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Embracing customer service in libraries

Hong Miao (Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA)
Mia Wang Bassham (Luzerne County Community College, Nanicoke, Pennsylvania, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 9 January 2007




The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of customer service and outline the practices and conditions required to provide excellent customer service in libraries.


The concept of service being at the core of the library profession and the role of libraries to lifelong learning are reiterated to emphasize the importance of quality customer service in libraries. The three‐dimension approach to service management is introduced with practical advice on how this approach is applied to libraries. A customer service self‐assessment is provided for libraries to evaluate how well they serve their customers and identify potential areas for improvement in regards to customer service.


The paper presents ways to establish an effective customer service plan in libraries and provides examples and models for better customer service initiatives.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that while the three dimensions of the “Service Triangle” and the implications for libraries are discussed, the interplays between all the dimensions need to be further explored.

Practical implications

The paper provides a practical guide and a useful source of information for libraries planning to set up customer service programs or to improve their customer service efforts.


This paper reviews the concept of customer service from the corporate world and discusses its implications and applications for libraries.



Miao, H. and Wang Bassham, M. (2007), "Embracing customer service in libraries", Library Management, Vol. 28 No. 1/2, pp. 53-61.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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