Postgraduate students’ perception of the library as an environment for reading, studying and researching at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus.
Kekana, Matsobane Daniel.
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The study investigated postgraduate students’ perceptions of the library as an environment for reading, studying and conducting research at the Cecil Renaud Main (CRM) library in the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal: Pietermaritzburg campus. This study examined the quality of service provided by the library, by determining postgraduate students’ perceptions and expectations and the gap between the two. It also investigated the level of satisfaction with the quality of service rendered to postgraduate students’. A sample of 8 postgraduate diploma, 65 honours, 47 masters and 49 PhD students in the School of Social Sciences were surveyed. The adapted LibQUAL+ questionnaire was self-administered for data collection from the respondents, and SERVQUAL model (Gap 5) determined the gap. A total of 7 (87.5%) postgraduate diploma, 48 (73.8%) honours, 27 (57.4%) masters and 23 (46.9%) PhD students responded, which generated an overall response rate of 105 (62.13%). The results were analyzed using SPSS24 to determine the frequency of responses. The results are displayed in the form of tables and figures. The results obtained from this study illustrate that there are gaps between users’ expectations and perceptions of service quality at the CRM library. The gaps are different depending on the individual services which were mentioned in each section of the questionnaire. The LibQUAL+ instrument is used in many libraries globally to assess and improve the services in the library and to restructure the organization and the marketing of the library. The questionnaire was adapted in previous studies, and also modified and simplified to identify the gaps found in this study. The findings of the survey that indicated the most problematic services were in sections involving Access to Information, Library Equipment, Library Staff and the Library as a Place. The individual services that had major gaps were adequate computer workstations, computers that work well, an efficient short loan service, a quiet library environment and the library not assisting students in staying abreast of developments in their academic field. Several understandings were gained from this study. It showed that the postgraduate students’ perceptions were low on certain library services and that they had high expectations for almost every service. The satisfaction level differed amongst the various user categories. The overall response of the postgraduate students indicated that they were satisfied with most of the services. The study recommends that service quality be improved, an aspect which would increase the students’ positive perceptions of the CRM Library at UKZN.
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