Original Research

The gap between user perceptions and expectations of students at the main library of the University of KwaZulu-Natal: Pietermaritzburg Campus

Matsobane D. Kekana, Siyanda E. Kheswa
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1195 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1195 | © 2020 Matsobane D. Kekana, Siyanda E. Kheswa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 February 2020 | Published: 09 July 2020

About the author(s)

Matsobane D. Kekana, Department of Information Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, South Africa
Siyanda E. Kheswa, Department of Information Studies, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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Background: An academic library is defined as the heart of a university, providing a venue for students, lecturers and researchers to advance their knowledge and conduct their research. These institutions should provide learning opportunities for all who choose to use them. The materials in the library are for anyone to use, which is why university libraries are important. This study investigated the gap between postgraduate students’ perception and expectations of the main academic library (Cecil Renaud) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal: Pietermaritzburg campus.

Objectives: This study’s objective was to determine the gap between the existence of users’ expectations and perceptions of the quality service.

Method: This study employed the quantitative research method, with a survey research design. The study population included postgraduate students in the School of Social Sciences, College of Humanities, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal: Pietermaritzburg campus.

Results: The services that have a relatively big gap in agreement between expectations and perceptions are: computers that work well, adequate number of computer workstations and an efficient short loan service, and the library helping the user to stay abreast of developments in their field of interest. On the other hand, services that have a small gap are: a library environment that has sufficient lighting; and staff willing to help, who understand the library service need and who are sufficiently knowledgeable.

Conclusion: The study found that there was a gap in almost all the services provided by the Cecil Renaud Main library. For example, with the comprehensive collection, there were not adequate print journals and books. In relation to access to information, the major gaps were re-shelving of journals, missing books and journals, and an inefficient short loan and interlibrary loan service.


service quality; user perceptions; user expectations; postgraduate students; University of KwaZulu-Natal.


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