Innovative library services

biblioteca Rohia_foto_Livia Grigor

de Lola Maria PETRESCU şi Georgeta TOPAN
Biblioteca Judeţeană „Octavian Goga” Cluj

As resulting from the works studied and used for this article, the worldwide libraries are in a constant move, renewal and modernization, generated by the internal, but especially by the external challenges of the institution. The issues of the library specialists are the same all over the world, all of them being interested in expanding and diversifying innovative and quality, user-oriented library services, but with different opinions when it comes to using a commercial strategy to ensure user loyalty. The users’ involvement in providing library services in an organization willing to try new things, the library as „the third place”, the hybrid library – which offers both traditional and Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and later on Web 3.0 and Web 4.0, determines the adoption of the participatory library model and of other new models for the libraries of the future.
Keywords: library, hybrid, modernization, innovative services, users.
Motto: „The library of the future requires vision, technologies, services, but most of all it needs the creativity of the people” (Phyllis B. Spies).

Libraries in Romania, like other libraries in European Union and worldwide, are in a continuous process of change and modernization, generated both by the overall process of globalization, and especially by the challenges and the opportunities offered by the information society.

More than ever, libraries along with other cultural institutions were involved, as they were supposed to be, provided the basic material of the „third wave”, which offers the advantage of being inexhaustible, is the information, that is found primarily in libraries, its millennial depositary and manager.

With the help of information and imagination libraries can find solutions to many of their problems.

Libraries can find a role model in the European Union „which has a great potential for innovation and which has founded one of the largest single markets in the world, where innovative products and services can be made by removing the obstacles in transforming ideas into products and services.[1]

The word service comes from the Latin servitium and is equivalent to action and result.

Although the word service has been known and used in the literature for a long time, since the beginning of economic literature, a consensus has not been yet reached and there is not a general accepted definition of the term.

The definition of the term service is still very diverse, complex, controversial and very difficult to establish due to the heterogeneity of the services. Therefore, this concept has a large number of definitions.

In the Webster dictionary, the service is defined as „a contribution to the welfare of others” and as „a useful work that does not produce material goods”.

The American Marketing Association defines the service as „the activity offered for sale that produces benefits and rewards without generating a physical exchange of goods”.

The most clear and most successful definition of the term service is that of the professor emeritus Philip Kotler: „a service is any activity or benefit that one party offers to another and that is essentially of intangible nature, not having resulted in the transfer of ownership of any good”[2].

The most common services, are:

• the transportation services
• the touristic services
• the health services
• the banking services
• the cultural services
• the public services.

The cultural services can be defined „as the activities provided for the benefit of the consumers of culture, with or without their direct participation, in order to meet their specific needs and produce the satisfaction they expected” [3].

Like any other services mentioned above, the cultural services are a particular class of services, whose types can be differentiated according to several criteria: the markets, the content and many more.

To exemplify we have chosen a criterion: „the institutional system for promoting culture in human societies”, according to which we can mention:

• adult education
• philharmonics
• theatres
• museums
• libraries and others.

The French specialist Bertrand Calenge, defines the library service as: „est service tout ce qui, dans l’existence et l’activité de la bibliothèque, est rencontre entre un des éléments de l’organisation et le public”[4], that is service is all the library activity, it is the meeting between the members of the organization and the public.

The relationship between users and librarians is very important and it contributes to the structuring of a library model, so it must always be adapted to the cultural, social, political and economic changes in society.

The relationship in a library service is between the user (the recipient and co-creator of the service), the librarian (the service provider) and the library (the location), being seen as a system of interdependent elements: the physical and the digital space, the products, the librarians, the projects that take place in the library, the services that have a growing importance in the library and other elements.

„The words to serve and service imply the terms action and result, but there is no equivalent word for production, to express the service creation process. The lack of such term has led to the use of the neologism servuction (in French) to express the service creation process”[5].

The term servuction was first used between 1980 and 1987 and was developed by Pierre Eiglier and Eric Langeard. In Romania, some authors use, instead of servuction, the term processing, which has the same meaning: a service creation process, but is of Romanian origin. To clarify the term servuction or processing, we will analyse two basic models of services processing, models which have as participants two individuals – in the first example and an individual and a product – in the second example.

The first situation is the classic scene in a library: the two individuals (the user and the librarian) and the service, resulting from their conversation and actions. In this case, the basic elements needed for the creation of a library service are the two individuals: the user (the service recipient) and the librarian (the service provider), the service being the result of the interaction between the two individuals.

Note that both the user and the librarian have an active role in processing the service, since its achievement depends heavily on the information provided by the user to the librarian.

The quality of service and the time needed for processing depend not only on the librarian’s training and experience, but also on how clear the user states his requirement – if he is easily understood by the librarian or if other questions need to be asked. So the user has a very important role, along with the librarian, in the process of providing the service and even in the quality of service, because it would be easier to act for the librarian if the user’s needs are well and clearly explained, than it is when additional time is needed to analyse what the user really desires. If the user does not clearly states its desires, he may not be understood by the librarian, who, maybe busy with other users, may not have much time available for the confused user – which leads to a poor quality service, although both parties were very well intentioned. The service will be assessed as poor by the user, the librarian will be unhappy and the relationship between them will be affected. Fortunately for everyone these situations are isolated cases and if the confused user has the patience to wait for the other users, who clearly know what they want, to be quickly served, so that the librarian can then resume the interaction with him to clarify his requirements, the processing can end in friendly terms.

