Adult users’ perceptions of library services provided by Nongoma Public Library, Kwazulu-Natal.
Buthelezi, Nombuso Portia.
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The study investigated adult users’ perceptions of the library services provided by the Nongoma Public Library (NPL) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). It examined the quality of service provided by the library to its adult library users, by determining their expectations and perceptions of the services provided and whether there were any gaps between users’ expectations and perceptions. It also investigated users’ level of satisfaction with the quality of services rendered. Since its inception in 1996 and despite its importance, no assessment of the NPL had been conducted from the perspective of its users. This study intended to fill this gap and it is assumed that the findings will form a baseline and framework for future services provided by the library. Using convenience sampling a sample of 262 adults was selected from the 819 registered adult library users. One hundred and thirteen (113) users completed the questionnaire giving a response rate of 43.1% which was considered acceptable for purposes of analysis and reporting. The study adopted a quantitative approach using the survey design. The LibQUAL+TM survey instrument which was used to collect data was modified and adapted for use in a public library. In line with the quantitative approach, the majority of the questions asked were closed. The results from the questionnaire survey were analysed using SPSS to determine the frequency of responses and were presented in the form of tables and figures. The results of the survey support the usefulness of the LibQUAL+TM instrument used in the study and its importance in the context of public library services. The findings indicate that in most instances, expectations exceeded perceptions regarding the quality of the services provided by the library. However, the gaps between the two were, for the most part, not significant and the extent of the gap depended on the individual services. Significant gaps were found in the categories “Library facility” and “Access to information”. Certain aspects of the category “Staff services” were found to be of concern. Findings revealed that the majority of adult users ranked the overall quality of services as good and that the library is, to a large extent, excelling in service provision. Based on the findings, recommendations were made to address the problems identified in the study. The results will be used for service improvements and to make informed decisions concerning the quality of services that are offered at the NPL. The thesis concluded with suggestions for further research. The findings of the survey that indicated that although the adult library users were satisfied with library services they received from Nongoma Public Library but there was a room for improvement. The respondents mentioned the most problematic services as the lack of adequate computers and access to Internet. The respondents further reported that there were gaps in sections involving Access to Information, Access to Electronic Resources, Library Staff and the Library facility. The study recommends that service quality be improved, in a way that the library would satisfy its adult user.