Since 1993, at the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan, sociological services, which are engaged in the study of clients of the library as consumers of information, have been in operation. The study of personnel resources at the library has been carried out by the use of sociological research and sociological questionnaires given to readers and librarians.
As of today, there have been three large-scale research projects completed: "Organization of Services for Readers of the National Library: 1993 - 1999," "Library Trade and the Librarian: 1995 - 1998," "Services for Users of the National Library of Tatarstan Concerning Documents of Culture and Art: 2000 - 2001."
The purpose of the research study, "Organization of Services for Readers of the National Library: 1993 - 1999," was to define real and potential opportunities for the library to satisfy the inquiries of users. The research mentions practically all aspects of the activity of the library: the condition of its collection, the management of work, material support, the aesthetic quality of its interior, and the relationship between readers and librarians. Within a total of three investigative phases, 1,845 clients of the library were questioned. The comparative analysis of all of the stages of the study has made possible the tracking of the dynamics of the results and to reveal outlining tendencies therein. One of the achievements of the process is the resultant feedback about the work of library and its tendency to become more positive over time. If at the first investigative phase only 11.9% of the questioned readers say that for the last few years the library has begun to work better, at the second stage 16.1% will say so, and at the third stage 22% of the readers will note improvements in the productivity of the library.
As the number of users completely satisfied with the collection of the library have increased (from 20.5% in 1993 up to 33.5% in 1998), the number of those whom are satisfied only in part or not at all by the collection of the library has decreased. More users have become satisfied with the speed of service in the reading rooms and the number of remarks concerning imperfect materials, etc, has decreased.
Questions about the organization of services for readers and "The Comfort of the Library Environment (1996)" were brought up during the research.
Continuing in the same direction, the sociological research study, "Services for Users of the National Library of Tatarstan Concerning Documents of Culture and Art: 2000 - 2001," was conducted. This research has a more concrete and local character. Its purpose is the perfection of services to clients of the NLRT concerning documents about culture and art.
Divisions of the library engaged primarily in customer service at the NLRT were involved in the research. Involved were the Department of Arts, the Department of Tatar and Local Lore Literature, and the Services for Information Concerning Culture and Art of the Information-Bibliographic Department. The object of the research was the study of those who read documents about culture and art at the NLRT. The subject was a complex system of services for readers of documents of the given subjects under the conditions provided by the National Library of Tatarstan.
During the research the reasons why this contingent of readers needed documents and references concerning culture and art were established. The information needs of readers and any reasons for refusal were investigated. The degree of satisfaction for readers using services concerning documents of culture and art in each of the divisions of the library participating in the research was determined. The degree of interaction amongst themselves was also revealed. The influence of new information technology on the quality of customer service was tracked. Ways of perfecting service related to documents of culture and art in the NLRT were devised.
In the NLRT sociological research study, "Services to Readers of Materials Related to Tatar and Local Lore Literature in the National Library of Tatarstan" (2002), research is devoted to the further study of questions about the organization of services. The structural divisions of the library mainly engaged in service to users of materials related to Tatar and Local Lore Literature in the NLRT took part in the research. The Department of Tatar and Local Lore Literature, a department of rare books and manuscripts, was involved in the study. Study of the role and place of customer service in each of the divisions was planned during the research. Special attention was given to the activity of the Department of Tatar and Local Lore Literature. This created changes in the work of the department including a full reconstruction in 1997 and the opening of the subscription service for Tatar books in 1999. Prospective results of the research are further perfection of library services to readers of Tatar and local lore literature at the NLRT.
The interests and wishes of readers revealed during the above-named research studies, in many respects, define a policy of management for the library and new directions for its work. Development of the library environment is realized by obtaining constant feedback from clients of the library.
To access customer feedback, it is possible to refer to the responses of clients about the work of the library in The Book of Comments and Suggestions and also by referring to the various letters of thanks and diplomas which have arrived at the address of the library. In connection to its sociological services, the NLRT analyzes records in The Book of Comments and Suggestions, the guest book on the NLRT internet website, and also any letters of thanks or diplomas received by the library within a certain time frame.
A sociological research study called, "Library Trade and the Librarian: 1995 - 1998," is devoted to the study and perfection of the personnel potential of the library.
At the first investigative phase (1995 - 1996) problems concerning the professional adaptation of employees at the National Library of Tatarstan were studied. The professional adaptation of experts was studied using information about their formation, age and work experience. The basic factors preventing efficient adaptation of experts who work within the library were determined.