Among the advantages of the users’ co-participation in providing the service is that they can control the implementation of the service and, if not satisfied, may demand some immediate changes and can help motivate the staff by expressing their satisfaction and gratitude towards them.

The second situation is the one in which the basic elements are one individual (the user) and a product (the Info Touch) and the result is the third element, the service.

This, unlike the first case, is a modern and innovative service, where the librarian is replaced by the user and by the Info Touch which helps the user get by himself the service he needs and for which he comes to the library.

There are different opinios regarding the user’s active involvement in providing the service, both for and against it.

The self-serving service can lead to an increased cost effectiveness profitability in direct proportion to the number of operations performed by the user and their complexity.

The acceptance of the self-service and the willingness to use it can be encouraged by various types of rewards:

• „emotional rewards (they are happy to take part in certain activities);
• economic rewards (they get a discount);
• time rewards (they save time);
• social rewards (they come in contact with other clients during the process);
• intellectual rewards (they make new discoveries ​​during the process”[6]).

In this context we have the user (previously trained by the librarian) as the active element, and a product, an Info Touch with an RFID device with the help of which the user can self-lend, self-return and self-extend the loan for the books, in the library, by placing the books on the device, which then gives the user a note with the transactions containing: the titles of the returned books and the deadline for returning the borrowed books or the books with extended loans.

In order to carry out the transactions of a home loan department, the books are equipped with smart tags and the users receive special library cards, which can be read by the optical readers of the InfoTouch.

The librarian has a secondary role, not participating in the service process, just supervising the transactions and being prepared to assist the user, if necessary.

In this case we note that the user is the active person and that the success of the service depends highly on how he uses the device.

In this situation, it is easy to determine the quality of service, because its achievement depends on only one person (the user), the quality of the service is tested by his direct involvement and the device has been previously used by many librarians.

It is a processing system, in both cases, with its elements and relationships and with its final result – the service.

It is clear that servuction is a key element for observing the changes in services, in general, and in library services, in particular.

If the librarian had achieved the loan with the Info Touch, it would have been a regular loan service for the user, but by achieving it himself, the user can see the change, the innovation that has occurred in the loan service, can note that his role has changed, from co-creator to creator of the service.

Therefore, it is an innovation not only in the service, but also in its processing (servuction).

One such project, in which the users acted as service creators, was developed by the „O. Goga” Cluj County Library in 2005 to 2006.

The name of the international project was „LIBER-IMMS: Public Library RFID based system for interactive Internet & Mobile Messaging Services”, financed by the European Commission and the Cluj County Council.

The InfoTouch devices used in the library were info-kiosk terminals with touchscreens, network connected with the librarians’ computers. The user would place the books on these divices and then press the name of the desired transaction.

„The goal of the project was to provide citizens better access to cultural heritage and to facilitate the relationship between public institutions and citizens.

To achieve this goal, the project has tested new services in order to improve communication between the citizens and the institutional bodies due to the interactive messaging services”[7].

Some believe that if until now the managers’ attention was to labor productivity, costs, quality, this millennium will be one of the services, perhaps of the innovative services I might add.

Innovative products and services exist since ancient times, the human being by definition innovative and creative, embracing all the changes, especially the qualitative, progressive, beneficial changes that help him in his business and that offer him new perspectives, but the concept of innovation appeared later, in the first half of the twentieth century and the concept of accelerated innovation, even later.

The twenty-first century is unique, highly complex and different from other centuries, characterized not so much by change, but by innovation, by greater and more frequent challenges than in other periods of time and by the speed with which these innovations occur.

The Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter defines innovation as „the act of introducing new things in the economic activity.”

In a contemporary opinion it is explaimed like this: „a change itself, innovation is also generated by change, that is a modification, bigger or smaller, more or less deep, with different locations in time and space, with varying degrees of impact on the marketing environment”[8].

Innovations occur in many forms: documents, ideas, processes, products, services, even changes, as innovations not only change ideas, but can also change processes, products, services, institutions and organizations, they can be the change itself and the more important of them can improve the world we live in.

„The word innovation can be given different meanings – it can mean anything or nothing. Some might see it as a creative opening to exceptional ideas, others as an activity of creating new products, as a business strategy and as a renewal or as a minor improvement in everyday life. Innovation is related to transforming the best ideas, whether new products and services, into businesses”[9].

The company-client relationship, like the library-user one, knows major changes, consisting mainly in increasing the users’ importance, as Mr. Eppo Van Nispen Tot Sevenaer, the manager of the municipal public library in Delft, The Netherlands, said, „ The most important collection of a library is its public”[10].

This explains the major change in the management of libraries, the focus changing from collections to the public, to the users, to the detriment of collections.

The reasons for this changes are:

• the growing importance of users, acknowledged by libraries and librarians;
• the growth and diversification of services for users, by the library and by the cultural market, given the ability of users to compare the services offered by other libraries;
• the advent of the Internet and of the new media has turned innovation into a competitive tool, increasingly difficult to match and overcome;
• the existence of global cultural markets increases competition and user demands.

„The cultural customer is perhaps the most difficult to define of all types of customers. This is the result of a long process that begins in childhood. In the cultural institutions, the provider focuses on creation and the way the service recipient views the service depends highly on his education and knowledge, more than in other services”[11] and whether or not he has the opportunity to compare the quality of this service.

Besides users and competition, change is another force that has always driven and will continue to stimulate the evolution of political, cultural, social and economic development of the society and the library activities should focus on it, if the library wants to continue to meet the international standards.

