|International Reader in the Management of Library, Information and Archive Services (UNESCO, 1987, 684 p.)|
|3. Planning the service|
Management in socialist society is inconceivable without planning. The principle of the planned development of the new society and of its economy, science, technology and culture was emphasized even in the works of the classical authors of Marxism-Leninism, and in their resolutions the party and government pay much attention to improving the planning system. Librarianship in Czechoslovakia forms an integral part of - and is an active factor in - the political, economic and cultural development of the advanced socialist society on the basis of planning, i.e. pursuing a given course and a long-term objective.
The work of libraries must be so organized that it is geared as closely as possible to the implementation of the party programmes and influences effectively, by means of its specific forms and methods, further development of our society. With a view to improving the quality Of Planning in the library sector, both the Ministry of Culture and lower administrative echelons issue directives, methodological guidelines and principles as to what should be planned, when and how.
Let us take a look at how we are coping with these essentially simple questions in practice.
First, a little theory. Planning is a systematic balancing of the aims and resources of the object of planning in accordance with the directives and decisions of the agent of management. The result of planning, or rather of the planning process, is a plan in the shape of a system of binding organizational measures, procedures and stipulations which lead to the achievement of the set aim. Thus the plan is a binding directive, a specifically approved norm which applies at all levels of management entrusted with the plan's implementation, which organizes the object of planning and its activity and which prompts it to achieve a socially desirable aim. The object of planning is in our case the entire library sector, a library network or an individual library, while the agent of management might be the Ministry of Culture as the central management authority, or a national committee, etc. By activity we mean the services offered by libraries and by socially desirable aim the fullest possible satisfaction of library users' information requirements. This is a rather simplified way of looking at things, but it is quite adequate for our purpose here.
Librarianship in Czechoslovakia draws on long-term and short-term plans. Long-term plans (outline plans) are mostly compiled for a term of five years and are based on studies and forecasts that look 10-20 years ahead. The source of information about the object of planning is the forecast, which takes a broad view of the object's possible future and establishes basic development trends and the emergence, growth or decline of environmental influences affecting the object of the forecast, such as education, publishing and so forth. On the basis of the forecast development concepts are elaborated which then find their concrete expression in the plan. The forecast sets out a number of alternatives for the future and different ways of reaching them, while the concept, which stems from the forecast, sets out the optimal alternative for the future; and the plan, which stems from the concept, specifies the most effective way of implementing the optimal alternative. The characteristic feature of the plan, as distinct from the forecast, it is feasibility, which, however, depends on the realism with which it was drafted, on an objective assessment of the material, manpower and other potential of the object of planning. Long-range studies and forecasts ensure the continuity of the planning process, while the five-year plan provides more precise data for the given five-year period and in turn provides the point of departure for executive plans. While long-term studies are concerned with general formulations, the five-year plan specifies concrete tasks and quantified indicators to be achieved by the object of planning during the set period, and it indicates the resources by which this is to be done.
The prerequisite for systematic and planned management is the short-term plan (executive plan), which specifies the aims and resources of the object's activity for the set period and helps to tap unused potential to provide opportunities for further development. The most important plan in library management is the annual plan, which, through its highly concrete specification of aims, resources and forms of work, provides every opportunity for subsequent strict verification of its implementation. The annual plan as a rule specifies a library's main tasks for the set period as well as other concrete tasks, depending on its size and organizational structure. The plan's basic structure is as follows: the plan of main tasks; the executive plan, including special tasks; and the organizational and material backup plan. (For further information see bibliography.)
After our excursion into the realm of theory, let us return to our initial questions, which, having learned our lesson, we shall be able to answer with no difficulty. When do we plan? We plan at the end of the year for the next year and at the end of the five-year plan for the next five-year plan. How do we plan? Responsibly, of course, compiling long- or short-term plans depending on our position and seniority. What do we plan? We plan the work of a library, a network, or the entire sector. Essentially very simple answers to very simple questions, but ... that is exactly where the problem lies. Plans are indeed drawn up by libraries within the set deadlines and, what is more, dispatched to superior organs or institutions on time; and they comply with the directives of the higher authority in respect of set indicators and percentages. However, let us ask again: when is it done? At the last minute so as not to miss the deadline! How? At fast as possible so as to have done with it! What is planned? What is asked and required of us and no more! Does this not call to mind a paraphrase of Hamlet: To plan or not to plan, that is the question! Of course, we must plan. If our thoughts and actions are to be meaningful, we must have a certain long-term objective against which we can measure our results and assess the success or failure of our work. Why, then, do librarians view the plan as a necessary evil, why do they not exploit its indisputable managerial advantages and why do they frequently attent to the plan only when verification is due? Verification that the plan has been compiled, I hasten to add, not verification of its execution. Probably because we do not plan the right indicators, or do not plan them correctly.
In addition to general formulations on the lines of 'we will fully satisfy users' information needs during the target period', or 'we will actively contribute to the development and enhancement of the population's cultural and educational standards', indicators whose implementation is very difficult for a higher authority to verify (polling users, perhaps), the plans contain indicators that refer to library statistics - library stock in quantitative terms and its content structure, the number of readers, loans, visits, exhibitions, discussions, staffing and financial provision and so forth. These indicators are quantifiable: hence they are easy to plan and, naturally, their implementation is subsequently not difficult to verify either. At the end of the year we can compare the results achieved with the plan, tick off the relevant sections and consider the job done and finished. Finished? Yes, of course, done and finished, what else? Sometimes we manage to forget that verification is part and parcel of management and that due attention must therefore be paid to it.
However, let us digress a little and pay an imaginary visit to XY - a small town with a small library. There is not much industry, it is more of a recreational area where people have their weekend houses and cottages. A nice library with a devoted librarian, good premises and a good structure and range of library stock, very good working conditions - yet the number of readers has again declined. Loans have been 'bumped up', it is true, by lending magazines, but where are we to find people? There are none. The library organizes talks and exhibitions, it invites citizens to visit the library, yet the growth indicator is completely out of reach. People come here to relax and do not give much thought to the library, either in summer or in winter. You may say that the librarian should have considered external circumstances when compiling the plan. Yes, she should have done, but this is not only a purely fictitious example but also a greatly simplified one. The library's efforts to attract readers may be frustrated not only by a natural decrease in population or a change in the locality's functions, but also by a change in potential readers' interests. The decline in cinema audiences can be cited as an example. No, I am not trying to claim that our people are giving up reading, but they are less prepared to make an effort, they are spoilt by their own libraries or even by other forms of entertainment. To attract a reader today, a library must expend considerably more energy than, say, 10 or 20 years ago, and these efforts, this energy are not revealed by a mere figure, which gives the numerical information and nothing else. It is not my intention to militate against planning and statistics as to the number of readers, loans, library visits, or exhibitions, but it is my humble opinion that they give virtually no indication of the value and quality of librarians' work.
The Package of Measures to Improve the System of Planned Management of the National Economy after 1980, approved by the Czechoslovak Government in its Resolution No. 42 of 31 January 1980, considerably changed the situation in our economy, science and technology. Its purpose is, on the basis of an improved planning system, to make maximum use of all intensive factors for economic growth and to enhance the effectiveness and quality of all work. Throughout our society utmost emphasis is placed on the intensive development both of the economy and of science and technology, yet in the library sector the trend towards extensive development has still not been halted. The constant pursuit of the biggest possible number of loans and readers is, alas, characteristic of us. True, according to Unesco statistics our country holds the world record for per capita number of loans. However, the question is: are our readers really satisfied with the service we offer. The statistically-proven quantitative indicators specified in the plan currently tell us virtually nothing about the quality of library services, thus depriving our plans of their incentive function. Our library sector must react promptly to the new situation. We face the difficult task of establishing new indicators or of retaining the old ones but enhancing their ability to reflect quality. This would result, of course, in greater demands being made not just on the librarians themselves but also, and above all, on library management. Without the appropriate management we cannot expect high-quality results.
Let us imagine that the indicator specifying the number of readers for a given year was further broken down into fully satisfied readers, partially satisfied readers and those dissatisfied with the library's services: and the indicator for exhibitions and discussions organized by the library not only indicated the number of events held and the number of people they attracted but also reflected the extent to which they were satisfied with these events. It would, of course, be a very demanding task to ascertain the level of reader and library user satisfaction, but it would undoubtedly furnish valuable information about libraries' performance which could subsequently be used during the verification and assessment of the institution's fulfilment of its tasks, besides producing an overall improvement in the quality of the services offered, which is our main aim. The relevant scientific and methodological institutions should engage in a quest for qualitative indicators and methods of ascertaining and interpreting them.
By improving our planning system, giving it a new content, enhancing its ability to reflect more information and thus ensuring more effective management, we shall promote a more intensive development of our library sector and a greater contribution on its part to the development of the advanced socialist society. We must not forget that the plan is the basic instrument of management, but also no more than that. There still are 'executives' among us who invoke Pythia's counsel when drawing up plans, 'executives' who during the verification of plan fulfilment pull out of their sleeve a trump card in the shape of objective difficulties. If we fail to objectively assess our potential and decide our priorities, then, naturally, we must bear the consequences.
When do we plan? At the end of the year for the next year and at the end of the five-year plan for the next five year- plan.
How do we plan? Responsibility, of course.
When do we plan? The work of a library, a network of libraries, or the entire library sector.
And so we are back where we started. Or are we?
(1) RIHA, L. Dlouhodobrogna pl (Long-term forecasts and plans). Prague, Prace Publishers, 1974, 347 pp.
(2) PROCHAZKA, B. Plvanie - zadny nastroj riadenia (Planning - the basic instrument of management). CITATEL, Vol. 28, 1979, No. 9, pp. 310-311.
(3) Zdy pro sestaveni petiletemn pl rozvoje jednotnoustavy knihoven v CSR na leta 1976-1980. (Basic guidelines for the compilation of five-year territorial plans for the development of the integrated library system in the Czech Socialist Republic in 1976-1980). Prague, Czech Ministry of Culture, 1974, 19 pp.
(4) JAKUBICEK, M. Pl a plv v knihovn (Plans and planning in libraries). Brno, SVK, 1978, 19 pp.
(5) MICOVSJ J. 0. plv a knizniciach (About planning and libraries). Martin, Matica slovensk1962, 88 pp.
(6) KUSHTANINA, L.I. Bibliotecnoe delo kak zveno narodnohozjajstvennogo planirovanija (Librarianship as a component of economic planning). Sovetskoe Bibliotekovedenie, 1979, No. I pp. 35-47.
(7) KUSHTANINA, L.I. Perspektivnoje planirovanije - vaznaja zadaca bibliotekovedenija (Long-term planning - an important task in library management). Sovetskoja Bibliotekovenije, 1981, No. 2 pp. 63-74.
(8) HEMOLA, H. Komplexni prognosticky model knihovnick syst (Integrated forecasting model for the library system). (Thesis). Prague, 1980, 103pp. typescript. Charles University, Philosophical Faculty, Department of scientific information and librarianship.
(9) Soubor opatreni ke zdokonaleni soustavy plviteho rizenarodniho hospodaistvi po roce 1980 (Package of measures to improve the system of planned management of the national economy after 1980). Plzen, CSVTS regional council, 1980, 59 pp.
by Bernhard Zittel
The peaceful idyll once enjoyed by the archivist and Court Counsellor Grillparzer(1) has been thoroughly destroyed. The archivists of today and tomorrow have to work in an environment in which science and technology impose their law and their rhythm. It is no accident that in recent years the question of the archivist's job, his status and career prospects and the problem of delimitation from others, such as the documentalist, has been posed with ever greater insistence. But a satisfactory answer can be worked out only with difficulty. The aim and function of this profession and the associated problem of a training pattern to meet the needs of the time have become permanent features of conferences and international congresses on archives.(2) The job definition has become hazy and in need of clarification and amendment in two dimensions, depth and breadth.(3)
The archivist's present list of worries does not end here, however. Going through the annual reports of national and foreign archives quickly reveals three problem areas common to all archive administrations:
1. The discrepancy between staffing levels and constantly growing tasks.
2. The discrepancy between the available storage space and the overwhelming inflow of archive material.
3. The difficulty of convincing budget experts, and in the final analysis elected representatives, of the need to provide an adequate archive budget, which would make it possible not simply to cover operating costs and the staff and infrastructure expenditure required to deal with the virtually chronic backlog in archives, but also provide for the tasks of tomorrow.
We do not deny that there are many factors contributing to this state of affairs that the archivist can do nothing about and is not responsible for, but we are not convinced that archivists have really done everything within their powers to create a sound basis for mastering the problems and tasks facing them.
INADEQUATE CULTIVATION OF THE IMAGE
On closer examination, one of these sins of omission is seen to be archivists' failure to cultivate their image. In general, they sell themselves and their 'wares' short. In this respect their colleagues in the libraries are ahead of them. It is small wonder, then, that archives are not infrequently confused with libraries or thought to belong to them. We are well aware that in saying this we are challenging the traditional view of the nature and purpose of archives - justifiably, in our opinion. Archives have long since emerged from their aura of mystery and have instead joined the ranks of service enterprises. The XVth Round Table,. held in Ottawa on 7-10 October 1974, had taken this shift in emphasis into account when, under the general heading of Archives and the public, it dealt with the relevant subtopics: Publications, exhibitions and educational services. The lively debate, in particular over whether the main obligation of archives was to the public or to the client services assigned to them, left no doubt as to where their main task lies, especially in the view of colleagues from the younger countries. In this connection the citizen's right to information was set against the archives' obligation to provide information.(4) This desideratum, or obligation even, was clearly underlined in the background paper of the conference, whose authors argue on the basis that many people in many parts of the world have just no idea of the numerous sources of information available to them as potential users, sources lying dormant in the form of documentation, libraries and archives, and that society as a whole suffers from this lack of knowledge. It is therefore necessary to stimulate the awareness of the citizen as a future user, and in particular make him aware of his right to information. At every step in the educational system, the Unesco paper insists, pupils and students ought to be shown the way to the information sources. In the first place this concerns the universities. Conversely, the training of documentalists, librarians and archivists should be geared more towards their basic obligation to provide information.(5)
Archives are thus very important stores of information. In addition to the traditional task of collecting information, storing It and making it available. there is now that of offering this information to interested parties. Many archivists go even further and include in this task also the obligation to make the treasures of the archive 'palatable', i.e. assimilable for the intellectual level of the user group concerned and, where necessary, to equip the 'customer' for profitable use of the archive, for example through reading courses on the Dutch model.(6) Here the advocates of a 'market-oriented' supply of information not infrequently tacitly assume that archives actually do succeed in awakening a general and specific interest in archive information - somewhat on the lines of the subliminal advertising techniques derived from the findings of depth psychology. They try to convince the citizen that the treasure-house of empirical knowledge stored in the archives can help him not only to solve his everyday problems but also to profitably use his leisure time, for example in research into the family and home.
Let us summarize: Whatever the reason may be, archivists harm themselves through neglecting to cultivate their image. As first rank custodians and providers of information, archives have to open up to modern society. This willingness to provide a service for every citizen - the central idea behind the discussion at the latest Round Table in Ottawa may be rendered thus presupposes increased concern for contact with the public. Without doubt this new task, or rather this newly perceived and interpreted task, provides a chance for archivists to create a positive public image, especially if the archive management understands how to develop this service to the public into a real partnership of give and take through co-operation with the media: press, radio and television. The Ottawa meeting and the media-oriented exhibition of the local state archive happily allowed a glimpse of some fruitful approaches.
