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Dissertation Information for Mary Jo Lynch

NAME:
- Mary Jo Lynch

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Rutgers University (USA) (1977)

ADVISORS:
- Ralph Blasingame

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Tom Childers
- Ernest Deprospo
- Richard W. Budd

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: REFERENCE INTERVIEWS IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Abstract: The investigation had two major objectives: 1) to explore the concept of service orientation, and 2) to develop a methodology for measuring the concept. Service orientation has been considered an important professional ideology for the field, but has never been defined sufficiently nor measured adequately. Three definitions of service orientation taken from the literature of the sociology of professions and the library field were presented as ideal types to be tested: the Traditional-Professional Type, the Semiprofessional Type, and the Open-systems Type. A set of items was developed from these ideal type definitions which formed the bases for a Q-sorts instrument.

Perceptions on service orientation were measured for three subsets of the library and information field: 99 library school students, 100 practitioners, and 90 library leaders (leaders of the American library Association) for a total sample of 203 participants. The degree of consensus between the three subsets and within each subset was determined through the use of Q - methodology involving a Q-sorts ranking instrument, correlations between persons' rankings, and factor analysis of the correlations. The importance of service orientation as a work value was assessed through an adapted form of the Rosenberg Work Values Instrument. Possible related demographic and attitudinal variables were explored through a short questionnaire.

The results indicated that service is an important work value common to the three subsets. Leaders and practitioners especially valued to the altruistic meaning of service (contributing to society) while all three groups valued the more general meaning (opportunity to be helpful to others). The findings determined that not one but several patterns of service do exist in the field as illustrated by the three factor types created: Open-Systems, People-Oriented, and a mixed types (both Traditional-Professional and Open-Systems types.

Most importantly, the general consensus on service orientation was found to be greater than anticipated. The three separate analyses of the sample groups indicated a one factor solution, with a total of fifty-four consensus items, the total number of items. A three factor solution resulted from the combined groups analysis with a total of thirty-seven consensus items including an awareness of the importance: of interpersonal and communication skills; of the process of bringing information, books and people together; of helping people; of the accuracy of information given to patrons; of the liaison role of libraries; and of planning services based on the total community.

Sufficient consensus items have been found to form the "common core" of a definition of service. The consensus items came from two of the posited ideal types: the ideal Semiprofessional Type and the ideal Open-System type.

A test of the theoretical, ideal types was undertaken by submitted an inverted Q - Sorts data matrix to a factor analysis. The ideal types were shown to be multi-dimensional when tested with empirical data.

The results of the current study indicate a positive perception of service on the part of the sample group they further support the critics of the professional model of service as being inappropriate for the library field. The ideal type, the Open-Systems Type , most closely matches the perceptions of the field; this could have important implications for library education and continuing education. The open-systems, service-oriented person, needs new knowledge and expertise outside of current course offerings. The past stereotypes of librarians need to be reanalyzed in light of this new philosophical view of serviced. The methodology used in the study, the Q-methodology, should be useful in future studies of service.


MPACT Scores for Mary Jo Lynch

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:09:22

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Students under Mary Jo Lynch

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None