TOKYO METROPOLITAN LIBRARY: 1960s-2010s

In the early 1970s, because many of the Hibiya Library users were students who were preparing for entrance examinations, the library had been unable to fulfil its original role as the central library that supports regional libraries and assists residents in Tokyo with their research activities. Additionally, the library struggled to provide maintenance functions at the central library in Tokyo due to limited availability of book stacks. This led the Tokyo Metropolitan Library to establish the Central Library in Minamiazabu on December 1, 1972, transferring the core function to the Central Library from the Hibiya Library (Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, 1994). During this period, the primary functions of the Central Library were defined based on five points: (1) mutual cooperation with municipal libraries in Tokyo, (2) reference service duties, (3) document circulation to municipal libraries in Tokyo, (4) copy services and (5) services for people with disabilities (Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, 2003). Therefore, users were not permitted to borrow books from the Central Library. The functions for the Hibiya Library were based on (1) book checkout service for individuals, (2) library perusal and consultation work for adults and young adults, (3) children’s materials centre and (4) audiovisual materials centre, clearly defining the division of roles and responsibilities with the Central Library. The following sections examine the organisational structure and operations in detail (Table 4.7).

In 1973, a year after the Central Library opened, the Tokyo Metropolitan Library increased the level of organisational hierarchy by dividing an organisation consisting of one section into the Management Department and the Collections Department. As a result, the number of organisations in the Central Library increased to 52 from 15.

The Management Department comprised the General Affairs Division and the Planning Assistance Division. In particular, the Planning Assistance Division underwent significant changes during this process. In addition to serving the management and planning functions for the entire library, providing assistance to regional libraries within Tokyo was also added to its primary duties.

The Collections Department consisted of the Acquisitions Division, Technical Services Division, Reference Services Division and Serials Division. Due to a significant increase in the document maintenance functions associated with the establishment of the new library building, the Central Library was required to promptly collect and arrange the scale of document volumes, which had not been collected by other public libraries in the past. In the Collections Department, the Technical Services Division, which primarily provides technical services, underwent the most significant changes. While the Technical Services Division had previously been offering technical services such as collections, classification and cataloguing on its own, it was divided into the Acquisitions Division and the Technical Services Division to emphasise greater efficiency in its operations. Among all technical services, the Acquisitions Division was mainly responsible for selection and collection tasks, while the Technical Services Division primarily had classification, cataloguing and equipment duties. In this way, the Central Library implemented further specialisation and segmentation of the organisations by reorganising technical service organisations into functional entities from subject-based entities. The library also set up new cataloguing rules during this operational streamlining of

Year

Department

Divisions

Type of library

Type of

Management

General

Technical

Public

IT

Total

Number of

work

organisation

and Planning

Affairs

Services

Services

System

librarians

1957

General Affairs

Coordination

Functional

2

10

0

0

0

12

30

Technical

Technical

Function

0

0

6

0

0

6

17

Services

Services

(Media-

based)

Reference

Public

Media-based

0

0

0

7

0

7

21

Services

Services

(Functional)

Collection

Public/

Functional

0

0

3

10

0

13

21

Development

Technical

(Media-

Services

based)

Total

2

10

9

17

0

38

89

5.3%

26.3%

23.7%

44.7%

0.0%

100.0%

1972

-

General Affairs

Coordination

Functional

2

11

0

4

0

17

-

Technical

Technical

Functional

1

2

12

0

0

15

-

Service

Services

(Media-

based)

Collection

Technical

Functional

0

1

3

6

0

10

-

Development

Services

Reference

Public

Subject-based

0

2

0

13

0

15

Service

Services

(Media-

based)

New Library

Project Team

Functional

1

2

0

0

0

3

-

Building

Development

Office

Total

4

18

15

23

0

60

-

6.7%

30.0%

25.0%

38.3%

0.0%

100.0%

1973

Management

General Affairs

Coordination

Functional

i

51

0

0

0

52

27

Planning and

Management

Functional

ii

38

2

6

1

58

12

Cooperation

Collections

Acquisitions

Technical

Subject-based

5

23

51

0

0

79

29

Services

(Functional)

Technical

Technical

Subject-based

7

22

85

0

0

114

30

Services

Services

(Functional)

Reference

Public

Subject-based

10

108

87

91

0

296

55

Services

Services

(Media-

based)

Serials

Technical/

Functional

4

32

73

33

0

142

15

Public

Services

Total

38

274

298

130

1

741

168

5.1%

37.0%

40.2%

17.5%

0.1%

100.0%

1998

Management

General Affairs

Coordination

Functional

4

55

0

0

0

59

20

Planning and

Management

Functional

15

38

6

1

4

64

17

Cooperation

Collections

Acquisitions and

Technical

Subject-based

12

64

151

0

1

228

55

Technical

Services

Service

(Functional)

Reference

Public

Subject

27

166

130

83

4

410

86

Services

Services

(Media-

based)

Serials

Technical/

Media-based

6

57

65

33

3

164

32

Public

Services

(Functional)

