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NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY: 1960s-2010s

From the 1960s, the New York Public Library did not have a major organisational change until the early 1990s. The New York Public Library began in 1990 to further expand its organisational structure in response to changes in information technology (see Fig. 4.20). The library also started to consider a management strategy that specializes in information technology, as outlined in ‘Strategy for Technology in the 1990s: Expanding Access beyond the Walls of the Library’ (Birman, Harrison, Sam, & Deborah, 1990).

The organisation of the New York Public Library changed dramatically in 2001, as evidenced by hierarchical simplification. The hierarchy of the organisation decreased to four levels. In particular, public services were significantly streamlined compared with those in the 1990s, since (1) the number of divisions related to public services decreased from seven to three, and (2) the number of subject-based groups changed from nine to six. Technical services no longer formed a large, independent organisation, and instead became part of the Research Library, which provides reference services (see Fig. 4.20). The reduction in work handovers associated with the consolidation of the library organisations led to organisational reforms for the entire New York Public Library system. These dramatic organisational reforms also included changing organisation names to more accurately reflect their new purpose and also established under these entities organisations promoting strategic planning and electronic resources. In a related reform, the library also created organisations to handle marketing and capital planning.

Organisationand functions of the New York Public Library (1990)

Figure 4.20 Organisationand functions of the New York Public Library (1990).

Additionally, budget planning and accounting divisions were integrated into the finance and accounting department. This action suggests the library’s efforts to further strengthen funds procurement functions. Overall, the library actu- alised segmentation and specialisation during this period by significantly expanding functions in each area of management.

As for direct services, the library’s streamlining of divisions included technical services and public services concerning print documents. In particular, the Research Library (which functions as the central library) and regional branch libraries had overlapping technical services as of 2001, but the library integrated these functions into the central library (see Fig. 4.21). Subsequently, the library consolidated technical services and public services into one large organisation. The manager of library administration stated that the library was aiming for efficient management by eliminating organisational redundancy and that the elimination of redundancy led to function-based, specialized organisations.

Management reforms that also took place in 2007 aimed primarily to expand the areas of management and electronic documents (see Fig. 4.22). The library established an organisation that promotes electronic documents (digital implementation) directly under the Vice President for Strategic Planning. This change shows the implementation of media-based organisation. At the same time, organisational redundancy was further reduced for public services and technical services concerning print documents. Reducing redundancy led to a transition toward streamlined, functional organisations.

In addition, the New York Public Library has continued to maintain outreach and correctional services for the socially vulnerable, such as immigrants, inmates, people with disabilities, etc. Due to the poor economy in the first decades of the 21st century, the demand for services for the socially vulnerable has increased.

The number of employees has been decreasing after reaching a peak in 2001 (3,737 salaried and hourly employees). Since 2004, the number has never increased, and instead has been declining. A comparison of the numbers for 2007 (3,155, the second peak) and 2011 shows a total decline of 1,422 employees (38.0%). Thus, the New York Public Library decreased its number of employees, although its budget in the early 2000s was increasing (New York Public Library, 1961-2015). This indicates that rather than the lack of funds, the decrease in the number of employees may be due to the adoption of new technology and media that decrease the need for manpower in traditional library tasks.

Organisation and functions of the New York Public Library (2001)

Figure 4.21 Organisation and functions of the New York Public Library (2001).

Organisation and functions of the New York Public Library (2007)

Figure 4.22 Organisation and functions of the New York Public Library (2007).

 
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