Librarians have traditionally followed a model of service based on a professional ethic. Attempts to introduce a retail model of service have generally met with staff resistance. The study aims to ask librarians about their attitudes to the retail and professional models of service and what they did not like about the retail model.
Data were drawn from focus groups consisting of experienced reference librarians.
Results suggest that librarians behave differently while front‐stage and backstage. They resist the retail model because it is perceived to replace service based upon knowledge with fake behaviour.
Managers can draw on the results when considering how best to improve the service provided by library staff who prefer the professional model of service over the retail model.
The use of Goffman's theory of dramaturgy has highlighted previously unknown attitudes to service held by reference librarians that will slow or stop the introduction of the retail model of service.
Cherry, J. and Calvert, P. (2012), "Library service as theatre: Using dramaturgy to investigate attitudes to the retail and professional models of service", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 64 No. 2, pp. 201-214. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012531211215213Download as .RIS
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