The rethinking of a strategy of an institution should be made „in the perspective of increasing the instituion’s ability to better respond to customer demands and, his way, to increase its competitive force on the market and to confront change successfully”[12].

The need for change, for innovation appears also because of the gap between what the users would like to purchase and what they would actually need. On a deeper analysis, we can note that there is a big difference between them: in the case of would want – they know the offers and they just need to decide; would need – refers to the need for new, more generous and more innovative products or services.

New services may occur accidentally or as a result of a specific development process, which, according to Mr. Peter Drucker, includes seven basic sources of innovation:

• „the surprise, caused by an unexpected success or failure;
the inconsistencies, which occur when things do not match the commonly accepted opinion;
the despair, when a better solution is imperative;
• the outdated industries or activities, that need changes;
the lifestyle or the demographic changes, such as the increasing number of pensioners;
• the changes in attitudes, such as the clients’ changing perceptions and expectations;
the discoveries, when the new knowledge or abilities offer new favorable opportunities”[13] for innovative services.

The harnessing of these fundamental sources determines an institution to exceed the traditional concepts and to move towards new, modern, contemporary things, services and approaches – in step with the requirements and necessities and to turn, in a short time, old things into new, interesting, friendly and efficient opportunities.

The innovation is also linked to the markets it occurs in, so that the institutions that innovate must first renew their own markets, so that innovation can have the desired effect and can be understood and accepted by the vast majority of beneficiaries.

According to the marketing professionals, in the digital economy any successful institution is present both in the physical market (marketplace) and in the virtual market (marketspace), due to the Internet and the digital technology, and some of the main key factors affecting the current markets are:

1) „the value for the customer, with its most important principles of action:
• function as a client-centered company;
• focus on the customer value and satisfaction;
• make profits from serving the customer throughout his life;

2) the key abilities:
• make a comparison to the best practices in the world;
• constantly invent new competitive advantages;

3) the parteners networks:
• be generous, rewarding the company’s partners”[14].

The launch of a new service involves risks both for the institution providing the services – the library in this case, and for the beneficiaries of the new service – the library users.

The risks for the library can be directly proportional to the financial effort required to implement the new service, to the loss of the customers that disagrees with the new service or to the image loss of that institution.

The risk for the library users, in the case of a new service, is that they must adapt to the new service, which some will find interesting and useful to do and others uncomfortable and difficult, having to learn how to use the new service.

The basic requirements for a well accepted innovative service are for it to meet the insufficiently addressed market requirements and to provide substantial benefits and advantages to its users.

The innovative services bring beneficial changes to that institution, reviving it, putting it more in its users’ attention, giving it a little something extra, helping it not only to survive or to more easily face competition, but also to grow, to become more known, more important and more competitive in its field of activity.

The main advantages of innovative services in an institution are:

• a larger variety of services – the institutions no longer depends on a single service;
• more opportunities to attract users, that can choose the most convenient option, the service that suits them best;
• a plus for the image of the innovative institution, increasing its position in that market;
• the development and the qualitative improvement of the existing services;
• an increased use of information sources;
• a better, faster and more enjoyable way of solving its users’ requests;
• an enhanced user satisfaction and confidence in the institution;
• support the institution to face social and economic instability and trends of globalization.

In relation to the community served, which gives the public library its specificity and reason of existence, the society’s attitude towards culture, education and all that libraries, and especially public libraries represent or should represent, plays a decisive role.

In the countries where culture is considered a key pillar of society, where economic and political stability allow and comply with the policies and strategies required to ongoing mitigate future risks and changes, the libraries are highly rated, popular, socially valued and considered important sectors of the social and cultural activity, that deserve to be invested in.

The public libraries’ collections and services reflect the importance granted to this type of library and to the formal and information education and culture of the communities served by these institutions or that the services and the collections of these institutions reflect the quality of the culture of those communities.

The European Union is also interested in innovation, it considers that efforts are made and results are visible, but some of the member states should make greater efforts to overcome the obstacles to transforming ideas and resources into innovative products and services.

A new, innovative service is an activity that the institution, the library, has not provided until this moment.

There are new services that are actually new only for that institution, not for the users or for the market they address, and that is the reason why they (the users and the market) do not see them as innovations.

Some new services become innovative in time, as the terms of service and new service are unfortunately not yet fully clarified.

The interactivity of the service enables users to see the difference between the old services and the novelty of the new services, leading them to believe that the change of an already existing service would be an innovative service, as the institution and the market believe.

Nowadays three are three types of service innovation:
1. ” innovation in products for services: new or improved products for services (items, goods, public services);
2. innovation in processes for services: new or improved ways of designing and producing services;
3. innovation in services institutions: organizational innovation (in service providing organizations and industries).

The innovation of a service:
a. always includes replicable elements that can be identified and systematically reproduced in other situations or environments;
b. brings benefits to both producers and customers;
c. is a product or a process of the service based on a systematic technology or method”[15].

But the novelty of a service is not determined only by the change of a structural element or dimension of the service. In the work Program for a sociology of the arts, Pierre Francastel said that „Much too often the notion of novelty is sought in the discovery of the innovative element. In reality, an additional principle of complexity changes the relations in the structure, conferring a novelty value to the work”.

