Strategic Planning and Management for Library Managers

Strategic Planning and Management for Library Managers

Strategic Planning and Management for Library Managers

Strategic Planning and Management for Library Managers

Synopsis

Libraries enter into strategic planning by a variety of routes, from dynamic technology and rising costs to budget cuts and pressure for change. In this book, Joe Matthews guides library managers towards a greater understanding of the role and attendant responsibilities of strategic planning. Academic, public, and special librarians alike will benefit from Matthews' cogent explanations, real-life examples, and time-tested recommendations.

In the process, Matthews addresses such intrinsic questions as: Why is it important that I add strategic thinking to my managerial arsenal? How will strategic planning benefit my library, and is there more than one way to go about it? What is the best way of monitoring and updating our strategic plan for maximum effect? In each case, he debunks false impressions, attends to the goal of providing good service, and identifies at least one new way to communicate the library's strategic importance in the lives of its customers. Academic, public, and special librarians alike will benefit from Matthews' cogent explanations, real-life examples, and time-tested recommendations.

Excerpt

Ever since Donald Riggs's Strategic Planning for Library Managers, the library literature has paid little attention to the topic of strategic management and strategic planning. Yet the importance of strategies and the vital role that strategies play within any library cannot be overstated. The purpose of this book is to explore strategies, demystify some of the persistent false impressions about strategies, identify broad categories of strategies that a library may wish to employ, discuss the role of strategies in planning and the delivery of library services, and identify some new ways in which to communicate the impact of the library' strategies on the lives of its customers.

Since the introduction of the Internet, public, academic, school, government, research and special libraries have moved into a significant activity that revolves around the topic of how to integrate the delivery of digital library services into the more traditional library services. Thus, the task that these libraries are engaged in is not the invention of a virtual library but rather they are involved in the process of re-inventing an esteemed organization.

At some point during the last 20 years most libraries moved from a focus on the growth of their collections to recognition that the most dominant force driving the library was change. No longer able to rely on the status quo of providing traditional library services, the library was confronted with a number of forces that were forcing it to adapt or cease being relevant in the lives of its customers. Yet for a great many libraries the reality of the need for change is ignored and it is business as usual. The library continues to operate using a set of policies that are the result of traditions, beliefs, rules, and unchallenged assumptions. This is a classic case of [let's stick our heads in the sand] so the library can ignore the fact that it is losing its relevance in the life of its customers.

Thomas Kuhn's notion of a paradigm shift has been applied not only in the scientific arena but also in a variety of social settings and subject disciplines, including libraries. Yet as Charles Lowry has noted, the paradigm shift is not in libraries but is to be found in the organization and delivery of information. Given this shift, it is incumbent upon libraries to reexamine their existing strategies for delivering information to their customers to ensure that the needs of their customers are being met. Such a reexamination requires some strategic planning as well as the need to restructure a library's policies and procedures.

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