Greek university libraries in the European context : a comparative evaluation
The aim of this study is to provide a comprehensive examination of university libraries in Greece seen in the European context. To this end, the thesis: i. discusses the context in which Greek university libraries have developed and the challenges they face; ii. examines the factors that affect their operation and development; iii. assesses their role in university education in supporting the informational, educational and research needs of the academic community; iv. compares their position with similar libraries in other member states of the European Union and in Scandinavia; v. suggests actions needed in order that university libraries in Greece should develop further and play their role better. In this study a standard model for university libraries is developed and performance indicators and methodologies which are proper for this model are used. University libraries are examined as open, dynamic, multi-goal seeking and purposeful systems. They consist of resources which are transformed into outputs for the benefit of their users. Inputs, outputs and outcomes can be measured in a greater or less accuracy but measurement itself is meaningful only if it is placed in some kind of context. University libraries operate within a given environment. They receive their inputs from this environment, and their outputs are used by people or other systems in the environment. They are also constrained by factors in this environment such as the social, economic, educational, technological, etc. In this study not only the performance indicators themselves but also the relationships between them that are indicative of performance were analysed. The main findings of the study are related to the environment within which Greek University Libraries operate, the organisational structures, and administrative practices applied, issues concerning staff and the way they affect library development, the provision of library material, the organisation of technical services, and the reader services that are provided. Library performance is assessed in a number of ways. The indicators produced and comparisons with the state of development of university libraries in other European countries show that Greek University libraries fall behind them in terms of almost all indicators used. It appears that Greek University libraries are weak in meeting the needs of their users in both education and research.