Total

64

380

352

117

12

925

210

6.9%

41.1%

38.1%

12.6%

1.3%

100.0%

(Continued)

Year

Department

Divisions

Type of library

Type of

Management

General

Technical

Public

IT

Total

Number of

work

organisation

and Planning

Affairs

Services

Services

System

librarians

2002

Management

General Affairs

Coordination

Functional

4

60

0

0

0

64

20

Planning and

Management

Functional

15

88

10

3

15

131

22

Management

Information

Collection

Technical

Functional

18

98

148

0

12

276

52

Services

Management

Services

(Subject/

Media-

based)

Information

Public

Subject(Media-

27

244

293

180

24

768

117

Service

(Reference)

Services

based)

Total

64

490

451

183

51

1,239

211

5.2%

39.5%

36.4%

14.8%

4.1%

100.0%

2010

Management

General Affairs

Coordination

Functional

30

261

0

0

0

291

16

Planning and

Management/

Functional

21

66

5

8

20

120

16

Management

IT

Information

Collection

Technical

Functional

21

132

104

5

6

268

35

Services

Management

Services

(Subject/

Media-

based)

Information

Public

Functional

47

164

96

71

16

394

46

Service

Services

(Subject/

(Reference)

Media-

based)

Total

119

623

205

84

42

1,073

113

11.1%

58.1%

19.1%

7.8%

3.9%

100.0%

technical services (Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, 2003). Public services were provided by the Reference Services Division, which comprised subject-based organisational structures such as humanities, social science, natural sciences, literature, Tokyo-related documents, and other areas. Additionally, public services included media-based organisational structures such as audio-visual materials.

A distinctive aspect of public services in 1973 is that the Serial Publications Division was already established. Due to increased volumes of documents, the library changed the serial publication related organisation to a separate body and started to comprehensively conduct operations related to serial publications under one division. One division took part in duties ranging from technical services to public services, as all of the duties - such as collections, classification, cataloguing, equipment and user services - were conducted in the Serials Division. The reasons for this are that the library needed to collect serial publications actively due to inadequate distribution systems for these publications and was implementing original methods for processing serial publications (Ogura, 1974). Thus the library implemented organisational segmentation based on the type of document and allowed organisations to have a series of functions for each document-type level. While this enhanced the level of services, the number of organisations and employees also increased, with overlapping library functions at each document-type level.

After 1973, the library had no significant changes, and in 2008, the Central Library greatly simplified the organisation to prepare for renovation work the next year. Although reorganisation took place in 2008, the author selected 2010 because document availability was confirmed. The most notable change in this year occurred in the organisational structure of public services. While the Information Service Division adopted subject- and media-based organisations consisting of five sections, including documents consultation, social science, humanities, natural sciences and newspaper/magazine services, the library integrated these into three functional organisations comprising service planning, research assistance I and research assistance II. In other words, the library completely changed to a functional organisational structure from the subject-based Information Service, since it was no longer possible to maintain the division based on subject. Subsequently, the library implemented a large-scale layoff, particularly concentrated in the public services area, where many employees had been placed in the past. The library explained this matter on a superficial level as consolidating reference-related windows to one and creating an organisation that provides one-stop services to library users, or a flexible and resilient organisation that can promptly respond to library users’ needs (Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, 2012). Moreover, the reorganisation fUrther reduced the number of sections within organisations to 15. Contrary to this trend, however, tasks related to digital media, which emerged in 2008, caused the creation of an additional departmental structure within the library. Most recently, the Tokyo Metropolitan Library implemented organisational reform aimed at integrated management by changing to a functional organisation.

The organisational structure in the 2010s has not changed dramatically since 2008. However, the number of operations related to document digitisation has been increasing. Specific examples of such operations include providing online access to the ‘Edo-Tokyo Digital Contents’ and innovation of the library systems. The Edo-Tokyo Digital Contents have been continuously expanded (Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, 2012). This change in organisational structure can be assumed to have occurred as a result of the information technology environment associated with document digitisation taking place around 2010 along with document preservation.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Library places organisations that take part in such tasks under the Planning Management Division of the Administration Department in the Library Information System Section. The library did not pursue externalisation of information system-related organisations and instead placed these organisations under the Planning Management Division, in charge of management and planning. This shows a unique management decision made by the Tokyo Metropolitan Library. It can be assumed that the IT-related departments are considered significant to the library.

The drastic organisational reform in 2008 rapidly accelerated the streamlining process at the library. The number of employees, which remained unchanged until 2002, has declined, and the organisational structure has been significantly simplified. In particular, the library started to adopt functional organisations instead of the past subject-based organisations in the public service area. This eliminated the subject-based organisations from the Tokyo Metropolitan Library, except sections that specialise in regional matters.

In addition, in order to assist underprivileged individuals in the community, the Tokyo Metropolitan Library joined the Library Support Group [Toshokan-Kaientai], an initiative started by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology ofJapan in 2010. As of 2012, the Library Support Group consists of 49 libraries that volunteer to work with a Japanese government employment agency to provide support to the impoverished.

 
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