A performance evaluation of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries (PCTL) in order to determine whether it meets the demands of its users.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries, a network of theological libraries in an around Pietermaritzburg. The Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries is an association of the libraries of the Evangelical Bible Seminary of Southern Africa, St. Joseph's Theological Institute, the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, the Evangelical House of Studies, Anglican House of Studies and the Las Casa Dominican Community. The library network is a component of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Institutions (PCTI). An analysis of literature related to resource sharing between libraries and the evaluation of information services was conducted. The performance of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries was evaluated primarily from the viewpoint of the users of the network. The research problem addressed in the study was: "Does the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries meet its objectives and satisfies the needs of its users?". The research problem was broken down into three subproblems, namely: 1. Awareness of the target population of the existence of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries. 2. How much use is made of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries? 3. Overall performance of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries in meeting objectives. Site visits, document review, transaction records, questionnaire survey and interviews were used for data collection. A questionnaire, accompanied by a cover letter, was the main tool used in data collection. The questionnaire was administered to the primary targets, the theological students from the various institutions, to obtain data related to their awareness and understanding of the Pietermaritzburg Cluster of Theological Libraries (PCTL), whether they use the facility and the reasons for use of non-use, as well as the overall perception of and attitude towards the service by the users. Interviews were conducted with staff members from the various institutions to determine their usage of the library network. Major findings of the questionnaire survey were: a high awareness of the PCTL among the respondents, the majority of the lending were by the users from the University of Natal; the main reason for non-use of the network was that the home library is sufficient; majority of the respondents were satisfied with the regularity of the service, found the lending polices satisfactory or good and requested material usually or most often available; the service was generally seen as an advantage by the respondents because they have access to more materials; the long waiting period and the process of acquiring material were identified as problems; and a user education programme, interavailability of borrower cards and streamlining the process were suggested by the respondents. The transaction records reflected that the users of the University of Natal use the service most heavily. Of the requests submitted by the University of Natal, 40,32 % was for national interlending via SABINET. The delivery rate of the network is 86,58 %. It was determined that the users, although they have complaints about the network, are satisfied with the network and view it as an asset. The study proposed a combined user education on the activities of the library network, the inter-availability of tickets and/or a more regular service and improved access to the online union catalogue at St. Joseph's Theological Institute and the Evangelical Bible Seminary of Southern Africa.