Focused on change, creativity and innovation many public libraries in Romania have taken „the initiative to organize, based on the western model, cooperation centers for providing specialized services for libraries, since 1996”. [16]

Libraries today offer a growing number of innovative services, focusing on a model based on modernized and computerized services and make continuous efforts to offer their users diversified, better organized and developed, better quality services, in line with the preferences of all types of users: children, teenagers, adults and old people and with the political, economical, cultural, social and technological factors.

This progressive direction toward a model of a library which is closer to the user – and due to the Internet and the possibilities it offers, including the one to have an ongoing relationship with the user – is possible due to a greater openness of libraries to understanding and solving the problems and to informing the public served.

This more obvious trend toward the users, which is actually the first principle of quality management, show us that the libraries increasingly understand that the core of any activity, the points of departure and arrival, the basic points are the users, the priority of the libraries needing to be that of helping the users achieve their interests, satisfying them, facilitating them the right to information, to knowledge, this being the real purpose of the libraries’ existance.

Being close to their users, the libraries have the opportunity to know them better, to better assess the needs and demands they may have, in order to be able to provide them more innovative and higher performance services to meet the increasingly sophisticated and diverse requirements and needs of a more demanding, more knowledgeable public, as this library public, the majority Internet users, representatives of the Y, Web or Google generation, future, want it or not, world citizens.

Regarding a more precise knowledge of the basic requirements of all users of diverse services, the American specialists have concluded that the most important factors that define the quality of the services are:

the accessibility: the users must be able to contact the institution and to acces it easily and quickly whenever they want;
the communication: the service must be provided in a common language, must be understood by all its users and potential users;
the competence: the employees of the institution must meet the public’s expectations in terms of knowledge, education, handiness and other requirements needed for that job;
the courtesy: the librarians, especially those working in public relations, must distinguish by courtesy, friendship, respect, tact;
the responsibility: both the staff and the institution should always be careful with and take into account the users’ interests;
the correctness: the services should always be provided in the best conditions, fair, considerate and honoring all the promises made to the users;
the responsiveness: the institution and the staff must respond quickly and creatively to all users’ requirements;
the trust: the institution and the staff must strive to gain and maintain the confidence in their public relations;
the credibility: the institution’s name and repute, its staff’s behavior must inspire and maintain the the instituin’s credibility in the user relations;
the safety: the provision of services must not represent a danger to the physical or mental health of the user and the services must be confidential;
the customization: the service must be the right and the desired one, each user must be treated with the necessary attention and friendly relations must be established with each user, separately;
the understanding and knowledge of users: the librarian must understand the user’s requiremens and issues;
the tangible elements: the rooms must be attractive, bright, nicely arranged, the staff must be pleasant and dressed appropriately.

In order to provide services that meet the expectations of these users, that can go anywhere in the world and then compare the national services with the ones in the countries they visit, the Romanian libraries are constantly changing, upgrading, adapting the innovative services of the leader international libraries, such as the French, Anglo-Saxon, German or American libraries, for example, to their requirements and specificity, striving to reach by all available means the new standards imposed by the foreign libraries, because nowadays the ideas are increasingly moving and the experiences of others must be exported, harmonized and used.

It appears that the public library can increase its efficiency by becoming more useful to its readers, by identifying the elements which distinguish it as an institution, those that are specific to its loyal community of users and by enhancing the activities in order to satisfy them, which is one of the basic components of the institutional success, for which J. Kelada suggests the model called QVALITY, that is:

Q = quality: the customers want the services to meet the needs and be reliable;
V = volume: the customers want a certain amount of the service and that should be delivered;
A = purchase: the customers want the procedure of obtaining the service to be quick and simple;
L = location: the customers want the place where they are served to be close and accessible;
I = image: the customers are careful at the provider’s image, at how the organization is perceived in terms of environmental protection and human rights;
T = time: prompt customer service satisfies the client, the delay may cause him losses;
Y(yield) = efficiency: the customer is satisfied when buying an efficient service (the perceived value related to the purchasing effort)”.[17]

Along with the innovative services, another issue that now concerns the specialists and the professionals of the most famous associations and libraries in the world is that of the loyalty of library users.

The opinions of the French specialists are very different and divided: some suggest that the activity of the French libraries should continue to focus on quality, innovative and custom services and should not use marketing strategies for obtaining the loyalty of users, because the library is not a service like any other, the culture is not a merchandise and the user is not a client to be kept by any means; others would be interested in libraries that, besides developing new services suited to the users’ needs, following the example of their colleagues in the Anglo-Saxon and American countries, use strategies for obtaining the public’s loyalty with very good results.

Germany has the same areas of interest. The study „Libraries in 2000” makes an analysis of the libraries’ public, recommends user oriented services and adapting all the library services to the needs of its public and emphasises the need of preserving the users, of obtaining their loyalty.

„Obtaining the customers’ loyalty includes all the measures a company seeking positive orientation of the behavioral intent of current and future clients towards a vendor and/or its offer/services to stabilize or develop customer relationships takes” [18].

Obtaining the loyalty of the library users, like that of those of any other institution, attracts a lot of benefits, most important of which being the fact that the users are satisfied with the services offered, with how they are received and treated by the library staff, shown in their long use of services; they will pass this information to those near them: friends, family, neighbours or will even bring them to the library, increasing the number of library users; some of the loyal readers will make book donations, helping develop the library collections.

And „customer satisfaction is a critical factor for obtaining the customers’ loyalty”[19].

Along with providing quality services (traditional and innovative ones) in order to increase the satisfaction of the readers, obtaining the users’ loyalty becomes increasingly necessary even in libraries, not only in commercial areas, because the library users are increasingly better informed and more demanding in terms of their requirements, and their satisfaction is increasingly dependent on the quality of the personal relationship established with the service provider and on the image of the providing institution on the cultural services market.

