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A Study of College Students' Preference for Servicescape of Academic Libraries
With the passage of time, library services and architecture change from collection-centered to user-centered. While technology greatly changes users’ channels of acquiring and preferences of using information, users consistently demand the physical library space, even with the decline of the usage rates. Related research indicated that in addition to the services and collections, the design and ambiance of the servicescape will also affect the user intent and attitude toward libraries physical space. With this regard, this study aims to understand from the users’ perspective of the way that servicescape and ambiance should be designed. This study used “Photo-Elicitation” as its data collection method, which utilized the photographs taken by respondents as a tool for in-depth interview. Photo-Elicitation is believed to have the ability to narrow the gap between the respondents and the researchers, while helping to embody the abstract concepts. It is hoped that by adopting this method, respondents can be guided to clearly describe their preference of servicescape in academic library setting. Nine college students were interviewed and a total of 213 photographs were solicited and used as data source. This study confirms that college students are more sensitive to the visual aspect of servicescape design. The functional aspect of the servicescape is most valued, while the aesthetic aspect creates better service experience. Customer service attitude and library’s management approach are two critical factors that college students valued most regarding the aspect of social interaction. In addition to exploring college students’ preference of servicescape, this study also attempts to construct a framework that serves as guidance for designing and evaluating servicescape in academic libraries.
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