Affective relationships between
users & libraries in times of
Angeliki Giannopoulou & Giannis Tsakonas
Library & Information Center, University of Patras, Greece
10th Northumbria International Conference on
Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services
Aim & scope of research
• The aim of this study is to identify the critical parameters that
govern the affective relationships between academic libraries
• The context of these parameters is an asphyxiating one:
• the Greek academic libraries context in the era of austere
• We use the S.O.R. (Stimulus / Organism / Response)
framework to identify these parameters and their perceived
• It is probably the first time S.O.R. has been implemented in
the Greek academic libraries.
Background - Library assessment views
• Library assessment is considered the set of processes through
which someone assigns value to a given unit on a given time
• Ideally, we want this to be standardized, iterative and
• Inevitably, this leads to system-centered or system-generated
statistics, whereas user-centered are prone to context
dependence (increased subjectivity).
Background - Nation-wide efforts in Greece
• There are few nation-wide systematic surveys; mainly
between formal bodies.
• The Total Quality Management Unit (MOPAB) is the body
that annually collects academic libraries’ statistics. MOPAB
focuses on collections growth, personnel figures, usage,
book price rates, etc.
• The Hellenic Statistical Authority biannually collects data on
the same areas.
• Otherwise, there have been recorded many scarce user
surveys, but with limited coverage and effect.
• The challenge was to develop a valid methodology to survey
users on a national level.
Exploring affective relationships
• Much of the work in library evaluation has been focused on
user satisfaction and preferences. Yet, not much on ‘feelings’.
• Feelings, the emotional states which someone experiences,
can shape the user experience in the library.
• Implicitly they form affective relationships that are altered in
times of stress.
• Users work in difficult conditions; seeking for security,
understanding, comfort, warmness, etc.
• State organizations are shielding vulnerable classes of users.
However they are also approached with ‘prejudice’.
• Users want motivational spaces; seeking for confidence,
excitement, willingness, etc.
Research setting - Sample & instrument
• 950 registered users of
academic libraries (target:
• Quota sampling
• Period: April - July 2012
• Questionnaire of total 210
• five (5) scale Likert,
together with dichotomous
• Pilot: 30 users of LIC,
Cronbach α >0.7
Library Population Questionnaires
ASFA 1.600 6
AUTH 41.930 165
Agricultural U. 4.229 17
Demokriteio 12.390 49
International Hellenic 470 2
Uo Athens 11.169 44
NTUA 15.149 60
Ionion U. 5.433 21
Economic & Business 12.903 51
Aegean U. 9.943 39
Uo Western Macedonia 3.000 12
Uo Thessaly 20.677 31
Uo Ioannina 12.699 50
Uo Crete 16.237 65
Uo Macedonia 10.797 42
Uo Patras 25.033 99
Uo Peiraeus 22.808 90
Uo Central Greece 312 2
Panteion U. 18.014 71
Crete Polytechnic U. 6.958 27
Harokopeion U. 1.734 7
TOTAL 253.485 950
Research setting - The S.O.R. framework
• The Stimulus / Organism / Response framework is a model for
exploring customer behavior. It has been widely used in
retail/online market, business management, tourism, etc.
• The model empowers the ‘customer’ to act as an catalyst that
processes environmental stimuli to effects, emotional and/or
• The model has been also used for predictive purposes, taking
benefit of the sequential characteristics.
• In this setting, S.O.R. has been used for exploratory purposes;
to model and interpret the critical variables that shape the
affective relationships between users and libraries.
Research setting - The S.O.R. framework
> emotions <
Discussion – Methodological key points
• Factor analysis confirmed the four groupings of cues.
• No significant differences were found between the various
status categories with the exception of Safety. In academic
years, differences were found to be statistically significant for
Safety, Willingness and Confidence.
• Homogeneity of variations were found mostly insignificant.
• The age and the emotions have a weakly positive correlation,
while the correlation of the year of study and the emotions is a
weakly negative one.
• Stimuli cues have weakly positive correlation with all
emotions & Response correlates strongly with emotions. User
satisfaction correlates with their feelings while visiting the
• Our study’s impetus was internal; we argue that such topics
are difficult to be treated by external bodies.
• The users seem to prefer features that have immediate effect
to their daily interaction.
• An ideal service? A fathoming environment that facilitates
reading and cooperation with friendly and willing personnel
and affordable fees and fine rates.
Discussion - Work to be done
• The study highlighted the features that shape an affective
relationship between the users and the library.
• It remains to explore:
• If and how they interact together.
• If they are drivers to social or systemic interactions.
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