We are well aware that we have described the ideal situation here. Everyday reality falls far short of this, not least because the archives suffer from the above-mentioned twofold discrepancy between staffing levels and space availability and the expectations of modern society. This 'deficiency disease' can be remedied only if the necessary financial basis can be created in the archive service. This presupposes, however, that the responsible authorities, parliaments and town councils are convinced of the importance of archives in the context of modern society and for the state and local authorities themselves. But if we take an honest look around us, this conviction Is to a large extent lacking. The fault is to be found in the first place with the archivists themselves, because out of quite understandable self-interest they concern themselves too little or not at all with fulfilling their information obligation and concentrate on their obligations to the official authorities or responsible ministry. Thus the vicious circle is completed.
The archives can break out of this vicious circle only if they examine themselves critically, draw up a realistic balance of the actual and target situations and can produce convincing arguments to justify their demands and objectives. This brings us right to the heart of our subject: archive planning. Two examples will show just how seriously our observations are to be taken. In order to stress the importance and future role of archives, Unesco and the International Council on Archives, 'in a historical role', are proposing an 'International Archive Year'.(7) In a draft law on archives of June 1972, proposed by the French Ministry for Cultural Affairs, it is considered a characteristic of archives that they should be open to the public (Article 22). The importance attached to public archives by the French Government is emphasized by the fact that it intends to attach the archives 'directly to the highest authority in the state' (Article 2).(8) Lastly, we could easily cite a number of conclusive examples of how it was possible to win over the mayors and local councils of a number of medium-sized Bavarian towns to an ambitious and forward-looking solution to the archive problem through using the procedures recommended here and illustrated below in the fields of staff and infrastructure planning.
Even at the risk of uttering what will be truisms for many colleagues we would like to pass on from the knowledge and experience gained in everyday archive practice some observations that serve the objective of better archive staffing and infrastructures. The methodology for determining requirements involves both inductive and deductive procedures. Both methods can run in parallel, but they also overlap. The basis for the investigation should be a well thought out organization and function plan. It may be limited to a single archive, but should cover the whole field of all the establishments in a single archive administration district. Here the preliminary investigation will reveal already that a standardized outline plan certainly includes all archives, but on the other hand a number of functions of an interregional nature have to be performed by only one archive, but benefit all the archives in the network. This already leads to the first conclusions regarding staffing needs and professional qualifications. After this preliminary investigation, which can at the same time be oriented towards and checked against existing and already well-organized typical archives or one of the many available models,(9) a systematic stock-taking of the present situation is called for, taking into account all factors such as volume of documents to be looked after, interests and social stratification of user groups. The sum total of all these observations constitutes the foundation on which all further work, right up to the final item in the drafting of the budget, will be built. An overall plan, well thought out and at the same time based on experience, should proceed in three stages and its methodology should be based on four preconditions. For the three stages, short, medium and long-term planning, Delmas proposes three, five and ten to 15 years.(10) The four pre-conditions can be fulfilled through:
(a) a comprehensive, sound and critically compiled stock-taking(11) based on carefully compiled annual reports;
(b) the exchange of draft plans and budget proposals between the individual archive administrations;
(c) a thorough study of all available annual reports, building reports and already developed model plans;
(d) a critical examination and final comparison of all documents.(12)
An examination on this basis of the staffing levels in individual archives and over the whole archive area will generally reveal a more or less substantial gap between actual and target numbers.(13) What is more, it will become clear that the planning field has expanded at an above-average rate, with the inflow of archive material doubling in ever decreasing periods of time. The initial provisional stock-taking results in two major Implications for budget planning: catching up and rates of increase. The budget experts almost invariably respond to this request by asking how this budget proposal can be justified. The more thoroughly the staffing and later infrastructure proposals can be backed up by facts, comparative analyses and compelling conclusions. the greater the chances of achieving the objective.
Is there a general standard of fixed scales and classifications and universally applicable yardsticks? We think there is. Research over many years, in particular that carried out by Dr C. Haase, Head of the Lower Saxony archive administration, (14) has, like our own series of tests, demonstrated that there is a certain relationship between the number of employees in an archive and the size of the archive stock and the variety and specific characteristics of the area of responsibility. With all the reservations called for in the case of straight comparisons, undifferentiated for example with regard to the relative weightings to be attributed to different categories of records, it is possible to determine certain figures for the relationship between the total linear metres of archives and total staff and also the individual categories of staff. Thus, disregarding cleaning staff, there is one staff post for every 500 m of records, and for every 2.5 km there is one senior post, two professional and four intermediate.(15) The ratio between the three grades of the archive service is thus 1: 2: 4. At least this provides a useful indicator for present and future staffing requirements. Obviously we have given only a rule of thumb that can be further refined and thus be given a higher degree of credibility, especially if the key figures calculated are confirmed by those of other comparable branches of the administration.(16) It should be pointed out straight away that the planning figures thus determined have to be constantly checked and extrapolated. This means taking account of shifts in emphasis that may take place on various levels, for example In the field of educational services, the extension of the contemporary history department, or the introduction of new technical procedures. In the libraries in particular it has turned out that any step to reduce staff through the introduction of computers as a rule at first involves additional budget expenditure on personnel, often to the displeasure of the higher authorities, before any noticeable staff savings are achieved. Though we would not wish to swear by Parkinson's Law, the truth is that since 1945, staffing requirements have risen rather than fallen virtually everywhere in the field of archives too. Manpower requirements necessarily have to increase when an archive is built or extended, especially where the greater part of the new capacity is in the storage area. In parallel to this increase in storage space - here we are disregarding whether and to what extent the range of tasks and hence the manpower requirements of an archive can grow in other ways - the additional staffing requirement, in particular for the storage block, has to be calculated on the basis of the above criteria and included in the budget proposals at the appropriate time. In this connection it is also necessary to examine to what extent the location and facilities of a new building and modern technical installations, such as air-conditioning, security devices, transport equipment, vehicle maintenance facilities, and surveillance create additional manpower needs.(17) Surveillance of the new complex at the Bavarian State Archive exclusively by an outside security company has proved excessively costly and not always effective, so that a cost comparison between surveillance by own or outside staff or solely by means of technical 'spies' (alarm systems, television cameras) is called for. This analysis will often turn out In favour of directly employing security staff, whose posts must therefore be included in the budget, as is the case with the Bavarian State Library (Munich).(18)
The need for storage space will be determined by 'supply', the constant increase in archive material. Thus the question of the increase in the inflow of documents to the archive also becomes the key to calculating the increase in staff. This brings us back to the problem mentioned above in Point 2, the discrepancy between storage space and the growing volume of documents.
We have indicated that forecasting archives' requirements for staff, actually one of the few groups of civil servants whose occupation Is to keep, manage and issue documents, depends essentially on the present and future 'document situation'. At the same time we could easily demonstrate that archivists have nowhere been so mistaken in their planning - simply because they were overwhelmed by the force of events - as in calculating the future growth rate of the document inflow.
Two recent examples are representative of the general situation. At the suggestion of the Basel State Archive, the cantonal government carried out a survey of all the relevant departments, to find out:
(a) the volume of documents at present stored;
(b) additional file storage space requirements; and
(c) the volume of files to be transferred to the State Archive during the next ten years'.
Our Basel colleagues rightly worked on the basis that, not least because of new tasks being entrusted to the State, 'the administration's production of documents has had to increase by leaps and bounds since 1940, so that in the next few decades an avalanche of thousands of linear metres of files, mainly personal files, will flow into the archives'. The findings of the survey, the responses to which had not been completely analysed when the annual report went to press, were that:
'Our worst fears have been confirmed: the volume of files at present stored in the various branches of the Basel city administration amounts to no less than 14,063 linear metres, i.e. about twice the total held by the State Archive. Within the next ten years, the administration will hand over 2,700 linear metres of files to the Archive'.(19)
A second example:
'The State Archive is full to overflowing. Not even for 20 years have the two giant storage blocks of the Lower Saxony State Archive at Wolfenb built in 1955, managed to cope with the inflow of valuable documents from yesterday and today that must be kept for the future. An acute shortage of space is forcing the Lower Saxony archive administration to build a third storage block, as was planned from the beginning'.(20)
The conclusion is that the increase in the volume of archivable documents doubles in an ever shorter time. In East and West,, in all regional and international meetings, the complaints over the flood of files and discussions about stricter selection guidelines and practical yardsticks just will not stop. The fact remains that we will have to continue to live with and cope with the document mountain in the future. To this extent Delmas' recommendation that in archive construction storage space for the next ten years only should be planned completely disregards the harsh reality.(21) All our colleagues probably know of similar examples of misplanning in their own fields.
As shown by these few examples, planning for storage blocks is not as a rule done on a sufficiently long-term basis. In the calculation of present and future space requirements in storage blocks and, using the same logic, in the library and associated areas, we should not be satisfied with half-measures, which are more expensive in the longer term than a more ambitious solution. We consider it to be a half-measure when new, modern archive buildings - we shall refrain from naming the 'guilty' archives here - will reach the limit of their capacity within 10 to 15 years and, what is even worse, are not capable of further extension. It is embarrassing for archivists as well as architects, if - and here again recent examples could be named - the storage space could in principle be extended, either through building upwards from two to four stories, or through replacing fixed shelving by compact systems, but this possibility is excluded because it was not taken into account at the structural design stage. This would have been a way of creating a potential reserve capacity relatively easily and at a justifiable extra cost, which in fact given the present price surge can be paid off in a few years, if not completely amortized. There is only one sensible conclusion to be drawn from these verifiable failures: in planning a new archive, and similarly in extension projects, the objective must be to provide for the greatest possible reserve storage. In this respect the calculation of future space requirements becomes the key issue. The reserve space should amount to 100 per cent, however, i.e. on moving into the new storage block, there should be a ratio of 1:1 between occupied and spare shelf space. This ratio is neither Utopian, nor does it lead to runaway costs. On the contrary, It helps to cut costs. Here we are assuming that the entire building is constructed immediately, i.e. as the home for the future reserve space. In this way the costs of construction equipment, scaffolding, etc., are incurred only once. The installation of shelving can then be spread over several budget years, according to requirements and budget situation, if the financing for the internal installations is not Immediately available. In order to be able to take advantage later of all possibilities of the available space - including the subsequent replacement of fixed shelving by a space-saving compact system - two preconditions need to be met at the initial construction stage: (1) The load-bearing capacity of the floors must be calculated for compact systems, even where at first fixed shelving is to be installed. Depending on the height of the storey this means a bearing capacity of 1,000 to 1,250 kg/m2, according to experience in German archives. On the other hand Duchein, working on the basis of metal racking with five tiers of 50-60 kg recommends a capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 kg/m2. (2) At relatively little expenditure of time, work and money, the rails for a possible future compact system should be installed at the same time as the floor surface. An example here is the new Upper Austrian Land archive at Linz. We recommend this procedure all the more because for a few years now the technical possibility has existed of transferring from fixed shelving to shelving mounted on rollers. This thus provides the possibility of an extra reserve, and if the rails are installed at the right time this avoids the danger of dust and dirt problems as experienced by our colleagues of the Aarau cantonal archive, where they were laid afterwards.
Shortly before completing this contribution, we received form our much burdened colleague Dr Helfenstein of Zurich the 'Decision of the cantonal government on the approval of credits for the building of a State Archive in Zurich', of 18 September 1984. This fully confirms the argument outlined above.
Seldom has the planning of an archive building been so much in the crossfire of public criticism as in Zurich, where urban planners, environmentalists and conservationists all stirred up opinion. It is all the more satisfying to note that in this struggle on several fronts, the archive storage space programme 'examined and approved by the commission' never came under fire from this criticism for a moment, so far as we are aware. At the same time, our colleagues in Zurich have striven for the highest objectives, such as a 100 per cent reserve space, 50 places in the reading room instead of the former 30. They clearly built a sound case, convincingly presented, on the basis of the arguments outlined by us. The space programme of the new State Archive provides for an annual average increase of 150 linear metres of documents, and 'at the time of coming into service, the documents at present spread over three storage blocks can be brought together and it will be possible to about double this volume of material. According to the experience of recent years, this will provide for at least the next 50 years'. With regard to the more distant future, the decision remarks critically, 'If we consider, however, a longer period, and take into account that sooner or later sizeable special archives ... and the older holdings of the district authorities since 1831 will have to be taken over by the State Archive, growth will proceed at a rather faster pace. It should be remembered that of the present material, accumulated over a period of about 1,100 years, only about one-third dates from the first thousand years of this period, while the last hundred years have contributed two-thirds'.(23)
The findings of our Zurich colleagues reproduced here necessarily raise the question of just how the annual increase in archive material can be calculated. As a model, we would like to describe the procedure we used in calculating the space requirements for the new archives in Augsburg and Ravensburg. It basically consists of determining the type of empirical figures that were used by the Zurich archive to justify its storage space programme.
The basis for determining the average figure was file movements over the years 1900 to 1970, i.e. a period of 70 years. The parameters examined were: (1) The rate of increase of archive documents; (2) The number of source departments; (3) Population changes in the administrative divisions of Swabia and the Upper Palatinate; (4) Special circumstances that might increase or decrease the flow of files, such as wars or boundary reforms. The total stock of the Amberg State Archive increased over the period 1900 to 1970 by a factor of about seven (6.48) and from 1930 to 1970 by about four (4.61). The 1900 stock had doubled by 1935, i.e. in 35 years. The next doubling took only 21 years (1936-1957), while after the mass inflow after 1945 the volume of new material settled at a more normal level. Between 1957 and 1970, i.e. in 13 years it increased by a factor of 1.4. If these figures are combined with other parameters, such as the number of source departments, which amounted to 285 in the present example, a sound basis for extrapolation can be laid. In this way the future storage space of the approximately equal sized and in virtually all respects comparable Augsburg and Ravensburg State Archives was planned to be 30 km of shelving. This was calculated from the present space occupied (13 km), a reserve of 100 per cent (13 km) and an additional 4 km to allow for the increase in material between now and moving into the new building.
We are well aware that our suggestions have not touched on all possibilities that may contribute to realistic future planning. However, we believe we have at least given some pointers to the right direction, in the spirit of the leitmotiv of the Unesco Conference, 'We have to plan to prepare the future'.(24)
Notes and references
1. As enshrined in his quatrain:
'Here 'neath a heap of files I sit
You think I'm lonely and at odds
And yet perhaps you won't believe it -
I'm here with the eternal gods.'
