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Enhancing Visitor Facilities

This involves improving the library building and facilities so patrons can effectively study and conduct research. University libraries with small budgets and numerous facilities restrictions tend to focus on this aspect. This is because the smaller the library building, the more important it is for existing facilities to be effectively utilised, as user information behaviour changes. Examples include the New York University Libraries, a multistorey building with limited space located in the centre of New York City, and the UMass Amherst Libraries with its miniscule budget.

This strategy often centres on equipment installation in learning com- mons/information commons, but there are cases in which it is used in conjunction with another specific strategy. For example, the New York University Libraries have tried to enhance visitor facilities and consultation services. Consequently, users have increased dramatically, indicating its success.

Service and Operational Improvement

This specific strategy involves emphasising efficient administration and improving service and operations, which aims to elevate the quality of services provided to the user. At the very least, even if the user services targeted by general strategies and specific strategies are not enhanced much, improvement can be made in more back office operations or organisation. Please note that the general procedural improvements made as part of everyday affairs are not included in this strategy.

Because libraries, as nonprofits, depend on external budgets, improving their profitability is extremely difficult. Thus, service and operational improvement strategies often aim primarily at cost reductions. Originally, however, these strategies sought to improve existing service quality.

One example of such a strategy is reorganising the library based on function. This is because by integrating the library structure into specific function-based units, the proficiency of librarians is increased, and it becomes possible to operate the library at lower costs. Representative examples this can be seen with the National Diet Library, Tokyo Metropolitan Library, and the University of Arizona Libraries. However, if the objective is unclear and importance is placed only on rationalising operations, it is possible that the knowledge and skills gained thus far regarding library operations may be lost. As cutting costs was not the original aim when introducing this strategy, libraries must be careful of this potentially harmful effect.

Moreover, if the funds saved from the implementation of this strategy are not invested in new services, library facilities will soon become dated. In this way, not only can operations be rationalised, but also service quality can be improved simultaneously.


This chapter expanded on some material from the following article: Masanori Koizumi (2016), Theory of Management Strategies for Libraries: Triggers for Innovative and Fundamental Changes, in David Baker, Wendy Evans (ed.) Innovation in Libraries and Information Services (Advances in Library Administration and Organisation, Volume 35) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 63—85.

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