Repository logo

Students’ expectations and perceptions of the services provided by the Law Library, Pietermaritzburg Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The study aimed to investigate final (4th) year law students’ expectations and perceptions as well as satisfaction with the services provided by the Law Library on the Pietermaritzburg (PMB) campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). A law library can be seen as the “heart” of a law faculty in a university and it is imperative that the services provided by the library are constantly evaluated to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the students. The study was underpinned by the SERVQUAL model developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry (1985). The model is based on the idea of user-centred assessment and identifies five potential gaps between expectations and perceptions of service delivery. Gap 5 was the focus of this study which is the gap between the expected service offered to clients by an organisation and the perceived service delivered. In line with SERVQUAL use was made of the LibQUAL questionnaire the validity and reliability of which has been well established in the academic library context. LibQUAL-based studies done in academic libraries in South Africa were reviewed as well as a selection of LibQUAL studies done internationally (including Africa). The study adopted a largely quantitative approach and all 174 final-year law students registered on the PMB campus in the first semester of 2021 were surveyed using an online questionnaire made available via Google Forms. Thus, no sampling was done and 103 students completed the questionnaire giving a response rate of 59.2%, which was considered “good” and thus adequate for analysis and reporting of results. As to be expected and in line with the literature, expectations of library services in all instances exceeded perceptions of those services and there were thus gaps between the two. However, the size of the gaps between the different services varied. The most problematic services were “Staff who instil confidence in users”, “Staff who are consistently courteous”, “Easy-to-use access tools that allow me to find things on my own”, “Staff who give users individual attention”, and the library “Helps me distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy information”. In terms of satisfaction with library services, while a majority of respondents were satisfied with how they were treated in the library and with the overall quality of the services provided these were small majorities. Finally, slightly less than half of the respondents were satisfied with the library’s support for their legal studies. Recommendations stemming from the significant findings and conclusions and directed at library management were made and suggestions for further research were given.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.