2. Thus the XVIth Round Table, held in Kiev in 1975, dealt with the general theme of education and further training for archivists. At the Intergovernmental Conference on the Planning of National Documentation, Library and Archives Infrastructures (Paris, 23-27 September 1974), in which we participated as representatives of the German Federal Archive, one working group was concerned solely with the specific training of archivists and librarians as key figures in the information centres of the future. A few years earlier this subject had already been handled by Frank B. Evans, Modem concepts of archive administration and records management, in Unesco bulletin for libraries Vol. XXIV, No. 5, September-October (Paris 1970) 242 ff and Robert Henri Bautier La mission des archives et les tes des archives in the Proceedings of the XIIth Round Table (Jerusalem 1970). Klaus Laissipien and Ernst Lutterbeck attempt to delineate the tasks of the archivist, librarian and documentalist in Grundlagen der praktischen Information und Dokumentation (M-Pullach 1972) 17. Incidentally, we only have to think of the broad-ranging discussion, constantly enriched by our colleague Herr Goldinger, over whether and to what extent the budding archivist should be introduced to the problems and practice of data processing. In a conversation I was privileged to have with Professor Santifaller in Kastelruth shortly before his death, I was impressed by the commitment and expertise with which Professor Santifaller tackled this question from the Austrian standpoint.
3. This change in the approach to the problem can easily be seen in archive manuals, for example Adolph Brennecke and Wolfgang Leesch Archivkunde (Leipzig 1953) and the French Manuel d'archivistique (Paris 1973) or as reflected in the background papers for the Unesco Conference in Paris by P. Harvard-Williams and E.G. Franz, Planning Information Manpower (Paris 1974) and J.H. d'Olier and B. Delmas, Planning national infrastructures for documentation, libraries and archives (Unesco, Paris 1974). A cross-section of the relevant problems is also to be found in the contributions Archivarausbildung im Wandel in the festschrift Der Archivar 26 (1973) Heft 2 offered to Dr Kurt D Head of the Marburg Archivschule, on his 65th birthday.
4. The working paper was drafted by Christian Gut (Paris). The range of contrasting views is revealed by comparing the analysis of survey responses by Christian Gut and the 'classical' view of the doyen of English archivists, Sir Hilary Jenkinson Roots in Society of Archivists in Journal of the Society of Archivists 2 No. 4 (October 1961) 131-132, who, like Sir Thomas Hardy, saw the main task of the archivist as preserving the archive stock.
5. The purpose and aims of the Unesco Conference were programmed in the form of 15 objectives. Objective 2 was concerned with the citizen's right to information and the obligation of libraries, archives and other information sources to provide information - 'Objective 2 - Stimulation of user awareness - In order to increase user awareness, appropriate bodies, including universities and other educational institutions, should include in their programmes systematic instruction in the use of the information resources available in all the elements of NATIS' (= National Information Systems). The justification sounds rather pathetic: 'In many parts of the world, even though information is available in the collections of documentation, library and archives services, the potential users of these facilities are unaware of their existence and the advantages they offer, or the information remains unused because it does not meet the special needs of specific sectors of the community. The voluntary co-operation and understanding of all members of the community is needed if NATIS is to reach its optimal efficiency. Within the framework of users' education, every citizen should therefore be aware of his right to the information he seeks - and of its importance - whether it be for professional advancement, performance of his social duties, or recreational reading... I in National Information Systems (NATIS) Objectives for national and international action (Unesco, Paris 1984), p. 11.
6. In Ottawa Pirenne (Netherlands) reported on paleographic exercises of this type in Geldern, attracting 80 to 200 participants.
7. See Delmas Planning .... op. cit. p. 233.
8. Ibid 307-309. Article 22 states: 'Documents, according to their nature, shall be open to consultation by the public on the expiry of a variable closure period'; Article 2: 'The responsible archives authority. As the archives have an interministerial mission,, they should be placed under an authority situated at the highest level of the State (president of the republic, offices of the prime minister or secretariat-general ... of the government).'
9. Here we would mention four recent examples of descriptions of functions and staff posts: B.G. Franz Planning Information Manpower (Paris 1974) and Liban. Formation archivistique. Crion d'un centre de formation des archivistes, des bibliothires et des documentalistes (Paris 1974); Delmas, Planning ..., pp. 272 and FF, in particular the chapter: 'Machinery for formulating a national archives plan and procedures for its implementation. An excellent basis for staff and infrastructure planning is provided by Harald Jorgensen Report on the cost of archive service (Copenhagen 1973), based on international comparisons and produced for the XIIIth Round Table in Luxembourg.
10. Delmas Planning.... op. cit. pp. 284 and ff.
11. The accurate findings that should be aimed at cannot as a rule be achieved without a survey and a systematically designed questionnaire; good examples are to be found in the annexes to Jorgensen Report and Delmas Planning. With the help of annual reports prepared in this way the Bavarian archive administration is provided with very accurate data concerning the entire archive stock (at present 130 km) which proves very valuable in infrastructure planning.
12. A comparison of the annual reports of all Bavarian state archives over several years gave very accurate data after about five years on the occupied and free shelf space in the individual archives, as well as about the issue of documents.
13. An examination of the staffing of the Bavarian archive administration carried out in 1955 revealed that staff numbers had not only failed to keep pace with the rapid increase in the volume of documents, but had remained at the 1914 level. The present annual rate of increase in documents in the Bavarian state archives is between 1000 and 1500 linear metres.
14. Carl Haase Kostenfaktoren bei der Entstehung behichen Schriftgutes sowie bei einer archivischen Bearbeitung und Aufbewahrung in Der Archivar 25 (February 1972) Heft 1 col. FF 49.
15. Bavaria recently became the first German Land to introduce an intermediate level career path in the archive service - as already exists in the general administration. See Bernhard Zittel Neue Wege der Archivarausbildung in Bayern in Der Archivar 26 (May 1973) Heft 2 col. 191-198 and Gv. Roden Die Notwendigkeit eines mittleren Archivdienstes ibid 26 (July 1973) Heft 3 col. 471-474.
16. The comparable figures for the Munich district financial administration including the land survey service for the (technical) officers of the senior, professional and intermediate grades 1: 2.4: 4.2. 1 am indebted to my colleagues Oberarchivdirektor Dr Nusser for this data.
17. Using this procedure it was possible to keep the number of posts substantially in line with the increase in space and functions in the extension of the main Bavarian State Archive.
18. The surveillance of the exterior and interior of the first two new sections of the main Bavarian State Archive amounted to a five-figure sum per year and per guard.
19. Jahresbericht des Staatsarchivs Basel-Stadt (1973) 3-4.
20. Wolfenbr Zeitung 20 August 1974
21. All our own experience and what we know of other archives speaks against the recommendation by Delmas La planification 312, who in his 'Standards for the construction of an average national archive store' writes 'It Is recommended to have storage space sufficient to meet the needs of the next 10 years.
22. Michel Duchein Archive Buildings and Equipment (Unesco Paris 1966) 36. The new storage block of the Wg State Archive in Marienberg Castle is able to support a weight of 1800 Kg/m². Unlike Delmas, Duchein recommends as a minimum requirement an area 'enough for the foreseeable transfers of the next 20 years', and furthermore considers 'a (storage) building large enough to meet the needs of the next 50 to 100 years' to be desirable. Ibid 24.
23. It says much for the far-sightedness of the Zurich examining authorities and the expert reasoning of the archivists in the debate, in which the press also frequently Intervened, that the space requirements of the state archive were never disputed.
24. Delmas La planification 239.
CESAR A. GARC BELSUNCE
In the two centuries of Argentina's existence as a political entity, first as a viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire and then as an independent republic, periods of vigorous efforts to save the documentary resources of the government have alternated with periods of almost complete inattention to the preservation of valuable public records. A movement is in progress to restore the usefulness of government archives after half a century of neglect. As a participant in this movement along with other archivists and government officials, I occasionally ask myself whether our work will have a permanent effect or whether it will vanish at some future time when Argentina's archival heritage will again be forgotten. I may be premature in giving a positive answer to my own question. but I have reason to believe that we are about to make basic, long-lasting improvements in the administration of our government archives.
The vagaries that the public archives of Argentina have been subjected to over the years are largely the result of changes in the nation's polity. The good condition of eighteenth-century government documents that have survived to the present indicates that records-keeping officials of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata handled the manuscripts in their custody with care and maintained well-organized archives. In contrast to the efficient archival administration of the records of the colonial regime, the preservation of government documents produced during the first seventy years of the Republic (1810-80) was haphazard. Officials of the central government began in 1821 to deposit their records in the repository of the city of Buenos Aires, and administrators of each provincial government designated a local repository for their records. but the nation's leaders did not establish a policy on the preservation of public documents. The absence of any government-wide regulations on the maintenance of non-current records reflects the fact that the central and provincial governments were preoccupied with expanding their authority and with developing distinctively republican institutions to replace the monarchical instruments of rule.
During the period 1880-1916, when Argentina rose to the status of a world power the National Archives came into existence and prospered. The growth of national pride prompted public officials to take action to preserve the most important documents relating to the history of Argentina, and in 1884 the government named the Buenos Aires repository as the National Archives (Archivo General de la NaciI>). Two eminent scholars, Carlos Guido y Spano and Juan J. Biedma amassed a substantial body of government documents in the National Archives and organized the records to serve the interests of historical research.
Regrettably, Argentina's political fortunes went into a gradual decline from 1916 until 1960. and both the National Archives and the archives of the provincial administrations suffered in consequence. As the public agencies atrophied, the flow of documents from government offices to the central and provincial archives either diminished or ceased altogether. Some of the more conscientious directors of the repositories continued to solicit records from agencies and to improve facilities for storing documents. Their commendable work failed to produce a government-wide policy on the preservation of valuable records, however, and most public officials remained ignorant of the reason for the existence of the National Archives or the provincial repositories.
We who are attempting to revivify the public archives of Argentina are pleased at the steps that the government has taken in recent years to improve the archives of the central administration. An executive decree issued in 1979 requires any agency seeking to destroy, transfer, or microfilm a portion of its records to draw up a plan in collaboration with the National Archives and to submit it to the Executive Office of the President for final approval. Not only has the decree abolished the arbitrary destruction of records by agency officials; it has also enabled the National Archives staff to show the officials which of their agency's records are of sufficient worth to be maintained in an archives. In the wake of the issuance of the executive decree, two agencies have announced their support of a thorough reform of the central archival system. The Ministry of the Interior, which has general supervision of the various archives of the national government, has pledged to take sustained action to preserve Argentina's documentary heritage and to promote the National Archives as the leading institution of its kind in the country. As part of a scheme to reorder the entire central administration, the Office of the Under Secretary of Public Functions has declared that it will have the agency archives reorganized in such a way as to facilitate the retrieval of information for officials presently carrying on public business.
These measures have given the movement to revitalize the government's archives a noteworthy start, and the movement appears to be growing. Increasing numbers of administrators are acknowledging the importance of preserving public records. Newsmen are writing and broadcasting more stories about Argentina's archival treasures. The Office of the Under Secretary of Public Functions has expressed its intention of eventually bringing the central and provincial government archives together into a nationwide archival system, and a project for a law to establish and regulate such a system is now being discussed among interested legislators and administrators.
Despite such hopeful signs, we still have years of neglect to overcome before we can restore to our public archives their rightful functions. The accomplishment of that goal depends upon our having a clear idea of the problems affecting Argentina's archives: our devising a plan of action: and our carrying out the plan according to the available means. I will discuss each of these three points in turn.
The most serious problem that we face is the general lack of awareness of the nature of archives and the purpose of maintaining them. Most members of the public do not know how records are preserved or in what ways records are used once they cease to be of value in the conduct of current business. Even for the best-informed people of Argentinian society, the mention of documents stored in an archival repository calls to mind the image of old and dusty objects tucked into the dark crannies of a household attic, awaiting the day on which they will be hauled away as rubbish so as to make room in the attic for more recently discarded things. We often find that people are unreceptive to our arguments in behalf of the central and provincial archives not because they object to the public expense of preserving significant government records, but because they have never even thought about the process of recordkeeping.
Another problem - one that affects provincial and other public archives more severely than it does the National Archives - is an insufficient operating budget. Most of the public archives of Argentina have funds to cover no more than the maintenance of existing equipment. the provision of essential conservation and reference services, and the payment of employees salaries. Only in response to specific and usually urgent appeals have legislative bodies appropriated funds for archival institutions to purchase new equipment or to expand services. Repositories also lack the means to provide for the advance professional education of their employees, either by hiring instructors to give on-the-job training to archivists, or by giving the archivists scholarships to take appropriate courses at universities. Moreover, some of the directors of archival institutions find it difficult to accept as a professional responsibility the duty to draft a budget and to enlist support for it among key legislators. The inevitable result is that these directors have little or no influence upon the final determination of their operating budget by their respective legislatures.
A third difficulty facing the public archives of Argentina is the inadequacy of the buildings used as repositories. Although some government agencies, such as the Treasury Department, do have buildings constructed specifically to hold their non-current records, most government archives are housed either in a building constructed for other purposes or in some part of a building designed for multiple uses. The National Archives Building was constructed in 1904 as a bank; the archives of the Immigration Service are on a floor of the Hotel de Inmigrantes, constructed at the end of the nineteenth century; and the archives of the Province of Buenos Aires are housed in a multi-purpose structure. An embarrassingly large number of public records are stored in old family residences, acquired by the central and provincial governments, that are falling into ruin because of the lack of proper maintenance. A survey of twenty-six provincial archives, taken in 1979, revealed that ten were in their own buildings. three were in rented structures, and four were in buildings "borrowed" from other agencies. The other nine provincial archives did not even reply to the question on buildings!.
In addition to suffering from a lack of public recognition and from low budgets and poor building facilities, the public archives of Argentina are deficient in professionally trained personnel. People who have been specifically trained as archivists are scarce, and people with legal or historical educational backgrounds who have acquired archival skills on the job are not abundant either. The fact that archival organizations are not highly ranked in the administrative hierarchy means that suitable personnel are hard to recruit. Certainly, many employees have worked faithfully for long years in archives and have by their care saved innumerable valuable records from destruction. Nevertheless, the intellectual devaluation of archives over the past years has resulted in an archival workforce many of whose members do not think of themselves as professionals and have no ambition to progress in their professional education.
The National Archives of Argentina, which as of the beginning of 1980 %%,as authorized to have a staff of 77 (excluding maintenance and cleaning personnel), actually had only 32 staff members. Some had been eliminated because they were unprepared for archival work and some had voluntarily retired; vacancies were being filled only with people qualified to perform archival tasks. Of that staff of 32, 11 were archivists (8 with university degrees); 12 were archives aides (I with a university degree and 5 who were studying for degrees): 7 were technical personnel (2 with university degrees); and 2 were administrative employees (both with diplomas from secondary schools). Thus, again excluding maintenance and cleaning personnel, thirty-five percent of the employees of the National Archives had a university degree or its equivalent as of the beginning of 1980. None of those university-educated people had a degree in archival administration, however.
As of 1979, a total of 253 employees of the provincial archives of Argentina were classified as follows 16 archivists (5 with university degrees). 33 technical personnel (31 with university degrees), and 204 administrative employees (9 with university degrees and 72 with diplomas from secondary institutions). The personnel was very unevenly distributed from institution to institution: 1 repository had more than 20 employees; 11 had between 11 and 20 employees, 10 had between 5 and 10 employees, and 4 had less than 5 employees. The extremes were represented by one institution that had 44 employees, 41 of whom had only a primary education; and one institution whose sole employee - its director - was an archivist with a university degree,
In order to remedy the situation that I have just described, we have prepared a coherent plan of action and are standing firm in our intention of carrying it out. Our first aim is the creation in law of a nationwide system that will encompass the archives of the central government as well as those of the provincial and local administrations. Such a law will replace the old law of 1961, which did not provide for, or even permit, the organization of a nationwide archival system. Our legislators will have to decide whether to enact a rather brief law couched in broad terms. or a longer law whose provisions go into considerable detail. Although a general law has many advantages over a detailed law, I believe that the lack of professional expertise among the people who will have to apply the new archives legislation calls for a law whose terms are quite specific.