Then, nowadays the libraries and other cultural institutions are bound by the economic and political status to be present on the market, to survive and to find ways to be appreciated and used by the public, and the solutions to these problems are found particularly in the cultural marketing, which comes increasingly shaped and important.

The marketing specialists offer a growing number of retention strategies, which applied in real life lead to „the cause-effect chain of customer loyalty, which consists of five phases:

• first contact: requesting a service;
• customer satisfaction: assessment by comparing the desire and the reality;
• customer loyalty: acceptance, confidence, positive attitude;
• customer loyalty: comeback, recommendations to other customers;
• the much desired success”[20] by all the institutions.

Amongst the multiple ways of obtaining the users’ loyalty, which is different from one area to another, the most appropriate for the libraries is the emotional attachment achieved by satisfying the customers’ needs.

Fidelity requires custom services and relationships, based on the users’ trust in the service providers, on a better communication, on mutual respect, on promises that can be fulfiled, on honesty, on a long-term collaboration and on other aspects.

The Internet and the new digital technologies help libraries and all institutions interested in providing custom services, tailored to each user’s requests, to find the right answer to every question, to increasingly satisfy the individual needs of the most demanding user and of the most special demand.

User oriented services are possible by studying the users’ behavior, by continually identifying and defining the market, by the flexibility, variety and rapidity of delivering the service, by the quality, the differentiation and customization of the offered services. This knowledge is very necessary because the people’s choices are influenced by many factors including: age, education, customs, cultural traditions, occupation, motivation, attitude, interests and beliefs.

At the beginning of the electronic revolution there were opinions that predicted the end of the Guttenberg era and of the libraries, as institutions.

The innovative services, adapted to the new requirements and to the rapid changes of the third millennium, the adaptable library systems, that were not rigid, of a certain pattern or lost in a godforsaken place, made possible for the libraries to survive and even to have a more important role in informing and communicating in the new era, the era of the information society, becoming reference institutions due to the use of the new information and communication technologies and to the fact that they were present, interested, interesting and open to the new challenges of a more dynamic and information abundant market.

Other opinions were more positive, more realistic, more constructive, more optimistic, like that of Roger Chartier[21], historian on written culture, who declared, regarding the future trends of the libraries at the beginning of the digital era, of the „third wave” society (Alvin Toffler) that: „Libraries will need to be instruments through which readers can find their own way in the digital world. They can play a key role in getting them used to the tools and techniques necessary for using the new forms of writing”.

A prediction which became real!

The libraries will continue to be the instruments or the institutions that have guided, together with the family and the schools at all levels, the steps of pupils, of students and of all users, even of the seniors, through the maze of information highways, with the help of their many and generous innovative services, of the different classes offered to the Europeans citizens of the served community, of the cultural projects and of the cultural events. The library offers playgrounds, learning facilities, digital literacy facilities, meeting and socializing spaces for individuals and various groups, competitions on various topics, depending on age, various soirees, the libraries’ night, exhibitions – of its own or of its partner institutions, always trying to adapt to the new European and global trends.

Due to these offers, always in line with the economic and social changes, with the constant moving market and always a step ahead of users’ expectations, due to their permissive style, due to their innovative and creative strategies, the importance of the library institutions will continue to increase and their role in informing, training and socializing will be more known and popular.

The classification of services can be made on many and different Romanian or international criteria, but a strict, clear classification is not possible at national level because of the heterogeneity and diversity of services and, at international level, it is even more difficult, because the degree of development is different, both for services and for countries.

A classification of the library services is very difficult because this area, that of the library services, like any other areas of services, is diverse, consisting of a large number of activities, continuously changing and diversifying.

Among the most widely used international classifications there are[22]:

  • The Invisible Exchanges Classification, the classification specialized on services;
  • The Product Focused Classification, drafted under the aegis of the UN;
  • The European Community’s Product Focused Classification, similar with the first, but applied only in the European Union.

In Romania, the classification of services is made in accordance with the Order no. 296 from 01.07.2003, regarding the Classification of products and services related to activities in CPSA 2007, issued by the National Institute of Statistics and published in Monitorul Oficial no. 553 of 31.07.2003, which recommends a hierarchical classification, on sections, subsections, divisions, groups and classes, marked by letters and numbers, to enable electronic processing of information.

The above mentioned document contains 17 sections, and subsection OA – Other community, social and personal services, Division 92, Group 925, Class 9251, subclass 9251.11 mentions the library services.

„This elementary subclass includes:

–    collecting, cataloguing, preserving and retrieval services, of books and similar materials;

–    loaning services for books, discs, videotapes, others.


–    Renting services for video tapes, ranked in 7140.12

–    Renting services for books, classified in 7140.16 ” .

In order to extend the classification of library services, the assistance of specialists from various fields is needed.