During the second stage (1996 - 1997) the opinions of employees of the library were studied concerning questions about the improvement of professional skills and the opportunity to create within the NLRT an optimum system to improve professional skills.
The third investigation phase (1997 - 1998) tracked the dynamics of the answers to questions asked at the previous stage. An analysis was formed of the NLRT system dedicated to the improvement of professional skills and prospects of its further improvement were developed. The material collected during the research represents items of theoretical and scientific interest as it brings a certain contribution to the study of personnel resources, not only for one library, but also as a general strategy for and understanding of the general tendencies of all the libraries of the country. This research has a practical value because it allows management to use the data already received when planning and preparing and conducting action concerning the improvement of professional skills at the NLRT. During the research the personnel potential of the library is assessed and strategies and means for its perfection are planned so that the basic purpose of the research is achieved. The sociological research study called, "Reading of Employees of the National Library of Tatarstan (2003 - 2004)," was used to study the personnel potential of the library.
Originally focused on the management of activities at the National Library, the sociological service of the NLRT gradually expanded to the study of its work. On the premise of studying operational experiences in the CLS, studies of sociological activity in the libraries of the republic were created. A card file called, "Sociology in the Libraries of Tatarstan" was created, but a computer database of the information is also being created. Results of the research are revealed in the library press and at various seminars and meetings concerning the republic.
Since 1997, sociological services at the NLRT have been actively engaged in the study of republic press items at the National Library and in other libraries of Tatarstan. During annual sociological studies concerning the theme, "Rating the Press of Tatarstan," clients of the libraries of the Republic of Tatarstan that read periodicals are involved in a comparative analysis of reader's interests within specific cities and as a whole with their countrymen. In this way, the dynamics of the popularity of certain editions is traced. This research motivates the activation of several processes that create services in libraries of the republic to be developed for their customers. Results of the studies are brought forward for discussion for the press members of the republic.
From 1998 to 1999 the sociological study, "Interlibrary Services Provided: Interaction Between the National Library of Tatarstan and the Republic CLS," was conducted to study the interlibrary subscription in the republic within modern conditions and to define prospects for its development.
With the results of research, it is possible to see that a major factor constraining development of interlibrary services in the republic, as well as a whole across Russia, is the insufficient financing of libraries. The deterioration of funds relegated to the libraries steadily results in a restriction of the opportunities of libraries to satisfy the escalating needs of its readers. There is a strong need for interlibrary services, but insufficient funding results in a less efficient system of communication between the libraries. This prevents many opportunities to exchange documents from taking place. A shortage of funds leads to a decrease in the quality of service, an increase in the number of refusals, has a negative effect on the efficiency of the work of the library, and hinders the process of the introduction of new technologies to the CLS. Despite all the problems and existing difficulties, the CLS system in the republic is still required and represents the future. All participants of the studies unanimously see the interlibrary subscription service as a necessary tool for access to a wider variety of literature.
Except for large research projects and sociological studies in the NLRT, smaller questionnaires given in the form of quick questions and local studies of applied research are completed. They have the specific goal of putting into practice operations based on their results. As an example, it is possible to define the purpose of the study "Safety and Security of the Library Collection of the NLRT: 2000" as a tool for managing departments and leading experts of the National Library. The results of the study are based on the work of the commission for the security of the library collection who are engaged in the development of programs for the maintenance of security for the collection of the NLRT.
In the same way, it is possible to define the purpose of the study of readers of the Department of Literature in Foreign Languages of the National Library, called "Studying the Demand for Periodicals in the Department of Literature in Foreign Languages: 2001," as a tool to improve acquisition of periodicals for the library collection.
Participation of the NLRT in the study, "Information Needs of the Youth: Modern Conditions and Ways of Reaching Levels of Satisfaction", completed by Kazan State University Department of Culture and Art, together with the Republic Center of Information for Youth, has served as a starting point for drawing up a summary list called, Services of the National Library of Tatarstan" (2002 - 2003). The work attempts to classify services of the library according to modern theories in library science and practice. Its purpose is to maximize the amount of reflection on all kinds of activity of the National Library concerning the satisfaction of inquiries made by clients.
Thus, sociological service at the NLRT is engaged in scientific research in the field of library sociology, carrying out basic directions of work, promoting the perfection of activity and perspectives on the further development of the National Library of Tatarstan. Therefore, the above-stated direction of work concerning sociological services for the NLRT will be continued into the future.
Last updated: Mar, 17, 2015, 11:07