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General Strategies and Specific Strategies for Libraries


  • 5.1 Overview of Strategies for Libraries 205
  • 5.2 General Strategies for Libraries 206
  • 5.3 Specific Strategies for Libraries 209
  • 5.3.1 Subject Specialisation 209
  • 5.3.2 Equalising Social Opportunities 212
  • 5.3.3 Consultation Services 212
  • 5.3.4 Sophisticated Research Services 213
  • 5.3.5 Expanding Editing and Publishing Functions 213
  • 5.3.6 Enhancing Visitor Facilities 214
  • 5.3.7 Service and Operational Improvement 214

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance, 1841.


Regardless of the library type involved, the majority of management strategies considered for libraries have rarely been implemented in an appropriate fashion. Instead, strategic management and the actual organisations were often treated separately, with planning operations and practical affairs of the library frequently not working in tandem. Thus, libraries had little experience when it came to considering strategic management. Moreover, designing strategic management differs greatly from traditional library duties. In a nutshell, librarians were inexperienced regarding the business of formulating management strategies, and implementation thus proved difficult.

Nonprofits such as hospitals and educational institutions have recently been targeted by management researchers for their distinctive

management strategies. This is because for nonprofits with distinctly different principles and objectives, it is essential to have a management strategy specific to the organisation in question. In other words, unique management strategies that are consistent with libraries’ primary objectives and characteristics are needed, especially as libraries are nonprofits.

As we can see in the previous chapters, libraries have unique characteristics. Strategies for libraries can be explained in terms of general strategies and specific strategies. General strategies transcend library type, and often are comprised of the services, operations, and operational structures common to most libraries; these management strategies are adopted by all libraries. Libraries continue to utilise these management strategies even as the economic and information environments continue to change, as does the information behaviour of users dependent on this information.

Specific libraries adopt specific strategies based on their environment and library type. Both general and specific strategies can be used in tandem.

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