What Are the Opinions of New Zealand Public Library Staff on Ebooks?
RESEARCH OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to discover the opinions of New Zealand public library staff on ebooks. While there are studies on opinions on ebooks, there is less emphasis on public library staff. Ebooks are becoming more and more popular and how libraries implement them will impact on the future of libraries. The aim of this study was to discover what library staff liked and disliked about ebooks and how they feel about ebooks in public libraries. METHODOLOGY: Invitations to participate in a survey about ebooks were posted on two email discussion lists, PUBSIG, for New Zealand public library staff, and NZ-Libs, for New Zealand library staff. Additionally, an invitation was emailed to all staff members of Wellington City Libraries. Data were collected using an online survey consisting mainly of Likert-type statements that respondents indicate their level of agreement to. These statements were adapted from previous studies done on ebooks. Respondents were not required to answer every question. RESULTS: There were 202 responses. 63% (127) of New Zealand public library staff surveyed have read at least one ebook in the past year. 93% (188) Agree or Strongly Agree with the statement that it is important for public libraries to offer ebooks. 57% (105) Agree or Strongly Agree with the statement “I enjoy helping patrons with technical questions about ebooks or ereaders”. Respondents think that the portability of ebooks and the ability to customise ebooks is useful. Most library staff surveyed think the increasing popularity of ebooks is good for libraries. The median response to “My library has a great stock of ebooks” was Neither Agree nor Disagree, with the majority of respondents agreeing that ebook licensing terms restricts the stock of ebooks available at their library. IMPLICATIONS: Library staff think that offering ebooks is important for libraries. However, libraries implementing ebooks need to ensure staff are ready to help patrons with ebooks. Ebook licensing terms are perceived as restricting libraries’ ebook stock, for libraries to be successful at offering ebooks the licensing situation may need to change.