Quality and value of library services from a user’s perspective: the case of the National and University Library in Ljubljana
The National and University Library of Slovenia performs the tasks of a national library, a university library, a central state library, and develops the Digital Library of Slovenia. Due to its different roles and functions, beside classical library users, the library’s customers also include publishers, other libraries, and organizations in the fields of culture and science and State bodies responsible for libraries. When planning activities and providing services, the library must therefore monitor the needs, expectations and satisfaction of diverse customer groups, and use a variety of assessment methods and tools in the process of library performance evaluation. In this article we will focus on the evaluation results of the quality and value of the library in terms of its active or potential users. The latest user survey was carried out in autumn 2013, and involved 901 respondents. In comparison with the results of previous studies, we can see that respondents mostly visit the library for the use of its study premises. Their use of electronic information resources and the tools for their detection is still poor. Only a few borrow e-books, more than half of the respondents have not yet used the free wireless network. Only a small proportion of respondents are dissatisfied with the resources and services of the library, and on average, the respondents express a high level of satisfaction with the library staff. The share of those, who value the library as publicly well-recognized, an open, friendly and trusted institution, has increased in comparison with the results of previous research. The same can be said for those, who highly value the impact of the library on the quality and efficiency of their work and study. The contribution of library activities to the development of Slovenian science and culture is identified by 83% of respondents, while 60% of respondents identified its contribution to the socio-economic development of the country. We were also interested to determine what value the library and its services represent in financial terms to the respondents. An average minimum repayment per annum, in return for agreement to the closure of the library, was 1,392€. The unavailability of library services would greatly impact the study and work of 63% of respondents, while only 5% indicated they would not be affected. If materials and services, offered by the library, would have to be obtained elsewhere, it would lead to 708€ of additional costs on average yearly. In case of cessation of budgetary funding of the library, 35% of respondents would be prepared to financially support it, with an average annual contribution of 24€.