Customer research - Phase one report now available

Download the executive summary of the customer research report

Download the full customer research report

The National Library of New Zealand, which includes the Alexander Turnbull Library, recently engaged research company Colmar Brunton to perform a valuable piece of customer research.

This research, performed in two phases, will provide a foundation of customer focused knowledge to help continue with the transformation of the National Library. This transformation began in 2007 with the development of the New Generation Strategy, which will ensure the Library better meet the needs of the modern digital age and 21st century learners.

More about the Library’s New Generation Strategy

The first phase is now complete and provides a clear understanding of the National Library’s current and potential customers and begins to identify their broad service needs. It involved 876 existing customers in quantitative surveys and 16 existing customers in in-depth interviews. 2,083 New Zealanders also participated in a survey of the general population conducted in order to reach people not currently using National Library services.

The research will help the library better understand the customer perspective with insights into their motivations and expectations. It helps to identify how the library’s services could better assist customers and contributes to a body of knowledge that will be used in further developing services.

The second phase, intended for early next year, will further test new and enhanced services to determine if they meet customer expectations and needs.

Phase one – summary of key findings

  • The majority of customers are utilising the National Library’s collections and services both online and onsite at a National Library location. It is clear that the majority of customers prefer to access the National Library collections and services online. This supports the National Library’s efforts to digitise significant numbers of collection items for everyone to discover, use and interact with.
  • The research identified a potential new group of customers for the National Library. These are people from the general public who have a broad interest in New Zealand history and information personally relevant to them. Their service needs differ from current customers as they require a more structured way of understanding the services and collections and searching, but have a very narrow area of interest. They also prefer to visit in person.
  • Understanding customers’ purposes and motivations for using the National Library is important to help the Library better meet the needs and expectations of these people. Through the research, we learned that there were four dimensions that characterised customers’ motivations: the desire to discover to share; to discover to learn; to learn to create; and to create to share. All customers identified with one of these dimensions and each dimension required a different approach to customer services.
  • The Library should enhance its response to the oral and social learning models of Māori in the development of services.
  • The majority of New Zealanders have heard of the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library. Among the general population, 82% had heard of the National Library and 70% had heard of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
  • Customers are utilising the National Library for a diverse range of reasons. There is opportunity to promote a wider range of services and collections to customers so that they can make greater use of the Library.
  • Customers would prefer the National Library to appear more open, accessible, and more innovative than it is now.

For more information

If you have further questions regarding this research, please email