The law must clearly define the documentary heritage of the nation; the characteristics of public documents, and the attributes of private documents of interest to the public. It must describe the life cycle of documents from their creation by government offices, to their temporary storage in records centers. and then either to their permanent preservation or else to their destruction. Steps by which archival institutions acquire records from government agencies have to be set forth in the law. In establishing the procedures for gaining access to public records, the law must protect the interests of the State at the same time that it makes the information available to researchers. Finally, the law must set minimum professional standards for archivists, differentiating them from other government employees and from other types of employees who work in archives.
Our second goal, which we think should be worked for at the same time that we strive for the first, is to convey the principles of sound records management to agency officials. We want them to learn the techniques of records appraisal and the scheduling of records for retention or destruction. We also want them to understand the purpose of records centers -- "intermediate archives," as we call them - for the temporary storage of non-current documents.
Our third goal is to make the various archives into sources of information not only for historical researchers, but also for present government officials. We want administrators and legislators to consult archival records in order to make the most knowledgeable decisions possible on matters affecting our citizens.
As our fourth goal. we want to Provide archives with adequate buildings to enable them to receive the records that they are entitled to accession. We want those buildings. furthermore. to be equipped to preserve records for an indefinite period of time.
Our fifth aim is to provide our public archives with an adequate number of qualified personnel. On the basis of the professional standards set in the new archives law, we want to develop courses to train existing archival personnel in basic archival skills and to establish centers for the advanced instruction of archivists.
We realize that we will have to use whatever means are available in order to attain these five objectives. Once a new archives law is passed, for example, we will make a concerted effort to explain its terms to the archival personnel who will be putting the legislation into effect. The same attempts at explanation will be made with government officials whose records we want eventually to bring into the public archives. With regard to the records management part of our program, we will pursue experiments already being conducted in the Intermediate Archives Department of the National Archives in developing principles for the appraisal of current records and in devising general schedules for records retention and destruction.
Our aim of making the archives sources of information for both historical researchers and government officials will probably require the revision of our present system of arrangement, description, and reference. Even as we change those procedures, we will also strive for some degree of uniformity from archival institution to archival institution.
The provision of better buildings for our archives will present difficulties, because of budgetary constraints. Nevertheless, the central government has already decided to furnish the National Archives with a budding specifically designed as a records repository. That decision solves a problem of major importance, and it will no doubt have a favorable effect on our efforts to obtain new archival facilities in the provinces,
Finally, we will do something about our present training for archivists. There is an archival school at the National University of Cordoba, but it is located some 800 kilometers from Buenos Aires, where almost all of the central government's archives are deposited. Students of the archival school at Cordoba do not usually take jobs in Buenos Aires after they have graduated rather, they go to archival institutions in the north and center of the country. Like most of the people of Argentina, these new archivists are not inclined to move away from their families. They are especially deterred from settling in Buenos Aires because it is the most expensive city in South America to live in. On the other hand, agencies of the central government are reluctant to allow any of their employees to take long leaves of absence in order to enroll for training in archival administration in Cordoba. As possible solutions to this situation, we will propose intensive training courses conducted in Buenos Aires by archival experts who live there and by professors of the Cordoba archival school who will be paid to stay for some time in Buenos Aires; basic archival training by correspondence under the supervision of the archival school at Cordoba; and internships at the National Archives for students of the archival school at Cordoba. The best way to solve the problem is to create a second archival school, this one in Buenos Aires - and we will work for that objective, too.
Government Policies Affecting the Development and Growth of Libraries in Southeast Asia
Mr. A.S. Nasution, Head, Indonesian Delegation
Miss Mastini Hardjo-Prakoso, Indonesia
Miss Leonor B. Gregorio
Mr. Nasution: We will start exactly at five o'clock so that we can end the session at six o'clock.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think I may appeal to your sense of cooperation to make our conference a success by agreeing to a readjustment of schedule. On this program it is 4:30-5:30 open forum. We have to make it now 5:00-6:00 open forum.
The rules by which I'll try to conduct the session depends on the number of questions raised. If there are more than ten questions, the questions should be written on slips of paper and passed on to me so that I can distribute them to the various speakers. If there are less than ten, I think we will ask the honorable delegates to do it orally. Will that be all right?
May I now ask who would like to ask questions on the papers that were just presented?
Or, should we do it otherwise? Would you please write on a piece of paper the questions that you would like to ask, taking into account that you please write your name on the piece of paper and the addressee of the question--I mean to which delegate is it addressed?
We will allow five minutes for you to please write it down on this note paper?
Miss Sunio: May I direct this question to the Singapore speaker: are all libraries in Singapore under the National Library? You said you have a National Library system in Singapore. I would like to know if all the libraries in Singapore are under the National Library.
Mr. Nasution: Would the delegate from Singapore answer the question? You have three minutes.
Mr. Koh: As I recall a national library system is a system providing public library services as well as national library services to the people. We call it a system because it has got a number of libraries suitably located in the various housing estates and also it has mobile libraries serving the whole nation. The other libraries such as the libraries attached to the institutes of higher learning are not under the National Library system.
Miss Kline: I want to know how does it come that librarians in the Philippines accept without rebellion the idea-not only the idea-the practice that is in this paper, the old idea of accountability, that the librarian is financially accountable for all the books that are lost and as I understand they don't get their salary if the books are not returned. How come librarians in the Philippines are willing to work under that kind of system?
Mr. Nasution: Fortunately, this question is not addressed to me. I'll pass it on to Mr. Buenviaje.
Mr. Buenviaje: Well actually, first, it is a policy. It is a policy that involves not only librarians but all employees who are responsible for government property. And so, in so far as clearing property accountability I think it is applied uniformly whether you are a librarian, whether you are a division chief, whether as a matter of fact you are a commissioner or in whatever position in the organization. So you will have to be subject to clearance. Subjecting yourself to clearance involves certain procedures. We have to follow these procedures because without following procedures and regulations, we may not be properly cleared. If the regulations are applied, then you've got to pay, because anybody who is responsible for property must be responsible for the money value of it if he is not cleared. Clearance is given only when you have complied with the requirements. Although you have lost almost everything so long as you can justify the loss, you will be cleared. It is the Auditor-General who clears you. His decision is final and it is a decision, it is not a mere opinion. He belongs to a separate commission of the government.
Miss Kline: Does this not then bring about a condition in which librarians chain the books to the shelves, lock the glass doors and don't let the children take books home?
Mr. Buenviaje: This should not lead to a situation like that. I think all librarians are responsible enough. When you are given that responsibility, you see to it that books will not be lost. In other words you exercise some diligence and care. Now when after exercising such diligence and care you still find that you lost something then you say, "I hereby apply for relief of loss because of these reasons...." There must be a reason because without it you will be accountable.
Miss Hagger: What is the situation with regards the universities and colleges? I did not get that point in the paper. Is the situation in the universities and colleges the same in this matter of accountability?
Mr. Buenviaje: Actually I have not touched on accountability of state colleges and universities because I am not really aware of the situations therein. Still there are some regulations I think which govern property or property accountability in state-owned colleges and universities.
Mr. Nasution: Miss Feliciano?
Miss Feliciano: Property accountability only pertains to government librarians and those which are financed by government money. It does not pertain to any private or corporation library or private business library. Secondly, property accountability depends upon the book value and book value depreciates year after year. There is a pending bill which may be incorporated in the Revised Administrative Code wherein accountability will be reduced up to 15 per cent only of the book value. Does that answer your question? Thank you.
Miss Hagger: Does it cost the treasury more to implement this compulsory system than it would to write off the few hundred boots without going through all this procedure?
Mr. Buenviaje: These things cannot just be written off. There should be a good reason why this should be done. Procedure is followed to put some kind of order to the system. Understand that although we are exempted from this we cannot just be exempted. You've got to fill some forms and say, "I am exempted from this because of this regulation." Then you sign. It is just trying to put things in order. As you know the government is run on paper. Transactions must be recorded.
Mr. Nasution: May I announce that the Secretariat requests that all open forum discussants identify themselves? I agree with that.
Miss Sunio: I would like to comment on property responsibility in the state colleges. In our college we have an inventory of library books every year and we make a list of all our losses. We have not paid a single cent although we have lost many books. The President recommends to the Auditor that our reasons for losing the books are very reasonable. The Auditor goes to the Auditor-General and we are not requested to pay. So we are free from paying any losses in our library. This is the Philippine Normal College. Also when I was with the high school library we also did not pay a single cent although we lost so many books. We had so many students; our principal went to the Auditor and we were excused. It depends upon the Auditor of the office where the librarian is working.
Mr. Buenviaje: I would like to comment further on that. Of course librarians are not always asked to pay. If you go through all these formalities of exempting yourself from payment then you don't pay anything. It is just a matter of following procedures. That's why I say that even if you lose the whole library, if you can justify the loss and if they approve of it, you don't have to pay.
Mr. Hafenrichter: I would like, Mr. Chairman, if you were able to perhaps make a very rapid consensus of the speakers at Your side on this one point which touches on property accountability. I think this has relevance to the comments given by the Honorable Minister this morning when he was stating that we've got to change our methods of thinking. Our ancient methods must give way to new and renovated methods. The procedures which have this binding impact tend to hamper the end utilization which is service. If there were any discussions within any of the nations within the Southeast Asian area regarding an acceptable annual percentage of loss as revealed in an inventory, it would probably then be possible to put this forward to the government in order that government can change the regulations and convert-towards some kind of annual percentage of reasonable loss. This would do away with our picture of a librarian with keys in hand, opening the cases, putting a few books out, letting people get acquainted. And that's how we solve that, isn't it? I'd appreciate if any discussion has come to the knowledge of the delegates offering papers as they view the legal history that they've been tracing for us. Has there been any discussion, any mention, has anybody ever raised the issue? Can we convert towards some kind of acceptable, reasonable, percentage of acceptable fair wear and tear?
Mr. Nasution: Marina?
Miss Dayrit: In the University of the Philippines, we have convinced the authorities that 3 per cent of the' circulation figures are acceptable losses. So we have never paid for any lost books in the University, although we go through the process of inventory as required by the Administrative Code. I think that 3 per cent of the circulation figures which amounts to around two million in our library is a big percentage.
Mr. Nasution: I think that we have discussed this matter from all aspects. The honorable delegate from the United States has put forward a very useful proposal to collect an annual percentage of lost books--acceptable losses--so that it can be put forward to the government to change the regulations. I think that is good. In our country, in Indonesia, it is almost the same as the Philippines in regard to old books, torn-out and worn-out books.
Mr. Chan: May I make further comment regarding this accountability. I think this patient has been looked at by each country itself. For example, in the National Library of Singapore, we are not required to do stock taking every year. It is not a procedure of our library system. And certainly I think if you are going to put a percentage you are going to restrict the library.
Mrs. Lim: Can Miss Mastini please tell us about her concept proposal for a future National Library of Indonesia?
Miss Mastini: It's a long story. I have a concept proposal to the government and the government has already nominated in 1961 the three libraries--I have it in my paper--that will be the nucleus of the National Library. Those are the Central Museum Library, the Library of Social and Political History, and the Office of the National Bibliography. The three nucleus fortunately are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education, but in my proposal it would be ideal if the National Library will be directly under the State Secretariat like the National Archives of Indonesia, because if it is under the Department of Education and Culture the budget will be very restricted. So in my proposal, if the government agrees, the coming National Library of Indonesia will be under the State Secretariat. My concept proposal is firstly on the status of the national library. The second concept proposal is concerning the structure of the national library. I am doing this.
Mr. Nasution: This paper has no identification. "To any speaker: is there a need for Coordinated action on legal provisions for libraries in Southeast Asia?"
Mr. Wijasuriya: In my own view, no, simply because legal provision is essentially a national consideration, not regional.
Mr. Nasution: "To each speaker: are you satisfied with legal provisions you described? Mention the most important provisions still needed." Unidentified. Because it is to each speaker, I will ask you to answer.
Miss Mastini: Indonesia doesn't have a legal deposit law. And are you satisfied with legal provisions you described? I didn't describe it yet. (LAUGHTER)
Mr. Wijasuriya: I wish I could handle it in the same way., No, I don't think we are satisfied with the legal provisions we described. I think there is very much more to be done. But I hesitate to make any clever announcements at this stage.
Mr. Koh: In Singapore we have the provision for the
deposit of books to the printers and publishers. The law requires that the
publishers deposit five copies. Sometimes this could be very expensive for the
publishers of multivolume works, but I still think that for the National Library
and the two university libraries--of course, from the point of view of the
libraries-.I think we are satisfied with it.
Now as for the most important provisions still needed, as I mentioned in my paper, we have a national library law but the law is not so enacted as to make it compulsory. It only regulates the activities and responsibilities of the National Library, but it does not make it compulsory for the other libraries to be brought under this national library act. But at the moment I cannot feel too strongly about whether we should bring all the libraries under this act. That is kind of difficult.
Mrs. Amporn: No, we don't have the legal provision, but we need to have, too.
Mr. Buenviaje: Well, actually the question here is, "Are you satisfied with the legal provisions that you described? Mention the most important provision still needed." Actually there are so many, I think. For one, the accountability of property. I think there should be more explicit regulations. So probably we have to make a study of what the practice is, say, in state universities which should be applied to all state universities; probably those that are now in force may have to be modified. For example, prices stated here are way back in 1958 so some sort of adjustment should be made. And also policies on government publications, for example. In this country we do not yet have a unified system of publication of government publications. There is a central government printer but actually this printer cannot print all government publications. We probably should have some kind of an office which deals with selling government publications aside and apart from the printing and publishing process. I think also there are some--these are of course personal opinions. There must, I think, be a more coordinated program for libraries in at least the government sector. As I have described, each of these libraries are under each different office so the only seeming tie-up between all of these government offices is the submission Of requisitions to the National Library, which is sometimes not enforced strictly, so probably this has to be more strictly enforced. Those are some of the things I have at the moment.
Mr. Nasution: This question is addressed to Mrs. Amporn Punsri from Thailand. "Table on Page 3: the class of positions is attractive. Is it successfully applied and give reasonable benefit to the librarian? Please tell us frankly." From Mrs. Hadian of Indonesia.
Mrs. Amporn: For the table on page 3, you ask about the benefit of the librarian. But I think as for the cost of living in Thailand--the salary scale here is all in baht, about 3 baht for 1 peso. I think it is not successful because the salary is so low. We need more salary than this for the cost of living now.
Mrs. Hadian: It is not successfully applied yet?
Mrs. Amporn: No.
Mrs. Hadian: Thank you.
Mr. Nasution: This is not a question, but a message from Mr. Rompas of Indonesia: "I wonder if all speakers have already the same definition and interpretation about the National Library. What does it mean, how is it organized, and how does it function. If we don't have the same meaning, I think we have to make it clear first." And then follows a message from Miss Yolanda Beh, SEAMEO Regional English Language Centre. Would you please come forward and read the message?
Miss Beh: I thought you didn't want us to do that. (LAUGHTER) It is simply this: this report where we mention the RELC Library and Information Centre.
Mr. Nasution: So far we have run out of written questions. Any oral question? Mr. Ward from Unesco?
Mr. Ward: I typed this for CONSAL. I submitted this a long time ago.
Mr. Nasution: This is another tough question to be answered and unfortunately to me English is always without tears.
Recently the President has decreed that 66,000 primary schools throughout the country will get each a set of a hundred books. That project has to be finished in actually three months, but we managed to make it six months. Now, there are these problems to that very good decree of the President. No single title of Indonesian books has been published in copies of more than 5,000. To be frank about that, no division of the Department of Education and Culture has yet managed to collect an exact statistics of the number of primary schools. That is because the local populations always manage to establish primary schools on their own. The average number--they put it at 66,000 - - but I am more inclined to say that it is close to 80,000. Because as in the case of Central Borneo and Central Kalimantan, the statistics say 950, reality says 1,500 or a difference of 550. The third main problem, where can we get the paper in order to be able to print a hundred titles of 66,000 copies. I think we need about 700-800 tons of printing paper.
If you manage to overcome all these difficulties there is still the problem of how to distribute them. Where will be the terminal point of distribution? If the books are not in sets and we ask the publishers to publish the books and then send them on to the district heads in the provinces, do the district heads have the mechanism to put all the titles into sets and then send them on to schools? Because if we have to put the books into sets in Jakarta, there will arise the problem of go-downs, personnel, and then shipment. Fortunately or unfortunately, I may say I have been assigned to make the project a success. I have already told them frankly if we succeed only 50 per cent, we may be lucky. It will be my first job once I am back in Jakarta, to collect the team and then discuss the problems that will surely arise. Not that they may arise, but that surely will arise. In this case I ask for your prayers, not for your congratulations. Thank you very much, Mr. Ward.
Mr. Ward: Will you tell me how much money is involved?
Mr. Nasution: Actually that is one aspect that I haven't mentioned yet. It is 150 rupiahs per book which is about half the average price of books in Indonesia. Also that side has to be solved first. How to get an average price of 150 rupiahs for each book for this project. Maybe by lowering the number of average pages or by lowering the physical standard--I mean--not the standard printing paper, but we call it in Indonesia hahai-I don't know how it is called in English, it's Dutch, hahai--maybe Mr. Van Kuyk can translate that to me.
Mr. Van Kuyk: I don't know myself. I've not met the word.
Mr. Nasution: Huitfrei. Newsprint--I think that's it. Because I'm not a technician to know all the details, I'm sorry.
Father Suchan: Mr. Chairman, I've been working in the Philippines trying to promote children's books for a home library. I find that I think that although you have a big job you have a blessing in that the government is behind the program of distributing books to schools. We have 40,000 elementary schools in the Philippines and by law each one of them is to have a library. And in fact--we are not quite sure of the facts--but we know a great majority of them, at least a majority, do not have a library. And so when we put our heads together and try to solve this problem, it often seems that the government would do something very good if they would put out a decree such as this. But we don't know how you got that decree. Tell us please, what did you tell them to get that decree? To my mind it's wonderful and I'd like to work on one like it.
Mr. Nasution: I think I have to answer that modestly because I didn't do it. All we did was to get the President make a speech during International Book Year and he did it and we managed some way because of the cooperation of the State Secretariat to include books for the common man". And then another division of the department put a proposal forward so there was some money left out of the last year of International Book Year. It was money from the State Oil Company, I think. I am not sure. The President decided that it be used to build 6,000 schools and establish a library of 100 books in all primary schools, private- and government-owned without any discrimination, which number around 70,000 or 75,000 schools. All I can say once more is we hope we manage because if we don't manage we will not get the same sympathy again next year. Because the idea is once we start with 100 books and go on each year for maintenance and growth, and I am sure too of course as Miss Mastini said just now in number of titles produced annually, I may say without hesitation that according to the statistics we may be one of the lowest countries in the world, but this decision of the government will I hope improve the position of the private printing enterprises, because we have decided that all the books to be bought from this money should be books published by private enterprises. This time we will not include government publications.
Miss Luwarsih: This gathering seems to love to discuss about law so I put one more question about that. One read with interest the paper of Mr. Wijasuriya which said here, on page 3, that in Sarawak and Sabah, even without the back-up of law, the service seems to go much better than in the other provinces provided or backed with law. Would you please try to tell us, Mr. Wijasuriya, the reasons or probable historical background why it works better there in Sabah and Sarawak?
Mr. Wijasuriya: Yes, thank you, Miss Luwarsih. It is really a question that is rather difficult to answer. This is the fact of the situation, true, that libraries in Sabah and Sarawak seem to have got ahead despite the fact that there is no legislative provision and as far as I am able to determine at this stage, they have no intention of considering any such legislation for some time. Now, this does not necessarily imply that we should abandon our efforts towards legislation in the other states. I have really not been able to determine at this stage what has been the real reason for this. I think it is clearly an area of far more detailed investigation before any kind of pronouncements can be made. I think what I would like to stress here despite this illogicality is that we need not just to go into legislation to give us the legislative base before we start our endeavours in this sector, but to go far beyond that, and not to assume that merely with the passing of legislative enactments we have completed the exercise. Really we have only begun. And this is really the point I was trying to make out. And this seeming illogicality should not be seen as a reason to abandon the legislative provision and forge ahead with library development. I would rather not advise that.
I know I didn't answer your question, but I don't know the answer myself.
Miss Luwarsih: Thank you.
Miss Sharifah: Mr. Chairman, I think it was more or less an historical reason why they are now where they are, because while they were under the British they were very much more well established than when the British left Peninsula Malaysia for instance. So we are just starting when they have gone that far on their own before they got their independence.
Mr. Wijasuriya: Well, the historical background certainly plays a part, but I of course don't wish to discuss this issue myself, because I feel that it is an area that needs to be studied in greater detail. Certainly the historical background Counts, and the British have done a lot in Sabah and Sarawak and the same did not take place in Peninsula Malaysia. This is a factor quite definitely, but I would hesitate to put this as the total situation.
Mr. Nasution: The lady from Malaysia, please?
Mrs. Nadarajah: I would like to pose a question to the delegate from Thailand. I refer to page 3, the second table on page 3 and the last column-which is indicated as ,remarks", where you state there are two categories of university librarians and the university librarian in fact is an instructor gets a salary scale which is well and above a university librarian who is purely a university librarian without teaching responsibility. It appears to me that there are tremendous benefits to be derived if a university librarian decides to establish a library school within the university and by that gain a tremendous increase in salary scale. I would like to ask not only from you but also from the other Thai delegates here to what extent is this really desirable?
Mrs. Amporn: Miss Suthilak, will you please answer the question?
Miss Suthilak: Could you repeat your question?
Mrs. Nadarajah: (Repeats the question.)
Miss Suthilak: So you mean, if we are satisfied with the salary scale here if we are lecturers and librarians? We are not satisfied with it. We do not want to hold both positions.
Mr. Nasution: The chief delegate from Thailand.
Mrs. Maenmas: Mr. Chairman, may I answer this rather awkward situation. We are not satisfied. And I think we are somehow, in trying to improve the status and get satisfactory, we get caught in our own trap and we are now trying to find out how we are going to get out of it. It's really a very long story and I think perhaps within these--I think perhaps that because teaching status, teaching staff is considered a little bit higher than regular civil servant and this just happened not so many years ago. Of course this creates some rather difficult situations. In many university libraries there is no such position as a librarian proper. Usually the teaching staff will carry both functions. It is only with some new universities now that they start separating and in starting to separate the teaching staff of the library school will carry academic status with some benefits also. The librarians would be under civil service. You see the teaching staff would be under university authority. There are two authorities. Many of the librarians would rather 'be in the teaching staff and carry the teaching load as well. So I think in actual practice as far as I remember there is not even one librarian under civil service. Most of them are teaching staff, carrying two functions. This, as said here, I don't think satisfied anybody.
Do I answer your question? Thank you very much.
Mr. Nasution: I think it is now six o'clock. We have accomplished our mission so far as the hour is concerned. May I thank you for your tolerance and may I ask your excuse for any shortcomings in the way I chaired this session. Thank you very much.
PHYLLIS I. DALTON
The success of a library administrator depends largely upon an understanding of and an ability to operate within the context of the political process. Library administrators have, in many instances, held themselves aloof from politics, ignoring political reality and thus allowing the political aspects of library service to be handled elsewhere. In the second half of this century, and especially within the last decade, it has become evident that this attitude has cost public libraries severely, in both status and financial capability. A failure to understand and utilize political processes has resulted in the lack of needed legislation and adequate tax support for public libraries.
Because political processes are not restricted to any particular size of jurisdiction, type of library, organizational structure, economic situation, or thrust of library service, all library administrators will be successful to the extent that they can cope within the political milieu. Politics involves influence and the influential. A major skill in working in the political process is advocacy. But first there must be an understanding of the political process itself-how libraries are organized in terms of other governmental functions, relationships of library administrators with government leaders, responsibility for policy making, and intergovernment relations.
Nationwide, many types of governmental organizations exist at the local library level, Regardless of the type of organization in which the public library functions, its administrator is involved in policy making, problem solving, and coping with hard decisions involving substantive issues of policy and programs. All of these responsibilities can be successfully carried out through whatever governmental organization exists. Libraries are subject to different systems of governance, One system is the board. There may be an appointed administrative or advisory board at one level. At another level there are elected or appointed boards such as the city council, the public library district boards or school district public library boards, all of which represent political jurisdictions. At a third level, the librarian's responsibility is to an administrator in a larger department or to the city manager. The most common organizational patterns at the local level are described below.
Administrative boards are groups responsible for managing departments and agencies within a local jurisdiction. They have the authority to set policy, The members (trustees) are appointed, usually by either the local legislative body or the chief elected official. The board is directly responsible to the appointing authority for the administration of the library and advises that body or person on matters of library policy as defined by the appointing authority. The board submits an annual budget to the appointing authority but usually does not have the authority to set tax rates. Most boards have the authority to employ and to dismiss the library administrator, to whom it delegates such authority and responsibility as it considers appropriate. Other library employees may be responsible to the board or to a separate personnel board with responsibility for the library or for several agencies. The administrative board controls library use, regulations, and, generally, book-selection policy. In most cases the administrative board's powers are established in state library law, in the municipal charter, or in some other "constitution" that establishes and regulates the local government agency. A general stability is provided as these laws and charters are not readily changed.
The members of an advisory board have lesser powers than those of an administrative board. Usually advisory boards are established by ordinance or resolution, with the consequence that the authority and even the existence of such advisory boards can be challenged with ease The method of selecting members of advisory boards is usually similar to that for administrative boards. Often the responsibility of advisory boards is limited to acting in an advisory capacity to the legislative body, to the library administrator, to the chief administrative officer, or to any combination of these groups, and on any matter that the legislative body may direct. The library is administered in a manner similar to that of any other local department, with the library administrator directly responsible to the legislative body or an appointed official for administrative matters.
Public Library District Boards
These special districts may or may not have boundaries identical with other political jurisdictions. The members of public library district boards are often elected but sometimes are appointed. If elected, the board members usually have an administrative responsibility. In this case, they generally can levy a tax for the support of the library. If the members are appointed, the board prepares the budget and has general advisory powers regarding library service but does not have a tax-levying power.
School District Public Library Boards
The school board, elected to manage a school district may also be empowered to administer public libraries. In some cases school board members are also the public library board members for the district. In other instances, the elected school board members appoint a public library board for the district The elected officials can levy a tax for the support of the public library. The public library board is responsible for the library operation and appoints the public library director.
City Council or County Board
In some instances, the public library may be controlled more or less directly by the city council or county board. In this form of organization, the elected members usually divide the responsibility for the various municipal or county departments among themselves. Thus, one member will serve as a liaison with the library and the library administrator. The council maintains tax-levying authority and budgeting control and is responsible for making policies and regulations pertaining to the public library, often on the recommendation of the public library administrator.
The city manager is the chief administrator for all municipal departments under the council-manager form of government. In this form of government, the library administrator is responsible to the city manager, an official employed by the city council. The public library administrator has direct access to the city manager, as do the other department heads. The library operates directly under the city manager or a delegated deputy.
Library as a Subdivision of Another Department
A variation of the pattern of governance in which the library director is responsible to another administrator occurs when the library is a subdivision of another department. Examples include those in which the library is combined with a city department such as parks and recreation or cultural affairs. A public library administrator can operate an effective library service as a subdivision of a larger department, but such a governmental structure complicates the political process. The public library administrator must compete with other programs within the department for priority and funds. Resistance to such combinations of departments is common because the disadvantages usually seem to outweigh the advantages. It must be noted, however, that various combinations do seem to operate with comparative success as long as the public library administrator is adept both as a manager and as a developer,
Regional Jurisdictions, Library Systems, and Networks
The broadening roles of state and federal governments have given encouragement to the creation of regional jurisdictions for planning, and service. Many types of regional libraries, library systems, and networks have developed as a result of this trend. There are even cases of interstate cooperation. The regional cooperative or regional library may operate under its own board or may be a part of the multipurpose planning agencies that have been formed in the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas throughout the several states. Some of the libraries have a strongly structured regional organization with a board of trustees and/ or a professional library board. The governing board appoints the administrator and operates the library organization, but it usually does not have tax-levying power. In other library systems, the chairman of the professional board acts in an administrative capacity.
The Legal Basis for Library Administration
Charters, statutes, ordinances, resolutions, and,' or other acts of legislative bodies establish the legal basis for most libraries. Executive orders and judicial decisions often serve to interpret and/or modify these legal provisions. Awareness of the "basis in law" under which the library operates is of high priority for administrators. They must determine the source and nature of authority provided, It may be that the administrator will find that the authority is based as much in tradition as in law. In many instances, much authority, or lack thereof, is the result of the use of the delegatory powers of superiors in the hierarchy
It is important to understand that the legal basis for administration Is not static. Rather it is continually evolving as a result of many forces. Social stresses, environmental changes, political forces, economic conditions, and legal interpretations create pressures that result in news laws, regulations, and judicial decisions. In most cases, however, change of laws lags behind rather than precedes needed changes in our social institutions. Knowledge of the law and accompanying regulations that concern public libraries in any given circumstance need not inhibit the development of creative programs of service designed to meet current needs. Legal provisions should be interpreted in terms of what they allow the library administrator to do rather than being used and viewed as limiting. Should the laws appear to be restrictive, the library administrator has the obligation of bringing this to the attention of the proper officials and seeking remedial legislation.
Role of the Administrator in Government
For any public library administrator to be on the edge of the political processes in our special-interest society is never really a safe position. Library administrators, like other public administrators, are forced to play the role of politician effectively. To a large degree, success for the library will be determined by the relationships its administrator maintains with the local political power structure.
Active participation in the political processes has not been a characteristic of public library administrators in many instances. The paucity of services and facilities. the poverty of library resources that stifle progress in many communities now are the results of the isolation of the public library administrator within the government Participation in governmental affairs does have its hazards as well as its rewards. For this reason, many administrators have preferred to remain on the edge of the political process rather than risk public crisicism, pressure from other government officials, adverse publicity including critical "letters to the editor," and the possible loss of position.
While no library administrator should pursue a cause without good mason, it is doubtful that most communities are best served by such timidity By avoiding action that might bring criticism or pressure from certain factions, the library administrator may be missing a crucial opportunity to increase public support by better acquainting the community with the library's objectives and programs. By taking advantage of such opportunities, the administrator's counterparts in government frequently gain additional leverage for their departmental programs. Sound library management directed to supplying services and resources needed by the community requires participation in the political processes regardless of the risks involved.
It must be recognized that the public library administrator is both a political manager in the governmental structure and a creative developer of library services. To facilitate these responsibilities, a substantial portion of time must be spent in developing effective relations with superiors and coworkers in government. The actions of all department heads, including planners, finance directors, personnel administrators, intergovernmental representatives, city and county administrators, and others, both elected and appointed, have a direct effect upon the library as an agency in the total organizational pattern. For example, land use becomes important in planning services, in shifting the emphasis of kinds of service being provided, and in planning buildings, A good public transportation system facilitates the use of public library services. Public Order and safety are related to both the planning and the operation of the building. Both the public health and personnel departments are important to the well-being and development of staff and, as a result, have a definite effect on library service to the community.
Disinterest in interagency and departmental jealousies and a freedom from fear of loss of power and prestige will follow the realization that personal emotions do not have a place in the political processes. A public administrator will know that success is gained through accurate communications that flow from top levels of governmental organization to the lower-level members of the agencey to obtain effective delivery of library services, commitment to organizational goals, and objectives of the library service.
Within the political processes, the public library administrator realizes and communicates the capacity for choice that exists within the overall government for the delivery of library service. There must be an ability to cope effectively with the problems at all levels, as well as interpersonal trust for assisting the library in developing an effective and built-in capacity to change.
As part of a political sense, the chief administrator must develop a sensitivity to which role-that of manager or developer-is foremost at any given time. Although both roles are compatible, at times as manager the administrator will be required to modify plans that are desirable from the perspective of a developer. For example, even though a proposed service is needed, wanted, and practical such a service may not be economical from a cost-benefit point of view. It will be necessary for the director to make the hard decision concerning which course should be followed. In the process of considering working with other libraries on a cooperative basis, a conflict can easily occur between the manager and the developer roles. As a manager of a successful library operation, the administrator may see risk in cooperation with its attendant problems. On the other hand, cooperating would probably promote development of improved services.
Constant changes will occur, and the public library director must never be caught unaware of any information pertinent to the roles of manager and developer. The chief librarian must keep up to date on such diverse subjects as copyright, revenue sharing, appropriations prospects for any level of government, and should also acquire an ability to identify the trends that will prove most helpful. Probably the most important aspect of current knowledge is an ability to forecast trends. With this ability, the administrator can plan for financial stability for services, take advantage of new funding for experimental programs, and respond positively to the library needs of the people before they are formally expressed. If the administrator is secure in a position that has favorable status in relation to other department heads-for example, the director of finance, the director of public works, and the planning director--effective communications about present needs and future requirements will flow freely among departments.
Intergovernmental relationships (regional, state, or federal) are probably more significant than city, county, or local-regional relations, if less well understood. Intergovernmental relationships require the administrator to provide operations and services that function on a broader geographical and organizational base, since state and federal governments may decentralize programs through regional and local outlets. Since few public library directors have had the training or experience to design and manage systems and networks involving all levels of government, there is a need to understand the significance of such involvement. While library administrators may be responsive to the needs of intergovernmental structures, questions remain about whether they are ready to respond.
Depending on the particular library involved, the administrator must anticipate a growing involvement with all levels of government. An appreciation of the roles of each and of the nuances of the political processes involved is necessary. Moreover, the head librarian must be aware of the relationship of the local library with each of these levels of government.
The library administrator should explore and participate in intergovernmental relationships at whatever level is desirable and practical. The decision to participate will be made on the basis of what is best for the library and its services to the community, and on the nature of the larger unit that will result from the new involvement. Community involvement is a means of overcoming obstacles to change and to intergovernmental relations. Without community involvement, shortcomings in budget and staff may keep the administrator so preoccupied with daily operations that keeping pace with needed changes and anticipating change is impossible.
Justification for local control rests on a belief in divided political powers. In the melding of libraries into intergovernmental organization, the local units must first be very strong, well organized, and effective. If such is not the case, an intergovernmental organization will be made up of weak and ineffective library units. It is essential in the urban areas of the nation that coordinated planning of facilities and activities by local governments become a joint program of comprehensive planning.
Councils of regional government are now found in most urban areas of the United States. Although they differ significantly in organization and activities, there are common characteristics: (1) they are voluntary associations of local government organized to deal with problems that are regional in scope and require regional solutions; (2) most have a degree of comprehensive planning responsibility (3) many were formed when the federal government made such coordinated planning a condition for receipt of grant funds; and (4) some may be strengthened by state participation in council membership.
Regionalization of libraries may be an idea whose time has come. A regionalism of local governments-including libraries-divides responsibilities for local and regional functions, assigns these to appropriate governmental levels, and shares functions that are logically (or practically) cooperative. The public library director should be aware of the politics of regional organization, for any form of regional planning will have an effect on library services. Regional government, in many political and administrative forms, already exists. The critical question is, Who shall control regional library activities: local, regional, state, or federal government?
Regional library services have become realities, with or without formal regional councils. Public libraries have handled federal, state, and local library funds to set up integrated cooperative library systems, Some have moved toward regional systems of multitype libraries, to interstate library cooperation, and on to the national network of the future. But even without regional applications there must be a broader outcome.
Few local library administrators are adequately sensitive to the intergovernmental process to manage within this larger and more diverse system, Lacking educational background in and formal experience with the problems of interjurisidictional political processes, the director will need formal education in these processes. In any event, the director must keep abreast of intergovernmental relationships at the various levels.
In so doing the director may learn that other agency departments have already developed useful ties with related urban departments and to their counterparts in city, county, federal, and state departments. For example, it may be more beneficial to use resources developed by local planning agencies for a library community study than to use the less-helpful upper-level agencies listed in more general handbooks or directories. Elected officials in most local governments maintain regular contacts with representatives at the state and national levels and frequently hold informal meetings with such representatives to express local concerns and interests. The library administrator should seek to be included in such meetings, stressing the role of the public library as a line of communication externally, with the public, and internally, as a legislative and executive reference bureau.
With increasing frequency, the local library director is called upon to assist in state and federal legislative efforts affecting libraries. It is, therefore, imperative that the local administrator make every effort to understand the viewpoints and positions of state and federal officials elected to represent his area and to cultivate communications on a first-name basis when suitable.
To be effective in dealing with state and federal official;. the administrator must ensure that partisan politics does not enter into the relationship unless, because of funding or special rules regarding partisan political activities, such a restraint applies only to the work-oriented situation. The library administrator will, of course, vote at the polls according to desires and beliefs. Judgment should govern the personal activities of the library administrator in partisan politics and in nonpolitical civil rights activities. The realities of the political processes require the chief librarian on the local level to retain an impartial stance regardless of the whims and vagaries of partisan politics and the elections that climax their activities. For the local library administrator, the right to exercise partisan and civil rights beliefs remains an essential right of civil liberty. It must, however, continue to be tempered by political reality.
A clear understanding of how the library administrator participates in policy making is prerequisite to successful management of library services. Some of the most serious instances of maladministration have occurred because of failure to understand and/or to observe the relationship of the administrator to policy making. The library administrator is an appointed official and, like those in most other appointed positions, is directly responsible for carrying out the policies established by elected officials. Confusion sometimes results because elected officials delegate the power of policy making to those they have appointed to membership on boards and commissions.
The theory of the separation of powers established in the Constitution and reaffirmed in state constitutions and the charters and statutes providing for local government is clear. The legislative prerogative-the power to create policies--is reserved for those who are elected to legislative offices. While they may delegate the responsibility for policy in certain instances to appointive bodies, the latter retain a legislative rather than an executive or administrative function.
The public library administrator is empowered to implement policies established by the legislative body to which the library is responsible, but not to create those policies. Such a separation of powers would appear to be clear-cut and unmistakable In practice such is not the case. Local public administrators do become involved in policy matters unavoidably. This occurs for at least two reasons: (1) legislative bodies require accurate information from administrators, which often requires those administrators to submit solutions to current problems in the form of proposed policies or amendments to existing policies and (2) policies approved by the legislative bodies are often so broad or open to interpretation that implementation by the administrator necessitates the formulation of regulations that in effect may actually be policies.
There should be no question that legislative bodies have sole authority to create policies, and executives or administrators to determine regulations for implementation; but in practice clear distinctions can not always be drawn. An interpretation of a policy that an administrator must make may itself be a new policy. As administrators must sometimes make decisions rapidly, it is inevitable that they sometimes must create a policy and justify it later on. However, administrative policy making is caused by a lack of understanding as to what constitutes a policy and what is a regulation. Policy is often involved when a question of direction or purpose arises. A policy may be defined as a settled course that is adopted and followed by government, an organization, or informed individuals. Such a definition, however. does not take into account the new policies that must be formed to accommodate the changing situations. A regulation is a rule developed by the administration to carry out the policy that has been established. Its authority rests in the policy decision and in the library administrator's full administrative control within the library to carry out policy decisions through rules and regulations.
Because most legislators have limited time and little expertise in library matters, library administrators are often asked to formulate policies or amendments to existing policies for legislative consideration. This responsibility must never be construed to be a delegation of authority to approve policy, however. A recommended policy should be carefully written to embody philosophical concepts in clear terminology that later can be translated into workable regulations. Suggested statements may be solicited directly by a member of the local legislative body or by an executive responsible to such a group. Channels of communication should be carefully observed during this process to maintain good relations between the executive and the legislative branches.
In preparing regulations by which policies are to be implemented, the public library administrator must observe the philosophic concepts and intent of the policy to avoid misinterpretation. Also, the administrator should make sure that the regulations do not exceed the scope of the policy and thereby create ipso facto new policy. At this point, many grievous errors could occur to plague the library administrator. If an effort to implement policy turns up deficiencies in the legislation, the administrator has the obligation to request revision of the provisions by the legislative body.
There is, of course, another side to policy making and implementation. This is the more informal side and applies to day-to-day administration. The chief librarian is recognized as a capable individual who has been employed to lead the development of library service--one who is knowledgeable about present programs and policies in library service and who has the capacity to institute change. The service that the library delivers to the public will have an impact on society, so the administrator has a social as well as managerial responsibility. As a manager, the public library administrator works with counterparts in the larger organization, with elected and appointed officials, as well as with the library staff. The administrator should not rely solely on external criteria such as statutes and regulations to guide action but rather must resolve issues on a person-to-person level. The library administrator will by experience acquire and provide continuity, as elected officials move in and out, and the ability to manage with enlightened intelligence.
Administrative Procedures and Techniques
The ability of the public library administrator to communicate accurately and effectively with all is essential to the performance of duties and responsibilities. Timely feedback to others who are responsible for any segment of the service program is vital. It is advantageous for an administrator to provide for simultaneous observation and presentation. Such a program of communications, which involves aggressive planning and delegation of responsibilities, is vital to successful management. In communications, especially to those unfamiliar with the terminology of librarians, care should be taken by the library administrator to relate unfamiliar concepts and terminology to the context of the personal and professional lives of the participants. Time in communication is as important as every other aspect of the administrator's work.
Communications form an intrinsic part of meetings. In some instances the public library administrator will be an observing member of a meeting; in others, a participating member or the leader of the group. Although adherence to a program should be maintained during a meeting, occasions will arise when the administrator will realize that associated objectives will allow sufficient flexibility to permit the participants to consider particular needs as they emerge in discussion. The public library administrator serving as a group leader should know the goal of the meeting and be committed to the objectives stated in the call for the meeting.
The public library administrator also serves in a resource capacity to elected policy makers. The administrator should be prepared to provide the answers to questions concerning library services and their relationships to resources and economics involved in funding, The administrator should be well-versed in national library policies and programs and be able to interpret the need for library service policies as determined by the governing board, The library manager can then develop them along with the staff, who function as technical assistants and managerial advisors. In the political processes, the public library director will assume the resource role with service clubs and other community groups participating in informal discussions when new plans are being proposed either by the library administration or by the community. It is incumbent upon the library administrator to institute change and to keep pace with change through continuing education.
One of the most useful techniques the administrator can master is that of preparing position papers. Clear, concise, and well-reasoned statements that set forth the reasons for a particular viewpoint on a course of action are often required so as to encourage movement in a given direction, Such a statement should begin with a carefully worded declaration of the matter at hand, followed by a succinct analysis of various alternatives. The alternative or alternatives chosen for support are then stated, with advantages appropriately detailed.
Position papers, when properly prepared, often carry much weight among those who must make policy decisions because the issues involved are worked out and a solution is presented with the supporting evidence. The preparation of a position paper provides the administrator the opportunity to study a given problem in depth, to explore various alternatives, and to arrive at a solution that can be supported by substantial data. In addition, the administrator can detail facts and utilize language in a more accurate manner than may be possible in a simple discussion or debate when time is a limiting factor.
As a part of participation in the political processes. the library administrator may be required to submit reports on a variety of subjects. Regardless of content, certain rules apply that result in clear and concise exposition. The purpose of a report should be clearly stated at the beginning, with a well-defined statement of scope and any other limiting or explanatory factors. Data should be developed in a logical and progressive manner; frequently such a presentation is made more orderly through the use of headings and subheadings. Conclusions and recommendations derived from the data must be stated in language that is free of ambiguity. Where a plan of implementation is required, it should be designed around a framework that is logical and precise. A lengthy report may begin with an abstract and conclusions and/ or recommendations. While the length of many reports exceeds that justified by the subject matter, others by their unnecessary brevity fail to provide a sufficient data base and/or explanation of conclusions and recommendations. Reports frequently fail to hold the attention of the reader because the writer has not mastered the elements of word usage, sentence structure, and syntax. Accuracy in word usage can be improved dramatically by courses in report writing and through practice.
Reports of group meetings are also a necessary part of the work of the administrator. Minutes of the meeting should be handled by recordings, stenotypists, taping, or shorthand notes. The duty of the administrator should be that of preparing a report that summarizes the action taken by the group. Extreme care should be taken to include the sense of the discussion and decisions. Motions passed by the organization should be conveyed with absolute accuracy. Words chosen must express the meaning of the participants. Failure to accurately reflect the viewpoints of the speaker or the intent of the motions and actions is not only a disservice but also may precipitate complaints of bias.
Just as the political processes inevitably involve meetings, so the orderly conduct of meetings requires agendas. Political bodies and many other organizations have a predetermined format for their agendas established by law or tradition. Less formally organized groups-particularly those that represent citizen action groups, special interest committees, and the like-are apt to be more informal in the conduct of meetings.
The library administrator should have the opportunity to construct an agenda or to develop its design. It is important, therefore, to recognize the fact that an agenda plays an important part in the political process. Agenda items should reflect logical progression from one subject to another. If the items bear no such relationship, then care should be taken to place Items where they are most apt to receive considered discussion. For example, placing an item with high public interest at the end of a long agenda may be a disservice to those with deep concern for the item.
Great care should be taken in wording agenda items. The wording should be concise and yet carry the full sense of the intended presentation or discussion. For instance, listing as an agenda item "Library plans" has much less merit than a slightly longer but more explanatory "Plans for a library outlet to be located in the southeastern portion of the city."
In many cases, when submitting an item to a body for inclusion on a forthcoming agenda, the library administrator should indicate a preference for the position of the item on the agenda. Like-wise, it is often wise to submit in advance copies of any position paper, report or other supporting data that may be useful in the consideration of the item. An inquiry to the official responsible will indicate the procedure to be used and the number of copies required. Many political bodies close their agendas to new items several days before their meetings, and it behooves the library director to know and abide by such deadlines. Attempts to force items onto agendas after the deadline sometimes are construed as moves to push decisions through without proper consideration, thus creating resentment on the part of public officials.
The library director must have a thorough grasp of parliamentary procedure in terms of principles as well as actual rules. Contrary to the belief that such rules impose limitations and impede action, parliamentary procedure, when properly understood and employed, provides the logical structure within which the discussion leading to action can best be directed. Many local library administrators will be working with organizations that con duct meetings in accordance with a particular system of parliamentary law. An administrator who understands this procedure can be much more effective in the deliberations than one who does not.
The library administrator must be active in the political processes as an effective speaker and discussion participant. The ability to express ideas and data convincingly in an oral presentation or as a part of a discussion is often paramount to success in the political processes..
The director will frequently be in a position to serve as a discussion leader. This role requires some of the skills of the presiding officer. The ability to encourage participation, to lead without dominating, to keep discussion focused on a particular issue, and to summarize and interrelate discussion can be acquired through training and experience.
The Power Structure
A power structure exists in every community regardless of size. The library administrator must become thoroughly acquainted with the power structure of the community if success in the political processes is to be attained. Administrators who are not politically aware often assume that those in authority in the community-most often those elected to office or appointed to the most prestigious positions-compose this elite group. But this is not necessarily true. Many of the most powerful people in any community have never held an elective or appointive office and have seldom had their names appear in the press. Sometimes they are very wealthy citizens; often, but not always, they represent families of long standing in the community. Not all, of course, maintain such anonymity, but the attainment of a highly visible role in community affairs does not necessarily denote one who possesses great political power. The reason that it is important for administrators and policy makers alike to become acquainted with the most influential members of a community is that some of them will prove supportive. The power structure in a community is seldom monolithic. The larger the community, the less likely will influentials have a single outlook. For the influentials will tend to organize around issues and a larger community must resolve issues that are more complicated.
The library director must learn the power structure through attendance at meetings, perceptive observations, and conversations with informed leaders. In large communities, it is not uncommon to find that more than one such group exists. By tacit arrangement, each group maintains its position in a particular field of interest Usually there is sufficient multiplicity of interests to prevent the groups from being mutually exclusive.
The power structure is a dynamic arrangement of individuals and is, therefore, subject to continuous change. The most influential member may, for a variety of reasons, be replaced by another. The administrator must develop a sensitivity to such change. More often than not, a few individuals hold the key to the support required for approval of a new library program and the increase in funding required. While working with the power structure does not necessarily guarantee success, failure is much more frequent when this simple fact of the political processes is ignored.
A complaint is frequently voiced about the communications gap between community residents and the local government. A similar problem can exist between the residents and the public library administrator as well. Residents may believe that problems of major concern are not explicitly stated by those who attempt to solve them, or that their concerns are inadequately acted upon.
To bridge this gap the administrator must involve people in the community to gain support for library programs and services. Reacting to expressed community needs is commendable, but planning ahead for future communities and their services really makes the difference between an administrator who is only reactive instead of proactive.
It is important, therefore, that the public library director work with the people of the community. Some types of contacts seem particularly productive-for example, coffee hours, round-table discussions. and casual conversations with people within and outside the library.
A truly involved advisory committee that represents all of the community is the administrator's key to the constructive expression of community opinion in revitalizing the library program. If the community, via groups, individuals. or organizations, becomes involved in studying community needs, it may become aware that the library has inadequacies in such areas as mobile library service, reference and research, and shut-in service. If members of a community group are then involved in discovering the solution to those problems, they become committed to pursuing the plan they devise also, the planning and the service can be more effective, realistic, and vital than if they had been done primarily by the library administrator and staff. Almost any library that has actively involved the community as advisors, as artists, as teachers, as story tellers, and as planners has a success story.
Only in rare instances do community representatives initiate involvement in the library. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the library director to draw people from the community by organizing voluntary programs, establishing councils, and seeking out persons to help with educational programs, counseling, and other activities. The administrator has the further duty to educate the people of the community concerning the library system, its goals, and its policies. Once community involvement and education have begun, the library has a powerful and self-perpetuating ally in the struggle to reach its objectives.
To work effectively with both the governmental bodies and the community, the public library administrator must:
1. Diligently and consistently make intelligent and creative use of library standards
2. Employ persons of vision to work on library programs and activities
3. Inform the governing bodies of the new plans and accomplishments of libraries
4. Plan, develop, and implement public relations presentations and programs and include the political leaders, labor, business services, and other groups in the presentations
5. Be available and ready any time or place to speak on libraries
6. Create interest and pride in library programs
7. Work hard on programs at the administrative level because it is only through such diligent work that the other six developments can take place.
If all seven of the above activities are carried out, community involvement will be assured. These activities provide the administrator with a built-in correction system that will automatically change the pro-gram according to the needs of the community. The administrator knows the people, resources, and services and is constantly listening to governmental officials, to the staff, to the residents of the community, and to their representatives. Through these processes, political knowledge, the perception of the community, and the delegation of authority, the public library administrator will succeed in developing a delivery system of public library service capable of changing as changes are required.
When librarians think of public relations in a superficial manner and they think superficially on this topic all too often - it is nearly always considered in the simple light of relations between libraries and their users, or their potential users. But this is an oversimplification of the problem. Of course it is a fact that the ultimate objective of library public relations is to ensure that the maximum number of people know of the existence of our libraries, where they are located, what they contain, what they do, and how they can help users to acquire more information and generally become more literate and better-educated members of the community. Yet any public relations programme which begins and ends by concentrating solely upon readers and other library users, actual or potential, can never hope to be more than a partial success.
When writing a public relations programme, the librarian should face the brutal fact that users, present and future, must come near the bottom of the list of PR targets. This may sound ridiculous, but a little thought should convince the librarian of its cogency. Of course users are important to us, they are the last vital link in the chain of library provision, but there are other links which merit prior consideration in the PR plan.
The fact is that libraries, if they are to continue to develop, must be projected in many directions and to many different targets, not merely to individual users or groups of potential users. They must be projected internationally, nationally, regionally, locally, and sectionally with such related activities as central government, the Civil Service, education, local government, vocational training, the social services, the book trade and, by no means least important, the library staffs themselves.
It is not until one becomes a senior librarian that realisation comes of the vital importance of this aspect of public relations for libraries vis-is the world outside. As a junior member of the profession it is perhaps all too easy to confine library public relations in the mind to a programme concerned only with users of our services. But as one gains more professional experience, the wider aspects of PR for libraries become more obvious and more important. Perhaps it is only when one becomes a chief librarian or a director of library services that the fullest appreciation of PR and its range and influence is attained.
Unfortunately, just as this full appreciation is attained, the director finds himself without the necessary time to devote to guiding personally the PR programme. If he attempts such personal direction he will find himself neglecting other aspects of his job. Ideally, every library needs a public relations officer working closely with the director of the service. The latter should certainly devote lime to planning, encouraging and initiating a PR programme for the service but, like a good military commander in the field, he should not become too bogged down in administrative detail. He should make time to sit down and plan the broad lines of strategy and development, and to do this effectively he must be capable of seeing the library service in its international, national and regional context, as well as in its purely local and domestic role.
Sitting back, however, does not mean becoming office-bound. On the contrary, the director should endeavour to take part in the activities of' international and national library associations; for only in this way will he have the opportunities of keeping abreast of library progress throughout the world. There are those who belittle the idea of international and comparative librarianship, but this is an attitude to be regretted and indeed to be avoided. There are many facets of librarianship which have a universal application, and public relations is one of these. In whatever country we operate, in whatever type of library we serve, public relations is one aspect of our work in which we can learn from each other. That is the justification for not ignoring library PR work in countries other than our own.
Coming to more local aspects, it must be emphasised that the library director must be the 'front man' for his service. His governing body, and his public, must be able to turn to him with confidence whenever the topics of libraries, books and other information media and technology crop up. He must be able to write and speak fluently on behalf of his calling, and nowhere will this fluency be more taxed, or more important, than in the board and committee rooms of his governing authority.
Possibly the most crucial aspect of the work of a director of libraries is to persuade his governing body to supply adequate and continuing financial resources for the efficient operation and development of the service. Good operation, or day-to-day running of libraries, cannot be properly maintained without a healthy revenue budget. Each year, therefore, or however frequently the authority plans Its revenue budget, it is necessary for the director to prepare detailed estimates and to pilot them through his board, committee or council. To do this successfully, he must be adept at report writing, he must anticipate possible questions with pinpoint accuracy, he must be convincing in his replies to those questions and, in short, he must have the most complete and detailed knowledge of the service at his fingertips.
Such a librarian will impress members of his governing body, and they in turn are much more likely to support the service if they feel that the person in command is someone who is dedicated to the service, someone in fact who knows his job from A to Z. If the director possesses these qualities, then he or she is a definite PR asset for the service.
I have referred just now to the revenue or yearly budget. There is, of course, another type of budget, that relating to long-term development. This calls for such qualities as foresight, imagination, and the capability of being able to think big and for many years ahead. In preparing a capital budget for future development, vision is needed and in fact is a most essential commodity in the personality of a director of libraries.
A good library is, or should be, its own advertisement, and it ought not to be necessary to have to persuade authorities to devote adequate finances for library buildings, staff, books and other essential materials. Unfortunately we are not living in an ideal world, and it is regrettably very essential to use every persuasion to convince our lords and masters of library needs. In this exercise of persuasion it is a proven fact that a director who can write a compelling report, and can speak on it convincingly, is much more likely to be successful than one who presents a scrappy and incomplete report, speaks confusedly on it, and answers questions in a sloppy, unconvincing manner. It may be wrong that important public issues should be decided against such backgrounds, but it is one of the undeniable facts of life. For this reason, an efficient, enthusiastic and convincing director is possibly the best PR asset any library can have.
This theme will be developed later, but it is important to make the point now that the most vital factor in a good PR programme for libraries is a knowledgeable director with an astute appreciation of the value of PR in its widest applications.
Libraries and governments
Almost every type of library, apart from special and industrial libraries and privately owned collections, stems in some way from the powers of national governments. In most countries public libraries derive their existence and development from central government. So, of course, do national libraries, as well as university, college and school libraries. In addition, national governments are themselves owners of many libraries, be they national, parliamentary, legislative or departmental in scope. How vitally important it is therefore to ensure that ministers, members of Parliament, and senior civil servants are adequately briefed about the scope and objectives of libraries of all kinds!
PR and library governing bodies
It is incredible, but one of the major failures of librarians in the past has been in the matter of communication between them and members of their own governing bodies. Surely it should be a first essential for any librarian to keep his governing body fully informed on all aspects of his library's services, achievements and developments. He has various means at his disposal for maintaining this necessary communication.
The first is by regular written reports to his board or committee, but it must always be borne in mind that the presentation of such reports can make or mar the communication between officers and members. There has been a tendency in the past for officers to produce too many written reports, but this has been checked in many countries, especially in the United Kingdom by the publication of official reports on local government organisation, administration and staffing. The combined effects of these reports has been to widen the powers of chief officers and to reduce the number of committees so that they concern themselves with broad outlines of policy rather than with the minutiae of departmental housekeeping. This means fewer written reports, but those which are presented are necessarily important, and it is vital that they should be well written and carefully presented.
The elements of a good report are fairness of presentation, clarity and brevity - and the greatest of these is brevity. Members of governing bodies are extremely busy men and women, and it is not unnatural that they become impatient when they have to cope with many lengthy, complex and verbose reports. Granted that good report writing is a fine art which may not be commanded by everybody, but it ought to be perfectly possible to present members with all the facts fairly, clearly and briefly, and if possible with a straightforward and uncomplicated recommendation. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was not being unreasonable when he asked that reports to him should be confined to one side of a sheet of paper. Of course it is not always possible to do this, or even desirable if the matter under report is of signal importance, but there is a very valid point here that should be taken by readers.
To aid brevity there should be little need for adjectives and adverbs. George Rylands, the critic whose studies of Shakespeare are so perceptive, once said that no adjective is above suspicion. Although he was writing about words and poetry, his comment applies equally to prose, and he might have included adverbs as well. So keep your reports brief, clear and unadorned. Paragraphs should be kept short and should be serially numbered for ease of reference. A summing-up paragraph at the end should lead to a clear recommendation, with reasons given if thought necessary. Finally, do not forget the elementary needs of signing and dating your report. It is amazing how often this is forgotten, particularly the date. Future readers will not thank you for that omission.
The reports referred to are, of course, often confidential, though the recent opening of committee meetings to members of the public means that the reports have to be available for public consumption as well. The librarian's annual report comes into quite a different category. This can be made, indeed it must be made into a major PR document for the library, affording communication between the librarian and his governing body, and between the librarian and his users, or his potential users. As most annual reports are, or ought to be, printed and published, further comment on its presentation and production is deferred to a subsequent chapter devoted to printed publicity for the library. However it should be said here that the recent tendency to replace annual reports by biennial or triennial ones, even to abandon such reports entirely is to be deplored. While lack of* finance may have contributed to this trend, too many librarians have lazily accepted this as an excuse not to produce annual reports. Apart from the potential PR value of such documents, librarians have a duty to give the paying public regular statistical and progress reports on the service.
Personal relations between the librarian and members of his council and board are extremely important, but especially so between the librarian and his chairman. The chairman of the governing body of the library should be a key figure in the library's progress, since he is the person who has to explain and interpret its policy and needs to those who ultimately control the purse-strings. He cannot do this effectively if he is not fully informed, and it is the librarian's job to keep in constant touch with his chairman and to brief him as fully as possible.
This is not an easy task. The chairman, when wanted, may be unavailable. Then, when you do see or speak to him, you may inadvertently forget a salient point you wished to make. Selection of' information is important too. The chairman often needs to have a certain amount of detail without being overloaded with trivia. What the librarian should try to do is to put himself in the position of the chairman, and satisfy himself in this way that the latter is in possession of all the relevant information.
Libraries and the book trade
There was a time when libraries operated in apparent isolation so far as the rest of the book world was concerned, but this was never really the whole truth and it has become increasingly clear that the librarian is just one cog, though a vital one, in a wheel which also includes author, publisher, bookseller and reader. So here again a PR exercise on behalf of libraries is necessary if our co-producers of' the information media are fully to appreciate librarians' problems and objectives.
Booksellers need to know the urgent needs of libraries to supply their readers with books as quickly as possible, and of our requirements in the way of accurate invoicing. Publishers may seek our opinions on gaps in the subject provision of books, or on library editions, or on out of print books. A lot of this interplay and exchange of opinion should be done between the various national associations, but individual librarians must play their parts as well.
