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Organisation and Functions of Harvard Library (2009)

In 2009, the Harvard Library simplified the organisation by integration (see Fig. 4.5). There were two reasons for integration: the first was to reduce budget amidst a deteriorating economy (Carens, 2012); the second was a strategic devotion to information systems, digitisation of collections, and preservation of materials by conversion to electronic media. In specific terms, the Harvard University established an Office for Scholarly Communication under the HUL and an Office for Information Systems, which support scholarly communication by using information technologies. These organisations are in charge of how to manage and distribute academic information appearing in ever-increasing electronic collections; it was necessary to construct a platform for scholarly communication in the HL. During this period, through organisational reform at the Harvard Library, many new library functions became strategically placed under the purview of management.

In contrast, at the Widener Library, managerial posts were eliminated. Many of the remaining organisations began to handle conventional library duties, and their services started to decrease. Remaining services at the Widener Library included a division responsible for providing user services (Access Services), a division responsible for building collections (Collection Development), and a division responsible for research support that focused primarily on reference services (Widener Research Services). These reforms meant that the structure of the library organisation became purely functional. The impact of this rationalisation of services manifested as a dramatic reduction in staffing numbers; in 2009, there were 75 employees (81 including managers) at the Widener Library (Harvard University Library, 2009a).

Many departments adopted function-based organisation in 2009. For example, Collection Development, Collection Management, Technical Services and Research, Teaching and Learning Services were established to perform general library duties. These divisions of the Widener Library were once organised by subject, but following reorganisation, these services became organised by function. In other words, function-based organisation was applied across the entire HCL system.

Organisation and functions of Harvard Library (2009)

Figure 4.5 Organisation and functions of Harvard Library (2009).

(Continued)

Figure 4.5 (Continued)

Furthermore, the Harvard Library strategically managed the Office for Information Systems, and the HCL had a preservation and digitisation division for actual digitisation. This means that the Harvard Library transformed from using a conventional organisational structure and operations to (1) enhancing management functions, (2) integrating and centralising library services, and (3) creating divisions in charge of digitising materials and electronic resources.

 
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