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GENERAL STRATEGIES FOR LIBRARIES

General strategies for libraries consist of (1) subject-based knowledge and information services by collections; (2) coping with new media and the increase in document formats; (3) effective collection distribution and archival; (4) sharing collections and bilateral cooperation; and (5) expanding openness and outreach (see Table 5.1).

The first type of basic strategy, subject-based knowledge and information services by collections, is based on the public services and technical services supporting it. Public services and technical services are unique characteristics of libraries and employed by all libraries in the world; these can be considered basic and fundamental library services.

Librarians need to develop, select, acquire, classify, catalogue, and preserve collections based on subjects, and must develop services based on these collections. For this strategy, libraries basically create a subject-based organisation. This subject-based organisation is a significant element for libraries. As can be seen from the research in Chapter 4, Evolution of Library Organisation and Librarian Specialities, many libraries have decreased their budgets, increased efficiency, and reduced redundancy in their organisations. Technical services have gradually moved toward a function-based organisation in search of efficiency, and subject-based organisations currently have an affinity with reference services. This means

Table 5.1 General strategies for libraries

General strategies Summary External and internal

environment impacts on strategies

Subject-based knowledge and information sendees by collections

Provides fundamental library services; libraries continuously provide public and technical services to users for both print and digital media

Not dependent on any environment

Coping ndth new media and the increase in document formats

Deals with the ever-increasing amount of publications and new electronic resources

Changes in information technology; changes in user information behaviour

Effective collection organisation, maintenance and archival

Consists of maintaining materials for the user and deploying them in a user-friendly fashion

Collection deterioration over time; changes in information technology

Sharing collections and bilateral cooperation

Uses sharing systems like OCLC, thereby advancing the joint ownership of collections; libraries continue to provide information systems and cooperative services

Library systems’ budget limitations as set by affiliated organisations (e.g.,a university)

Expanding openness and outreach

Due to economic depressions or increasing digital space, librarians expand their services to reach users who are isolated from library services

Economic depression; digitisation

Main organisational Core knowledge and skills structure

Subject-based,

Function-based

organisation

Special knowledge about subjects and collections; skills for public services and technical services

Media-based

organisation

Knowledge about media format and information technology; creating metadata and classifying both print and electronic collections

Subject-based, Media- based organisation

Knowledge about media formats and information technology

Function-based

organisation

Project management and coordination skills

Function-based,

Media-based

organisation

Education and communication skills with citizens; digitisation skills for books and documents; knowledge about metadata and copyright; knowledge about marketing and remote access services

that libraries have strategically maintained and enhanced subject-based organisation and subject-based services for their users.

The second type of general strategy is coping with new media and the increase in document formats. In an effort to deal with the ever-increasing amount of serial publications and new electronic resources, libraries have begun adopting organisational structures based on the media format they need to handle. Similarly, libraries are earnestly improving their procedures to manage changes in document formats. Coping with changes to the format of the books/journals comprising the core of the library is an unavoidable part of library management. For instance, from the late 1990s to the present, libraries have been developing electronic resource-based divisions in order to cope with new electronic documents. Librarians in electronic resources divisions acquired knowledge on new electronic resources, and developed new systems and services to provide those electronic resources to users. In the 1970s and 1980s, this management approach was utilised by librarians to deal with the increasing number of publishing journals and new types of media, such as microfilms, CDs, and multimedia. This strategy requires libraries to expand the functions of media-based divisions by themselves, such as selection, acquisition, classification, and the development of information systems and user services. This means that the strategic direction is different from pursuing efficiency.

The third type of general strategy, effective collection organisation, maintenance and archival, is directly related to the collection comprising the heart and soul of the library, and consists of maintaining materials for the user and deploying them in a user-friendly fashion. This strategy is strongly related to the first basic strategy, subject-based knowledge and information services by collections. Regardless of the material format, the on-going accumulation and maintenance of the entire collection is the most important task faced by the library manager. This strategy is highly related to library buildings, facilities, and space planning in libraries.

The fourth type of general strategy is sharing collections and bilateral cooperation. As with the previous three strategies, this one is also adopted by all libraries. There are limitations on library budgets, buildings, and facilities, and one library simply cannot store every type of document. Therefore, all libraries cooperate using OCLC, ReCAP, NELINET, RLG, and similar systems, thus advancing the joint ownership of collections. In this way, libraries can provide extensive information systems and also strengthen cooperation with other libraries. For example, in the 2000s and 2010s, Columbia University Libraries and Cornell University

Library developed the cooperation project 2CUL, working and cooperating together in order to increase working efficiency. The joint ownership of materials and bilateral cooperation are conducted for both print and electronic documents. In the business world, companies do not always cooperate with each other, but in the library sphere, this general strategy of sharing collections and bilateral cooperation has been continuously adopted over time.

Lastly is expanding openness and outreach to communities. In academic and local communities, librarians need to expand openness by digitising their collections in order to extend access to digital resources, and expanding their physical branches to become more embedded in each community. By doing so, librarians are able to expand the openness of libraries and strengthen the relationship between users and information services and resources.

 
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