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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS059041)

Author
ISHIHARA,Mari
Titile
Evaluation of Quality of Reference Services in Public Libraries
Issue
No.59, p.41-67
Issue date
2008-07-15
Resume

Purpose: There are currently no effective methods for evaluating the quality of reference services despite the knowledge that reference services need to be evaluated for both quantity and quality. This paper proposes a method for evaluating the quality of reference services provided by public libraries.

Methods: Since there are no effective evaluation methods in the field of library and information science, studies of service quality in other areas, including social welfare, medicine, and education, were reviewed to identify potential methods. As a result of the reviews, two common factors were found. One is that most of the evaluation methods have a hierarchical structure. These methods consist of classifying several questionnaire items into categories, or “dimensions”. The other common point is that most of the methods involve questionnaires being answered by customers, service providers, and third parties. Based on these two findings, it is proposed that a questionnaire can be used as an evaluation method for measuring quality of reference services.

Results: An evaluation tool for measuring quality of reference services was developed by referring to evaluation methods in other service areas. First, a focus group interview was conducted to select questionnaire items. The questionnaire, including the selected items, was then given to librarians. The “dimensions” and their related items were identified by factor analysis using the responses from the questionnaire. The measurement tool for evaluating the quality of reference services was developed using the dimensions combined with the questionnaire items.

This paper can be the first step towards further studies on the evaluation of the quality of reference services which has not been discussed to date.

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