User perceptions of education students with special reference to the quality of service at Walter Sisulu University Library, Butterworth, South Africa.
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As academic libraries continue to serve as the heart of academic institutions they should focus on their users. This calls for a better understanding of the specific needs of different library users in order to meet their needs. The main objective of the study was to determine student library users’ expectations and perceptions of service quality provided by Walter Sisulu University Libraries (WSUL) on the Butterworth campus. In this study, a survey was used to determine the expectations and perceptions of undergraduate and postgraduate Education students to determine their satisfaction with the library services provided by Walter Sisulu University. The identification of the gaps in WSUL services and the assessment of results can improve the quality of service delivery. To fulfil a qualitative aspect the Library Manager responded to an interview schedule of questions which provided useful background information. The research method used for this study was the descriptive survey. A sample of 200 undergraduate and post graduate Education students were surveyed. An adapted LibQUAL+™ self-administered questionnaire was used for data gathering from these respondents. A total of 103 undergraduate students and 12 postgraduate students responded. The results are displayed in the form of tables. The study yielded a response rate of 58%. The findings of the study showed those services with which respondents were least satisfied with. These included: prompt inter-library loan from other libraries, prompt action regarding missing books, easily available access to electronic databases, sufficient space for group learning and group study, adequate photocopying facilities and an adequate number of computer work stations. Services which respondents were most satisfied with were: online searching without the help of a librarian, a safe and secure place to study, staff who have the knowledge to answer students’ questions, online searching with the help of a librarian, and the OPAC which is clear and has useful information. Based on the findings, certain recommendations were made to improve service quality and increase the level of user satisfaction at the WSUL on the Butterworth campus.