ATG Book of the Week: Personalising Library Services in Higher Education: The Boutique Approach

Title: Personalising Library Services in Higher Education: The Boutique Approach
Editors: Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley
Hardcover: $99.95 ISBN: 978-1-4094-3180-0
Other editions: ebook ePUB, ebook PDF
Imprint: Farnham, Surrey, England : Ashgate, 2012

“In an economic climate where cuts are becoming the norm, a boutique library service may seem a contradiction. In some academic libraries the trend is still towards centralisation programmes or offering generic services. However, the student as the customer now has an even greater vested interest in the learning process as their financial commitment increases and they are demanding better services. Personalised library services are tailored with a specific clientele in mind and will provide the enhanced service demanded by today’s students. These services need not cost more money; but they do require inventive and customer-facing staff. They celebrate and promote collaborative ventures along with excellent communication and marketing. This book unpacks the boutique model and is full of practical advice, supported by a unique set of case studies reflecting international practice including Australian, American and Russian and UK library services.

Contents: Preface; Introducing the boutique approach, Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley; Face-to-face value: personalised communication strategies, Andy Priestner; Library space and designing for a boutique library service in the USA, Beatrice Pulliam. Case Studies Section 1: Students as consultants: SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management, Helen Edwards; Research postcards at London School of Economics, Michelle Blake and Nicola Wright; Boutique at the Faculty of Education, Angela Cutts; Personal space for study: meeting real needs, Elizabeth Tilley; Library technologies for boutique services, Tim Wales; Maximising value, enhancing learning: boutique teaching and training, Chris Powis; Digital literacy support for researchers: the personalised approach, Jane Secker. Case Studies Section 2: Voice in the wilderness: personalised library services in a virtual environment, Margaret Westbury; Integrating information skills into the curriculum: the next step, Veronica Lawrence; Online outreach and tailored training: the English Faculty library at Oxford University, Kerry Webb; Boutique influences on structures and lifelong learning at Australian Catholic University, Tatum McPherson-Crowie. Marketing personalised services, Emma Thompson; The cost-effective service: is personalised possible?, Elizabeth Tilley; Evaluating the impact of the boutique library, David Streatfield; Implementing and managing boutique, Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley; Index.”

Reviews: ‘A really interesting and thought provoking read – this book is a must for all library staff, not just librarians or library managers. It provides some very useful case studies of practical examples on how to personalize library services. But it is not just about “boutique” library services. It provides food for thought on how any library service is conceived, managed and delivered. It highlights the mindset that is required to truly deliver user centric services. I have been providing library services for “a very long time” and undertaken applied research on “customer value discovery”, however, I picked up some gems from reading this book. I also liked the summaries of key points or tips at the end of each chapter’.
Sue McKnight, PhD. Director, Sue McKnight Consulting

This easy-to-read, practical book elaborates on Andy Priestner and Elizabeth Tilley’s “boutique library” model for personalizing academic library services and provides excellent examples, case studies and discussions of topics that may arise when contemplating new service models. I highly recommend it as a useful resource for library administrators as well as front-line librarians to challenge current services and practices and to reflect on the development of genuine user-centered services.’
Lynn Silipigni Connaway, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, OCLC Research, USA

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