User perceptions of service quality and the level of user satisfaction at the Mangosuthu University of technology library, Umlazi, Durban.
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This study examined the quality of service provided by the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Library from the perspective of the users of the library. It determined the gaps between users’ expectations and perceptions of service quality and it indicated the level of user satisfaction at the library. The identification of the gaps in the library services and the assessment results can improve service delivery. The intention of the study was to measure the users’ perceptions of the quality of the collections, personal services and facilities. The results will be used for service improvements and to make informed decisions concerning the quality of service that is offered at the MUT Library. The LibQUAL+™ instrument is being used by many libraries all over the world and is currently being used in South African libraries too. It helps librarians assess and improve library services, change organisational structure and market the library. The questionnaire is used to measure the gap between customer expectations for excellence and their perceptions of the actual services delivered by the library. The LibQUAL+™ instrument in this study was modified and simplified to identify these gaps. The instrument consisted of both open-ended and closed questions although the latter predominated. The three dimensions of service quality, that is, access to information, staff service and library facilities formed the core of the instrument. The research method used for this study was the descriptive survey. The population of the study consisted of both undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as academic and administrative staff. All faculties were represented. The stratified proportional sampling method was used and a sample of 1823 respondents were surveyed. Results were analysed using SPSS to determine the frequency of responses. The results are displayed using tables and graphs. The study yielded a return rate of 70.8% for students and 52.9% return rate for staff. An overall response rate of 69.5% was sufficient for data analysis. The results from this study indicate that there is definitely a huge gap between users’ expectations and perceptions of service quality at MUT Library. The extent of the gap varies depending on the individual services. All user categories had higher expectations than perceptions for most library services. The users’ expectations were not in keeping with their actual experiences at the library. Further, the findings of the survey indicated that the most problematic to users were library space, library facilities (for example, printing, photocopying and Internet access) and the inadequate and outdated book collection. Several insights gained from this study showed that users’ expectations were not met and many users had low perceptions of certain library services. The level of satisfaction varied among the different user categories. The staff affirmed that the overall quality of services were good while the majority of students affirmed that their satisfaction with the overall quality of library services was poor. Based on the findings, recommendations are presented to improve service quality and increase the level of user satisfaction at the MUT Library.
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