Relevance of Ranganathan's Laws of Library Science in Library Marketing

Article excerpt

Introduction

Libraries and information centers arean indispensable part of any academic or research institution in India. Information transfer and dissemination of information have long been recognized as essential elements for research and development activities. Libraries and information centers put lot of effort and energy into designing information services and products and distributingthem to satisfy their users. Despite their best efforts, users sometimes feel that they are not being adequately and appropriately served. The best way to overcome this problem is by designing and developing an appropriate marketing strategy for LIS products and services.

Marketing

The Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK ("Marketing," n.d.), defines marketing as the management process which is responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customer requirements profitably. Kotler (1985) says that marketing is "an act of analysis, planning, implementation, and control of carefully-formulated programmes designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values with target markets for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives." These two definitions draw our attention to the following:

* marketing is a managerial process involving analysis, planning, implementation and control

* marketing is concerned with carefully formulated programmes--not random actions--designed to achieve desired responses

* marketing seeks to bring about voluntary exchange

* marketing selects target markets and does not seek to be all things to all people

* marketing is directly correlated to the achievement of organizational objectives

* marketing places emphasis on the target market's (consumer's) needs and desire rather than on the producer's preferences.

Since customers are given the top priority, service providers should remember that customers are the most important people to be served in library and information centers. They are not dependent on the library; rather, the library depends on them. They are part of the library. They are the people who bring their wants and needs and we are there to meet their needs. Marketing is a management process that includes: marketing plan, marketing research, market segmentation, marketing mix (Graves and Wulff, 1990). In creating a marketing plan, a library must concentrate on mission analysis, resource analysis, strategic planning and monitoring, and evaluation of the tasks performed. Market research is done to assess market information needs by stating research objectives, developing a research strategy, knowing target market characteristics, etc. Market segmentation is defined as a group of customers with similar or related characteristics who have common needs and wants. Market segmentation is usually divided into:

* Demographic Segmentation

* Socio-Economic Segmentation

* Geographic Segmentation

Marketing mix includes products (such as books, periodicals, literal programmes, bibliographies, annual reports, statistical surveys, and compilations and services such as electronic resources); price (in the form of credit, discount, cash, etc.); Place (including coverage, distribution channels, inventory, locations, and transport), and Promotion (which is done through advertising, personal selling, and public relations).

Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science

During his eighty-year lifespan, Dr. S.R. Ranganathan made contributed many new ideas to library and information science. He wrote 60 books and about 2,000 research articles in his life. Really, Dr. Ranganathan was a multifaceted personality. He devoted his life to the cause of development of library science in India. Dr. Ranganathan enunciated various laws, principles, canons, theories, etc., in LIS. His theories are based on scientific principles. They are accepted universally and are relevant even today. …