Philip Kotler suggests a classification based on several criteria, which adapted to the library services are:

A. the user’s presence:
a. services which require the user’s presence while providing the service: all home or in-house lending services of books, periodicals or electronic documents;
b. services which do not require the user’s presence: the processing all the documents, the acquisition process.
B. the need addressed:
a. services that address a personal need
b. services that address social needs
The library services addresses both the personal needs, when the service is offered to a user, and the social needs, since, by definition, the library serves a multitude of users, a community of global citizens.
C. the nature of the satisfied needs:
a. private services – services that meet the needs of a user or of his family;
b. public services – services that meet social needs, the needs of a community and that are organized and authorized by an administrative authority.
The two classifications are very similar, but they are not identical and there is a different classification criteria.
D. the nature of the providing institution:
a. private services – services provided by private institutions;
b. public services – services provided by public institutions: libraries, museums, so on.
E. the moment of the emergence of the service in the economic sphere:
a. traditional or old services: lending services and other services;
b. modern services: the online catalog, the loan extensions made by the users on the internet users and many more.
F. the distribution of services, when the consumer (the user) comes to the institution’s headquarters:
a. a single place for delivering services, when the user comes only to the headquarters of the library or only to one of the library branches;
b. several places for delivering services, when the user can go to each branch to borrow a book;
F’ . the provider (librarian) goes to the consumer (user)’s house:
a. a single place for delivering the service, when the librarian goes to the address of a single user, either to recover overdue books or for a new service called „Meeting with the non-users at their homes, availale for all”, thst is for anyone: in this case the librarians go to a single address with books for the non-users to borrow for 3 weeks;
b. several places for delivering the services, when the librarians go to the residences of users or non-users.
The cultural services for the community served are[23]:
a. basic services: lending of publications (in its two forms: on the spot and at the user’s home), book releases and others;
b. auxiliary services: the purchase of books and periodicals, bibliographic information;
c. additional services: literary circles, multiplication of documents – in various forms;

According to Raphaële Gilbert[24] other classifications are also possible, such as:
A. by the way the service is delivered: physical services (taking place in a space) and digital services
a. physical services:
– meetings in the homes of users and non-users: the librarians go to one or more users or non-users of the district to offer a loan for three weeks; after that time the librarians will return for the books;
– reference librarian for a family or a single user: a librarian always serves that family or that user;
– the library user borrows at home other products also, for example: computers, laptops, cameras, video cameras, musical instruments MP3s and so on;
– the library offers its public, for in-house use or home loan: carnival and theater costumes and so on;
– school help: a catalogue of courses, help in preparation for various competitions, educational websites and databases, dance workshops, help for writing articles and many others;
b. digital services:
– themed portals or associated websites: information in a particular field;
– portals and access to the catalogue – adapted for children, teenagers and persons with disabilities;
– new types of documentary selections: themes and summaries of works and literary criticism necessary for preparing for the exams: capacitate, bacalaureat, Bachelor’s degree, teaching grades;
– online entertainment: virtual exhibitions, online conferences;
– consultation and loan of digital documents: books, music, movies, games.

B. by the user’s role and place: the degree of services customization
a. generic services:
– rental of spaces for classrooms, kindergartens, sports halls (like in the UK);
– cultural activities, such as those organized by universities;
– presence on social networks: Facebook, MySpace, Youtube.
b. specialized services (for some groups of the audience):
– portals and access to the catalogue – adapted for children, teenagers and persons with disabilities;
– new types of documentary selections: themes and summaries of works and literary criticism needed for preparing for the exams: capacitate, bacalaureat, Bachelor’s degree, teaching grades;
c. individualized services (custom services):
– online user accounts: a user can extend a loan, can make a reservatuion for a borrowed book, can make suggestions for purchases and so on;
– RSS feed ( news, acquisitions);
– multimedia space: free access to resources, to various workshops.

The high number of classification criteria for the library services highlights the typological plurality of these services.

Given the multitude and diversity of services classifications and the unclearness and repeatability of them it is very useful „to develop a classification system more strict, with enough details in order to encompass a large number of activities; elastic, flexible, able to integrate the new services and to reflect the changes appeared in the social and economic processes; compatible – to achieve harmony between national and international groups; operational – to enable the standardization of activities and to satisfy the accounting and management needs using computational techniques”[25].

Examples of other innovative services:
the online catalogues of libraries make the collections of the institutions known to everyone interested. It would be useful:
– editing them at least in a foreign language (for example, the EU documents) should further expand the cooperation with other similar institutions in the world, as libraries need to be, like other markets, more accessible, not only at national or European level, but also at international level;
– the video presentation of the online catalogues, like that of the National Library of France, offers little life (with the human voice that presents it) and makes it more attractive and pleasant to the person that consults it. In addition, the library website also has a welcoming page and a brief video presentation of the library in six foreign languages​​: French, English, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian.
– self-training area dedicated to the self lifelong learning
One of the main objectives of the public library, listed in the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto is: „2) to support self-training and education at all levels”.

This area offers all kinds of documents needed for learning a foreign language or IT or for preparing for various competitions (for school or for a job), quizzes, exams and so on. For example, the individual study area of the National Library of France is equipped with 120 multimedia stations, dictionaries, guides and all sorts of other tools that the student might need and which always remain in that space. A separate study booth may be reserved in advance by phone or online, for a certain period of time, usually one session lasting for one hour.

Often in partnership with other institutions, some libraries also allow access from home to interactive classes, required for the development of cultural practices and knowledge that facilitate lifelong learning.

The French libraries give more attention to this kind of space and to this mission of the library than Romanian libraries do.

The development of this service is very important because: „The public libraries have a future potential of being self training and lifelong education centers for all levels of society, from the college graduate who wants to update his knowledge to the technician who wants to learn new skills and to the craftsman who wants to improve. This has always been a role of the public library, but never before has there been such an opportunity to fulfill it”[26].

the private space is a free library space offered, by a service with this name, mentioned on the library website, to any user in order to store his personal work or notes. This is an area that can be activated from anywhere by the user, with a password and can be customized by filling in the birth date and e-mail. The lack of activity in this private space for about 45 days results in its loss, because it will be automaticaly removed by the software, as in the case of the not used e- mails.
– the extension of home lending services.

