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Fostering a sticky relationship with academic library users

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to identify strategies to help academic libraries to be more useful and present to users in the context of the plethora of information made available by the online revolution. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Professors Davenport and Beck's stickiness model, comprising convenience, relevance, engagement and community, outlined in The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business, is first identified as a framework to examine how to improve stickiness between the library and its users. Each factor is investigated in the context of an academic library and then specifically, in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. A survey is then conducted to establish the relative importance of the factors to users. Priority areas where application of the factors could be strengthened are then identified. Finally, an assessment of the usefulness and comprehensiveness of the model is made. Findings ‐ The stickiness model has some limitations; library roles such as preservation and data curation are not examined. Beyond this, the model is a very useful practical tool to evaluate the library's strengths and weaknesses, identify growth areas, and formulate a strategy to improve stickiness. Practical implications ‐ Convenience and relevance are currently key areas, while engagement and community offer great potential to cement stickiness. Originality/value ‐ The paper highlights the issue of attention deficit and identifies strategies to improve the library's stickiness, change traditional mindsets about its roles and usefulness and enable it to be more present in the lives of its users.
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Keywords: Academic libraries; Attention economy; Community building; Library engagement; Library outreach; Library users

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 22, 2013

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