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Exploiting the social style of patrons to improve their satisfaction with the reference interview

Peggy Sisselman (Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 27 February 2009

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2131

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discover whether the social styles of patrons affects their perception (and librarians’ perception) of the quality of the reference interview. Also, whether learning to assess social styles of patrons improves perception of the quality of the reference interview.

Design/methodology/approach

The researcher observed 24 reference interviews, assessed the social style of each patron using a checklist of behavioral characteristics; both patrons and librarians confidentially filled out a survey to assess the outcome of the reference interview.

Findings

It appears that the social style of patrons has some effect on how both librarians and patrons perceive the outcome of the reference interview. There also appears to be a correlation between the librarians’ awareness of the social styles of people and the outcome of the reference interview.

Practical implications

Literature has not provided any data on how social style theory on the four social styles (analytical, expressive, driver, amiable) could be used to improve the reference interview.

Originality/value

Social style theory has been explored in academic settings and in the areas of marketing and sales, but not yet in public libraries.

Keywords

Citation

Sisselman, P. (2009), "Exploiting the social style of patrons to improve their satisfaction with the reference interview", Library Review, Vol. 58 No. 2, pp. 124-133. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242530910936943

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited