New perspective for a network of libraries

New perspective for a network of libraries

The executive board of a Provincial Library Depositary

Assignment

The executive board of a Provincial Library Depositary (PBC) was concerned that its own organisation and the affiliated libraries were not responding sufficiently to the rapid technological advances in digital information. The organisation was in danger of losing touch with younger users and staff, local authorities were considering alternative channels, and communication was being stifled by structural problems.

Approach

After consulting with the relevant stakeholders: libraries, local authorities, and the employees, a two-pronged approach was formulated.

The first part was aimed at the improvement of the relationship between the affiliated libraries and the PBC. Representatives from the more than 20 organisations involved initiated activities to reconnect people with each other, to establish an intensive dialogue about the situation and to eliminate any misunderstanding.

The second part involved the development of a policy plan by a representative cross-section drawn from the local and provincial authorities and the directors, managers, and employees, which focused on:

  • restructuring of the composition and consolidation of library organisations;
  • intensification of collaboration between the libraries themselves, and between the libraries and other public organisations;
  • redefining the relationship with the funding agency;
  • modernisation of the service delivery.

Results

The collaboration between the PBC and the libraries has been given a major boost. The realisation has got through that standing still is the same as going backwards, and the libraries have to make up the lost ground in order to re-establish their public role as an information provider.

The jointly-developed strategy was adopted as a guideline for the following phases, which will include a merger process and the reallocation of funding from the various government bodies.

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