University Libraries in Kerala: A SWOT Analysis for Marketing
Kumar, Suresh P. K., Library Philosophy and Practice
University libraries can play a very important role in the higher education sector. In fact a few university libraries in India are playing an excellent job of producing knowledgeable citizens. But with the advancement in information and communication technology university libraries in India have faced with a number of challenges. In Kerala, University libraries have an important academic role in the teaching, research, and service that universities undertake. These libraries are facing serious competition from commercial information services providers which essentially use the resources available from libraries and analyze and repackage the same for customized use by the clients and online resources are emerging in a big way that will question the role and form of university libraries in future. The SWOT analysis provides an objective assessment as to whether the library is able to deal with the environment. Strength is a resource or capability an organization possesses to successfully achieve its objectives. A weakness is a debility, fault, defect, or limitation in the organization that prevents the achievements of its objectives. An opportunity is any conducive or favorable situation in the organization's external environment. It allows the library to enhance or improve its position. A threat, on the other hand, is an unfavorable situation, a barrier or constraint that may pose problems in the smooth working of the library or it may even damage it. Naturally, SWOT analysis allows strategies to be planned that can successfully utilize Strengths and Opportunities to overcome the Threats and Weakness facing the library.
Review of Related Literature
Lali and Vijayakumar attempted an objective analysis of the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of the Kerala University Central Library and works out a strategy for effective marketing of a host of information services and products that can be generated by the library without a structural re-engineering.
The analysis showed that the strength outweigh weakness, even though the threats are quite strong, there were ample opportunities that stand as silver lines.
Ugah (2007) examined the infrastructure, administration, staff, collections, and technical and reader's \ services of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Library in terms of their support for the university's teaching and research missions, highlighting strengths, weakness, threats and opportunities (SWOT).
Strengths and Weaknesses: A Comparative Analysis
The strength and weakness of the university libraries in Kerala in terms of the collection, staff strength, qualification of the staff and infrastructure are discussed in the following sections.
Collection development is the process of making certain that the library meets the information needs of its user population in timely and economic manner, using information resources produced both inside and outside of the organization. Effective collection development requires creating a plan to correct collection weakness while maintaining its strengths. Though university libraries in Kerala have no written policy, they have sound collections. The collection includes documentary resources and electronic resources. The details of the current documentary resources of the university libraries in Kerala are given in Table 1
Table 1. Document collection of university libraries Resources KUL MGUL CUSATL CHMKL Books 315772 43000 62844 101946 Back Volumes of Periodicals 35250 3400 5750 12780 Theses 5850 1200 740 2680 Standards 50 - 280 - Patents 700 - 30000 - Maps 75 - - - Microforms 375 - - 250
Table 1 shows that KUL has the largest collection of documentary resources followed by CHMKL. …