Some libraries want to gradually expand their traditional services by making home loans for periodicals (magazines and newspapers), on user demand. The reason for this user demand is the time needed to study some periodicals, like for a book.

Adopt a Book!

The Friends of the National Library of France Association, very concerned and interested in contributing to the quick growth of the Gallica digital library collection, has suggested this project to those who wish to support the digitization of the written heritage of France. They can choose a book from the online catalogue (from the thousands of books held in the collections of the National Library of France), from the thematic lists suggested by the library, which will be scanned and will be online available; for 10 years the book will have a note mentioning that the digitization or the online reading of this book was made possible by a bibliophile (with his name). The adoption of a book can also be a gift to someone: the book scanned will bear the name of a friend, not of the person that adopts the book (pays for its digitization). The operation may be also carried out on the website of the Friends of the National Library of France Association.

 Other examples of innovative services[27]:

After the libraries which opened in railway stations, on beaches, in markets, on ships, it was time for:

– the first library opened in an airport, in Schiphol, The Netherlands

The first library in an airport was opened at Schiphol, The Netherlands on November 5, 2010, operating seven days a week, 24 hours a day and lending documents on site and providing information.

„The library without walls” from a tram stop in Philadelphia:

During the Philadelphia National Library’s Week, between April 14 and April 20, 2013, the freedom of reading was celebrated in a whole new way. The transportation service and the tram station hosted a digital library based on accessing a QR code displayed on the station walls. „The library without walls” had 80,000 eBooks, 8,000 audio books and podcasts for the tram travelers in the area.

„The Vodafone Digital Library” – The first global digital library, in the metros of some big worldwide cities: after New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Bucharest, the digital library will extend to the metros of Buenos Aires and probably to the metros of other big cities in the world.

The Digital Library opened in May 2012 in the Bucharest subway, in Piata Victoriei, due to the collaboration between The Humanitas Bookstores, well known and appreciated in Romania, and Vodafone, one of the largest mobile phones company in the world.

In this digital library a number of 49 books and 10 audio books are made available to those interested. Among the authors available in this digital library we mention: Milan Kundera, Gottfried August Burger, Franz Kafka, Neagu Djuvara, Mircea Cărtărescu, Constantin Noica, Gabriel Liiceanu, Andrei Pleşu, Mateiu I. Caragiale. The complete list is available at: and can be accessed and studied from anywhere.

When in the metro at Piata Victoriei in Bucharest, enter „The Vodafone Digital Library”, use your phone/tablet to scan the QR code available on the spine of the book selected from the library shelves. You will be then redirected to, from where you can download a chapter of each book, in pdf, epub or audio format. The only book which can be fully downloaded is Mateiu I.Caragiale’s „Sub pecetea tainei”. If you want to download other books, you will be redirected to the Humanitas Publishing House website, where you can purchase any book for 16 to 20 lei.

„The library in a Metro”

Three students from Miami have developed a new way of communication between the public of New York and the local libraries, a new way of promoting the libraries to their public.

The Underground principle of the library is simple: the three students made ​​some posters for bestsellers of all types, such as „Harry Potter”, „The Hobbit”, and decorated the subway with them. Integrated in the posters, Near Field Communication (NFC) enables the user’s acces to compatible devices for downloading 10 ebook pages, after scanning a QR code.

– Hanno Library (Japan) uses NFC technology, that is the near field communication technology.

The books are equipped with miniature size NFC tags, like the RFID tags – the passive components, which can be read from a distance using tablets or smartphones, considered active devices because of their own power supply and antenna necessary to transfer data. When the two meet: the smartphones and the NFC tags, an exchange of digital content occurs, thereby enabling users to get information on the books they need, on they availability or even make reservations.

Since this technological experiment has provided the desired results, the Janapense libraries will expand its use.

„Even if currently not all the smartphone and tablet manufacturers have implemented the NFC technology, its potential is huge and, in the near future, it will be adopted by all the major players in the market. Time will show how well the retailers used this extraordinary opportunity to connect the real world to the virtual one”[28].


Libraries, like other institutions, offer a growing range of services, which, grouped by the importance of the activity, can be: basic or core service, traditional services or other secondary or auxiliary activities or even additional services.

The results of the studies in this field note that innovative library services should focus heavily and continuously on improving existing and currently provided services, on the content, on the processes and on the delivering of these services, on improving the equipments, the communication and the staff’s attitude.

The growing number of new services changes the library profile, causing it to move from the classic library model, based only on loan, to the hybrid library, and then to a more recent model, that of a library offering services.

The current model of a modern library, which approves and promotes all that is new, the library as „the 3rd place” (the place where you feel best after home and work), the hybrid library which offers traditional services and Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and perhaps, in the future, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 services, has already developed the model of involved library, term introduced by Bertrand Calenge on his blog.

The active involvement of users in delivering library services, their co- participation, is an increasingly strong trend, reflected in the new services of these institutions.

The users’ co-creativity offers them the opportunity to re-experience their value and potential, both in the library services conducted in the library space and in online services.

