Valuing Corporate Libraries: A Senior Management Survey

By Matarazzo, James M.; Prusak, Laurence | Special Libraries, Spring 1990 | Go to article overview

Valuing Corporate Libraries: A Senior Management Survey


Matarazzo, James M., Prusak, Laurence, Special Libraries


Valuing Corporate Libraries: A Senior Management Survey

Background and Methodology

The Special Libraries Association, in a report from its Task Force on the Value of the Information Professional, highlighted a need for additional research on how the corporate world values its libraries and information centers. Specifically, the Task Force recommended a further study of the value placed by upper-level executives on both the information professional and the corporate library/information center. This study was conducted in response to that recommendation.

The survey focused on two needs: to enhance the body of research on how work traditionally associated with special libraries is valued, and to identify emerging trends for special libraries. The questions posed to corporate officials were selected to shed new light on these subjects across a broad spectrum of the United States' business and industry. Hopefully, the findings will assist corporate librarians in formulating plans and strategies.

In conducting the survey, we followed an approach different from that commonly found in today's self-referential professional literature. That is, rather than interview the librarians, we interviewed those individuals to whom the head of the library reports. These corporate officials represented various functions and have different titles. The most common functions reported were finance and administration, marketing, and information services. Titles ranged from manager to senior vice president. Only two of the interviewees had any library experience or library education, an interesting fact in itself.

The survey sample of 164 companies was developed by the authors from an analysis of contributions by the for-profit sector to the gross national product (GNP). Selected firms, chosen by the size of the firm or by its importance to a specific industry, thus represented significant contributors to the major sectors of the U.S. gross national product. The process also gave us a sample representative of United States business while avoiding undue concentration on "information intensive" industries or, conversely, on struggling industries with libraries under obvious survival pressures. As noted in the appendix to the report, the interview list developed has a range and balance that reflect adequately the scope of businesses in the Unit-ed States.

The study focused on larger companies because they were judged as more likely to have fully functioning libraries and to have had these services for a reasonable period of time. We selected this approach because we wanted thoughtful and seasoned commentary from those interviewed.

Our expectations were met. Because the executives interviewed must frequently justify the libraries to senior management or to a board of directors, many already had given some though to our questions and were well prepared to answer them. Their responses focused on issues of library organization, staff sizes, values of services and staff, primary users, and ways to measure a library's value. Trends projected for future roles also have been summarized.

Library Service Organization

The libraries in the 164 companies follow no common organizational scheme, although use of a central library, in some form, proved most typical. Of the libraries surveyed, 31 percent have a central library with satellites, 24 percent maintain a central library only, and 20 percent support a central library with an archieve. On the other hand, 21 percent of the corporations surveyed reported only satellite libraries, and 5 percent have libraries serving a small unit or individual in the organization or collecting specific forms of literature.

Size of Staff

Staff sizes at these special libraries clearly tend to be small. The majority (55 percent) have staffs of five full-time equivalents or fewer. Another 21 percent of the libraries in our sample have staffs of five to ten full-time equivalents. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Valuing Corporate Libraries: A Senior Management Survey
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.