founding) faculty member for the doctoral program, Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions. He was the 2008 recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ award for Academic/Research Librarian of the Year, and is currently coeditor of Library & Information Science Research. His many books include the recent ALA Editions titles “Managing with Data: Using ACRLMetrics and PLAmetrics” and “Getting Started with Evaluation.”
Altman, now retired, was visiting professor in the Department of Library and Information Studies, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). Formerly the feature editor of Public Libraries, she was also coeditor of “The JAL Guide to the Professional Literature” in the Journal of Academic Librarianship, a member of the editorial board of Library Quarterly, and a co-author of “Performance Measures for Public Libraries.” She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Rutgers School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, in 1983.
Dugan is the dean of libraries at the University of West Florida (Pensacola). Previously he had been at Suffolk University, Boston; Wesley College, Dover, Delaware; and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., as well as numerous state and public libraries. He is the co-author of more than a dozen books, including the award-winning “Viewing Library Metrics from Different Perspectives”.
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