Service as Theatre: The Customer Service Behaviour of Librarians in a Market Driven World
The purpose of this research is to explore the attitude of librarians to service. Previous studies showed that although many librarians identified service as their most important value, librarians were still perceived by many customers as unfriendly and unhelpful. Using Goffman's theory of dramaturgy the study looks at the relationship between the library service ethic and the market driven service ethic attributed to retail, and whether there is conflict between these two models, and if so what affect this is having on the attitudes and behaviour of librarians. This qualitative study uses focus groups to gather data. Focus group participants were all practicing librarians from the Wellington area. The research concludes that there is a conflict between the two service models which is directly affecting the attitude and thus the behaviour of librarians. The marketing model is perceived as a threat to the core functions of libraries because of its 'one size fits all' approach to service. Participants felt this model was a threat to genuine authentic service and personal autonomy.