Bibliotecarii trebuie să fie tot timpul receptivi la noutăţile din domeniu, la cerinţele mereu în schimbare ale publicului, să amplifice comunicarea prin aprecierea şi acceptarea diversităţii, a reţelelor de cooperare şi de socializare între cititori, să susţină şi să adopte o viziune globală a înnoirii, să promoveze egalitatea între toţi cei ce accesează serviciile instituţiei, fără deosebire de sex, vârstă, naţionalitate ori statut social etc. (conform Manifestului IFLA/UNESCO).

The users’ active presence shows further changes in user-librarian relationship, provides new methods, new models, new perspectives and it is the first step towards a growing number of innovative services.

The users’ active involvement should be focused in the correct direction, they should be given opportunities to freely express their individual and group creativity, the users have to be determined, encouraged to have a proactive position, to participate more effectively along with the librarians to the delivering of more quality and innovative services.

The librarians should always be receptive to the news in their field, to the ever- changing needs of the public, should always increase the communication between readers through appreciation and acceptance of diversity, through cooperation and social networks, should always support and adopt a global vision of renewal and should always promote equality among all those who use the services of the institution, no matter of sex, age, nationality or social status (according to the IFLA / UNESCO Manifesto).

Libraries, with the help of their increasingly innovative services, will continue to fulfill their mission, which is to provide access to culture (both traditional and digital), information, education and leisure, will always be oriented towards the future, in a continuous process of modernization, will always be responding to the need for information, for saving therir users’ time in finding it, and will always be contributing to the development and welfare of the community served.

Nowadays, in the era of information society, libraries must expand their role, becoming increasingly involved in training its users so that they are able to use the growing variety of information sources ​​available, the success of the relationship between the library and its users depending on mutual knowledge and recognition.

The economic, political, social and cultural changes and the globalization results in an increased demand for services of all types, including library services; the growing variety of the available services is made ​​possible especially by the new media, which brings people and ideas closer, on a global scale.

„Today’s main feature is the focus on customers (users), on obtaining their loyalty and, ultimately, on a marketing starting from the client (user)”[29].

[1] Comisia Europeană. Este nevoie de mai multe eforturi în materie de inovare,

[2] Philip Kotler; Gary Armstrong; John Saunders; Veronica Wong. Principiile marketingului (Bucureşti: Teora, 1998), 699

[3] Maria Moldoveanu; Valeriu Ioan-Franc. Marketing şi cultură (Bucureşti: Expert, 1997), 15

[4] Raphaële Gilbert. Services innovants en bibliothèque: construire de nouvelles relations avec les usagers (Ecole nationale supérieure des sciences de l’information et des bibliothèques, 2010), 22,

[5] Cornel Someşan. Marketingul serviciilor de afaceri (Cluj-Napoca: Editura Sincron, 1997), 80

[6] Álmos Vorzsák. Marketingul serviciilor: Probleme de ansamblu ale terţiarului (Cluj-Napoca: Editura Alma Mater, 2006), 173

[7] Site-ul Bibliotecii Judeţene „Octavian Goga” Cluj,

[8] Rodica A. Boier. Inovare şi success: strategii de marketing pentru produse noi (Iaşi: Editura Sedcom Libris, 1997), 23

[9] Peter Fisk. Geniu în marketing (Bucureşti: Editura Meteor Press, 2006), 204

[10] Gilbert, Services innovants en bibliothèque, 14

[11] Álmos Vorzsák. Marketingul serviciilor: Ramuri şi domenii prestatoare (Cluj-Napoca: Editura Alma Mater, 2006), 436

[12] Ion Verboncu; Michael. Zalman. Management şi performanţe (Bucureşti: Editura Universitară, 2005), 102

[13] Fisk, Geniu în marketing, 205

[14] Philip Kotler; Dipak Jain; Suvit Maesincee. Marketingul în era digitală (Bucureşti: Editura Meteor Press, 2009), 32-33

[15] Prezentarea proiectului CRIS. Inovarea în servicii: oportunităţi si bariere, 8,

[16] Traian Brad. Lectura şi biblioteca publică la Cluj-Napoca (Cluj-Napoca: Casa Cărţii de Ştiinţă, 2001), 150

[17] Cursuri marketingul serviciilor:

[18] Vorzsak, Marketingul serviciilor, 216

[19] Nicolae Drăgulănescu. Evaluarea satisfacţiei clienţilor: tehnici, metode, instrumente (Bucureşti: Editura Standardizarea, 2011), 12

[20] Vorzsák, Marketingul serviciilor, 217

[21] Gheorghe Buluţă; Sultana Craia; Victor Petrescu. Biblioteca azi (Târgovişte: Editura Bibliotheca, 2004), 63

[22] Maria Viorica Bedrule-Grigoruţă. Managementul serviciilor publice (Iaşi: Editura Tehnopress, 2009), 26

[23] Doina Banciu; Gheorghe Buluţă; Victor Petrescu. Biblioteca şi societatea (Bucureşti: Editura Ager, 2001), 97

[24] Gilbert, Services innovants en bibliothèque, 25-27

[25] Bedrule-Grigoruţă. Managementul serviciilor publice, 26

[26] Managementul informaţiei şi al bibliotecilor în mileniul III (Bucureşti: Asociaţia Bibliotecarilor din Învăţământ – România, ABIR, 2004), 79

[27] Le monde de l’édition. Bibliothéque. Actualitté,

[28] Sos electronic Europe. De ce tehnologia NFC reuneşte toate tehnologiile fără fir?,

[29] Brigitte Arms. Marketingul local (Bucureşti: Editura All, 2008), p.24

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