Old Wine in a New Bottle: Customer Orientation in Librarianship

Publication Title

Reference Services Review

Publication Date


Document Type





customer orientation, customer service, customer service management


Library and Information Science


Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to explore the research on the personality trait of customer orientation (CO) and consider how it may be applicable to customer service work in libraries.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews business research literature on CO and relates it to library science literature on customer service.

Findings – CO is a measurable personality trait that is shown to predict customer service behaviors in service employees. Research also shows that CO is associated with customers’ perceptions of service quality.

Practical implications – Libraries should prioritize CO in their hiring, training and recognition processes.

Originality/value – CO is a well-researched personality trait in the business literature. The original contribution of this paper is to report the research on customer orientation, relate it to similar concepts in librarianship and suggest ways libraries can integrate an awareness of CO in their human resources processes.

Keywords Customer orientation, Customer service, Customer service management

Paper type Literature review