One area of frustration might relate to e-books and the ability to download them to specific personal devices, and publisher or vendor policies that frustrate both librarians and users. Patron-driven acquisition of e-books may become the norm for public libraries. In the case of academic libraries, how many will move away from large collections of physical books in open stacks with low circulation in favor of licensing agreements with e-book and other vendors that will enable them to purchase only those books that are in high demand? For this to occur, licensing options and models for library lending of e-books must become more sustainable. Although patron-driven acquisition is partly about efficiencies, it aligns a library’s holdings with the demonstrated interests of its users.
Because frustrated customers may simply leave without complaining, the library has no indication of the magnitude of this frustration. Complicating matters, the library may not be at fault if the customer never approached a staff member. On the other hand, it is important not to dismiss frustration (or the potential for it) as merely the customer’s fault. After all, why not ask for help? We are there to assist.
Frustration is the obverse of service quality and satisfaction. Many frustrated customers never return, or if they do, it is infrequently, especially if they find no improvement in the situation. They might also have lessened expectations. Worse still, they tell friends, family, and colleagues of their experiences, and word of mouth is a powerful factor in shaping the reputation of the library in its community.