The Impact of Librarians’ Social Capital on Members’ Loyalty according to the Mediating Role of Social Responsibility in Public Libraries

Document Type : مقالات پژوهشی


1 Associate Prof., Department of Public Administration, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

2 Senior expert in executive management, senior expert in Library & information science, General Directorate of Public Libraries of Markazi Province, Iran.


Introduction: The mission of public libraries is to increase reading and promote reading in the society, and in addition to common capitals such as human capital, economic capital, etc., and it has social capital, which is a cure for the pains of societies, especially developing and multicultural societies. Investing in customer loyalty is an effective and beneficial investment for service companies. It is important to maintain loyal customers because they ensure the repeated use and more use of the library and its services. Although increasing the number of users is one of the most important goals of libraries, research has shown that the cost of keeping current customers is lower than the cost of attracting new customers. Therefore, what is important is to determine the loyalty of library users, which means usage, satisfaction with services and planning and taking action to increase it. Because having an efficient library with loyal patrons and satisfied with the services provided can facilitate the process of user interaction with the library, and as a result, loyal users have positive consequences and many benefits for the library. Loyalty measurement has intensified especially now that libraries are faced with the challenge of losing clients or reducing their frequency of visits on the one hand and the existence of technological communication networks to meet people's information needs as an alternative to visiting, on the other hand. Also, despite the vast improvements in terms of physical and human resources in the country's public libraries, the issue of the audience and the distance of the audience from the library is an issue that we are still facing, and the institution of public libraries should have proper planning in the field of customer communication, audience attraction, service marketing and increasing user loyalty. Therefore, in this research, the effect of social capital of librarians on the loyalty of members is investigated with regard to the mediating role of social responsibility of public libraries in order to determine whether the social capital of librarians and the social responsibility of public libraries simultaneously have a place in explaining the increase in loyalty of members based on theoretical modeling and its analytical measurement.
Methodology: The present research is a descriptive-survey of a quantitative type and in terms of the relationship between the variables of the research, it is of a causal type. The statistical population included all members of the library and 127 librarians working in public libraries of Markazi Province. Sample size was measured using Cochran's stratified sampling method; It was calculated for the limited society (librarians) equal to 95 people and the unlimited society (library members) equal to 384 people. To measure social capital from the questionnaire of 24 questions of Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1999) with three dimensions (cognitive, relational and structural) (α=0.805), social responsibility from the questionnaire of Carroll (1991) in the form of 28 items with four components: economic responsibility, responsibility legal, ethical responsibility and social responsibility (α=0.791) and member loyalty from Caruana's customer loyalty scale (2002) with 21 items in ten dimensions (customer loyalty to the service provider; overall service quality; service costs; service receipt time; evaluation difficulty service; service provider's special knowledge about customers; information search cost; service provider stability; service geographic distance estimation and service quality performance scale) (α=0.766) were used. SPSS version 25 and Lisrel version 8.8 software were used for data analysis and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test research hypotheses.
Findings: The results show that the correlation coefficient of librarians' social capital with the social responsibility of libraries and the loyalty of library members is 0.558 and 0.537, respectively, and the correlation coefficient between the social responsibility of libraries and the loyalty of library members is 0.508, which is positive and significant. (P<0.001). The average answers for three research variables were determined to be higher than the average of the questionnaire (score 3). Also, the RMSEA index was equal to 0.068 and it is less than the threshold of 0.08 and the ratio of Chi-square to the degree of freedom is equal to 1.41 and it is less than the threshold of 3. Also, the GFI and AGFI indices are equal to 0.94 and 0.91, respectively, which show favorable values, in addition, the factor loadings are also at a suitable level for all items (T>1.65); Therefore, the fit indices of the model are also at a suitable and acceptable level and the research model is confirmed. So that it can be said that the social capital of librarians has a positive and significant effect on the social responsibility of public libraries and the loyalty of library members, and the social responsibility of public libraries has a positive and significant effect on the loyalty of library members. On the other hand, it was found that the greatest effect is related to the influence of librarians' social capital on the social responsibility of public libraries.
Discussion and Conclusion: As one of the influential institutions in the society, public libraries have a prominent role in the production of social capital for different societies, and in principle, one of the main goals of creating and establishing these libraries in societies can be interpreted in order to highlight this role. With regard to the purpose of investigating the effect of social capital of librarians through the mediating role of social responsibility of libraries on the loyalty of members of public libraries in central province, a model was proposed in the field of the relationship between key variables and confirmed after analysis. Strengthening the intensity of loyalty through librarians' attention to the library's social responsibility is very important. The social responsibility of libraries makes customers loyal to the library and return to the library will have positive effects on the growth and development of books and reading. Paying more attention to the customer, compared to paying more attention to profit, brings more sustainable profits to organizations. Also, libraries that are active in fulfilling social responsibility achieve a good image of the library and positive experiences among members, and accordingly, they attract their satisfaction and increase the offer of library membership to others.


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