The growth of National Library Weeks and similar co-operative ventures in the USA, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Canada, Australia and other countries has undoubtedly improved the collaboration between libraries and other sections of the book world, and this will be enlarged in a later chapter on co-operative library publicity. In the United Kingdom another encouraging step has .been taken in the last few years in the shape of the annual conferences between librarians and members of the book trade. These have been organised by Brian Baumfield, the City Librarian of Birmingham, and have taken the form of intensive one day meetings attended often by 200 or so librarians, publishers, booksellers, library suppliers, authors and others connected with library/book trade relations. Not the least important spin-off of these has been the subsequent printed and published reports.
The basic aim is the common one of working to improve the literacy and general educational and cultural level of the community. This is too important to be interrupted by petty sectional differences, but unless the PR of all the bodies concerned are altered and improved there remains the likelihood that all the component parts of' the book world will remain apart, instead of drawing closer together.
Libraries and educationists
One would hardly expect educationists to be included among the lukewarm supporters of' librarians, but some instances have occurred, as most librarians would agree. Only a small minority of educationists have fallen into this category, but they have existed, and still exist. One contributory cause is sometimes jealousy, a feeling that libraries may have taken a larger slice of the financial cake to the detriment of schools, colleges, universities, and educational programmes generally. Few librarians could agree with this, since it is so far from the truth as to he ridiculous. No! - the real reason ('or this attitude, where it exists, can only lie in the ineffective PR programmes of the library profession.
Happily the situation is improving. Most new universities have started from the premise that the library is the first and basic requirement of' the institution. The development of college and school libraries continues, and co-operation between lecturers, teachers and librarians gets slowly closer to the desired ideal.
Librarians and library associations cannot, however, afford to relax their PR efforts in the direction of the people concerned with formal education, for there are still vice-chancellors who appear reluctant to grant the university library its proper place, there are still education officers and committees who are satisfied with substandard school libraries, and there are still headteachers who do not fully appreciate the value of public library services to the children under their care.
Only a constant and carefully planned PR programme will improve these situations. One thing, however, must be underlined. Of all sections of the community those concerned with education are perhaps the quickest to appreciate a good library service when they experience it. The moral then should be that when librarians are serving educationists they should gear themselves to produce the best possible service.
Although this chapter deals primarily with libraries and the world outside them, it ends on an internal note with some remarks about communication between the librarian and his staff, largely because this is a topic which is basic to the whole of this book. Unfortunately this aspect of communication is something which many librarians tend to overlook. Adequate arrangements are often made for staff training and welfare, but never a thought is given to keeping staffs informed about the progress of the library as a whole, or about the short-term and long-term intentions of the library authority.
During the past decade library services in a number of countries have been affected by the redrawing of the boundaries of local authorities, and this reorganisation has led to fewer, larger and more viable local authorities, with a consequent reduction in the number of separate public library systems. Such moves have taken place in the Scandinavian countries and in the United Kingdom, reorganisation in Greater London coming in 1965, in Northern Ireland in 1973, in England and Wales in 1974, and in Scotland in 1975. For public libraries this has meant larger staffs spread over wider areas.
In turn, this has increased the need for better communication between the director and the many members of his staff, yet at the same time it has increased the difficulties of achieving better such communication. How many directors can put their hands on their hearts and say with confidence that they are satisfied with the level of communication between themselves and their staffs? To get a more realistic picture of the situation, one should perhaps ask the staffs at the perimeter what they feel about the flow (or otherwise) of information coming to them from the top echelon. Most senior librarians would get a rude shock if this were done!
This problem of communication with staff is one which will never be solved to the satisfaction of either the sender or the recipient of information. In the outside world of today we have become accustomed to having instant information on tap. A disaster, a sports result from the other side of the world can be conveyed to us as soon as it happens, and perhaps we have become too conditioned to this way of life. Whatever methods are adopted to improve the transmission of information between the library director and his staff, there will always be those who remain in ignorance of developments, and there will always be complaints that the system is abysmally inadequate.
These shortcomings must not, however, prevent efforts to improve the position and to adopt a variety of methods. One obvious way is for the director to have meetings with his senior staff, and the question arises as to whether these should be on a regular basis, or whether they should be held as and when thought necessary?
Experience suggests that it is better to hold meetings as and when it is thought necessary, rather than on a regular basis. When regular senior staff meetings are held there is certainly a tendency to invent items for discussion if there is nothing of an urgent nature to bring up. It is much better to arrange such meetings whenever they are deemed essential, with two provisos. First, the director must give plenty of notice of the meeting beforehand, and secondly, a minimum number of meetings must be held each year. Another point to be stressed is that each senior librarian who attends a director's meeting should hold a meeting of his own subordinates soon afterwards. It is of no value to staff communication if the information gleaned from a director's meeting is not passed quickly down the line.
Another medium of communication in large library staff situations is the regular issue of a newsletter or bulletin from the director, and ideally this should be distributed on an individual basis so that every member of the staff is given a personal copy. Not enough libraries do this, but there are some notable exceptions. Toledo Public Libraries, in the United States, for some years produced a chatty newsletter, written in journalistic style, complete with line drawings. Some critics said this lacked dignity, but it was probably read by recipients more avidly than a more staid production might have been.
There are examples of staff newsletters in the United Kingdom as well. Cheshire County Libraries and Westminster City Libraries may be quoted: both aim to keep their staffs as fully informed as possible on intended developments, budgetary news, and personalia relating to past and present staff. These productions are more sober than the Toledo newsletter, but they endeavour to be well presented and readable. Since the last edition of this book came out there have been drastic alterations in the library world. Then, it was common to find staff newsletters full of details about new or projected buildings; now such details are sadly lacking, and in an era of recession the information being passed on is more likely to he concerned with economies and reductions in services. During periods like this it is vital to keep staff informed of the latest developments in the library budgeting process, since library staff at all levels are naturally sensitive about the future.
Differentiation should be made here between the staff newsletter produced under the aegis of the director, which is the kind of' publication being referred to earlier and the staff journal produced by library personnel themselves as the organ of the staff association. Examples occur to show that these two kinds of publication can he combined into one, but really it is preferable for the staff association to run its own publication, leaving the director of libraries with the responsibility for producing a regular medium of intercommunication between himself and his personnel.
In Sweden, Stockholm City Libraries have a part-time public relations librarian, some of whose duties include reporting to the staff journal. This leads one on to end this chapter by posing a question. Should large libraries employ a PR librarian or should they utilise a PR officer (PRO)? There is a distinction, as the observant reader will have noticed. Stockholm is not the only large library to employ a public relations librarian, other examples coming to mind in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada and, especially, in the United States. Excellent results have been achieved by these professional librarians who have acquired a modicum of PR expertise, but PR is a profession in its own right, and would it not be better to employ a PRO either full-time or part-time, or it) utilise the services of thc PRO of the local authority or the university, or even to hand out PR responsibilities to outside experts'
In the United States, which must he regarded as the home of' PR, many libraries employ people specially trained in PR work, Seattle Public Libraries being a case in point. In that country it Is generally accepted that whenever possible the PRO is to be preferred to the I-R librarian. There is no doubt that when a library service reaches a certain size it should employ its own PR personnel, and ideally this should include a trained PRO rather than a trained librarian converted into a PRO.
It often happens that the governing body of the library will not agree to the library having its own PRO, because it already has a section with trained PR people to cope with all aspects of the authority's activities. A great deal of useful publicity can be gained for the library by the trained PRO, because he has close contacts with press, TV and radio which the library could never hope to equal. But the disadvantage of this arrangement is that such an officer is concerned with so many other sevices that he can give only a small proportion of his time to the library's PR needs. In these circumstances, it still remains for the director of libraries and his senior staff to be aware of all publicity possibilities and to acquaint the authority's PRO with library news and developments on a regular basis.
Bibliothe de la Ville de Lyon
The fact that our association has chosen this year to deal with the question of public relations in research libraries shows how important this has become in library management. This does not imply that libraries, which have long been issuing readers, guides and setting up information services, have been unconcerned about their relations with their readers in the past.
But the term 'public relations' has an overall application and refers to a function. It comes to us from the United States, and often stands for 'all the methods used to gain the sympathy and goodwill of the outside world' (M. Crozier). According to the International Public Relations Association, public relations is a management function whereby a public or private body seeks to secure and keep the understanding, sympathy and co-operation of those with whom it has, or may have, dealings. This definition includes action taken vis-is the members of that body, as well as external relations; which is a debatable point.
The problem of public relations can be approached on the same lines but from a different angle. We all have an idea, an 'image' of what a library is, depending on the particular emphasis that we place on individual aspects (reception service, information, size of collections ' speed of delivery). This is a subjective image which varies from one observer to another and does not necessarily match reality. What is needed is therefore a policy to create an image which is consistent and which does reflect reality; a reality which will sometimes require adjustments in the light of observers' reactions.
A public relations policy thus implies mutual understanding and communication.
A policy also implies 'follow-up action', which means that there should be a person or a team whose special job this is, especially in a large library.
As relations with the press often symbolize public relations, the task is sometimes entrusted to a 'press attach The disadvantage of this title is its restrictive character, for the work entails more than relations with the press.
Indeed, I do not propose to define the scope of this job, which varies from one establishment to the next. I shall only try to describe its characteristics in Lyons and the way in which it is developing.
'Public relations' in the Bibliothe Municipale de Lyon (Lyons City Library) developed out of practical experience. Its initiator was the Mayor of Lyons, Mr Louis Pradel, who ordered the Library to be built. He did not hesitate to issue invitations to the press to view the work-site of the Library under construction, and, later, the completed Library. He accompanied distinguished French and foreign visitors to Lyons (including the German President Walter Scheel and the Polish President Edward Gierek) to see the Library, encouraged television reports, organized Open Days, and insisted on exhibitions and activities which gave publicity to the Library that he wished to portray as one of the largest and most modern in Europe, if not in the world. His methods did not necessarily meet with the approval of 'relationists', who were wary of the 'propaganda' aspect. What is certain is that he drew much attention to the Library.
As a result, it became necessary to appoint someone to guide the visitors who came to see the monument just as people visit the Eiffel Tower or Beaubourg in Paris.
Visits were thus a first stage in our public relations, which subsequently had to be subdivided into visits by distinguished persons, 'tours' by professionals in the building trade or professionals in library science, and school visits. This classification is incomplete as it does not include groups of potential library users. Visits by schools have increased in number and now require scheduling.
Reception of the public was thus the first duty which the service had to perform, and besides visits included the information in the entrance hall, the directions to enable readers and visitors to find their way about in the Library and the signposts outside showing the way to the entrance. Reception of exhibits and mounting of exhibitions proposed by outside bodies were additional responsibilities.
The establishment of relations with the press was a gradual process. It was necessary, first, to welcome journalists who came in search of information about the new Library; second, to answer inquiries from the journalists of the region concerning the organization of services and projects, and to advertise the exhibitions both in the press and on radio or television (it should be added that the regional radio and television premises are near the Library).
In short, the opening of the new Library in Lyons gave rise to unfamiliar problems of external relations which were gradually solved by the introduction of a new function to suit the circumstances.
At present we are trying to work out a better public relations formula for a library such as ours; we wish to clarify our policy on the sharing of duties and responsibilities.
Subscribing to the idea of securing and keeping 'the understanding, sympathy and co-operation of those with whom (the library) has, or may have, dealings', we shall apply it to external relations.
External relations are very varied: the government officials, and local councilors who decide on funds for the Library are in direct contact with the Chief Librarian and are kept informed by means of meetings, reports and commissions (not forgetting the remarks and observations of library users).
A number of outside bodies maintain professional relations with the Library. The Centre de documentation ronale (Regional Documentation Centre), for instance, corresponds and has personal contacts with many public and private organizations in the region (and works in close co-operation with several of them).
This combination of professional relations and public relations is found again in dealings with cultural and academic bodies.
Public relations is in fact concerned with several sectors of the public:
1. Those who already use the Library, and who oust be met, given directions and informed, and whose observations (even if harsh) and suggestions must be duly received.
We think it preferable to separate relations with these members of the public from public relations proper and to place them in the charge of a librarian who is fully conversant with the functioning of the Library and able to negotiate with his colleagues who head the various services.
This librarian takes care of reception, distribution of leaflets to readers and the suggestions book.
The readers' service is thus independent of the external relations service.
2. School groups, which have to be shown around at the request of teachers or encouraged to come and discover the facilities available at the Library. The aim in this case is to encourage potential readers by providing a friendly welcome at the Library.
Liaison with secondary schools is the responsibility of the external relations service, which often maintains contact with the school librarians. This service establishes the timetable of visits and determines which documents are useful for these groups. It has also been given responsibility for supervising the production of an audiovisual montage on the Library.
The staff in charge of the children's section and the Regional Documentation Centre also help to cater for school visits.
3. The associations with which the Library most often has dealings are those which request visits.
The external relations service adapts each visit to suit the special interest of the association in question, in one case placing more emphasis on the 'building' aspect, and in another on the collections or the services available.
Relations with the executive officials of associations are often strengthened by sending invitations to attend inaugural ceremonies and information sheets produced by the Association des Amis de la Bibliothe (Association of Friends of the Library).
4. The Association des Amis de la Bibliothe has a special role to play. Its purpose is to provide a network for all who are interested in the doings of the Library, and especially in its exhibitions and other types of organized activity. The person in charge of external relations is also responsible for its secretariat.
The Library Committee enlists the co-operation and support of various people by establishing links both with the press and television and with public and private bodies and teachers.
The members of the Association receive the programme of events planned for the quarter, and, later, individual invitations to inaugural ceremonies and notes on the author of the month. Each quarter, the Library also organizes lectures for them on the Library's ancient manuscripts and printed works.
5. The general public outside the Library. It is equally important to reach members of the general public, both to ensure that they come to the Library and thus increase our user statistics and to convey a favourable impression of the Library so that they are willing to pay the taxes which enable it to function.
Many people, at least those living in France's large towns, are unaware of the services that libraries have to offer, whether public or research libraries. This calls for much advertising work and opinion polls which, in Lyons, are the responsibility of the external relations service.
It is the task of the latter to reach agreement with the municipal authorities and advertisers concerning the information which is to appear either in the municipal review or in poster form. It is also the responsibility of this service to employ an organization specializing in public opinion polls to monitor the public image of the Library.
(2) Organized events
The attention of the general public is often drawn to a particular subject by an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence. In the case of the Library, this may be a series of Open Days when public interest is aroused as much by 'behind the scenes' activities, which ordinarily take place out of sight, as by information about user services.
Inaugural ceremonies also arouse interest through press coverage.
Exhibitions, lectures followed by discussions and slide or film shows attract members of the-public who are not habitual library users.
But the success of these events greatly depends on how they are publicized, not only by posters but also by press reports. The usual practice is therefore to notify monthly journals two months in advance and to place announcements in weekly and daily newspapers, and also to try to secure the presence of television cameras and to give journalists a preview of the exhibition, if possible shortly before the opening. And this brings us to the crucial question of relations with the press.
(3) Relations with the press
The importance of relations with the press in public relations is apparent from the fact that the person in charge of public relations is very often known as the 'press attach
To reach the general public, the media - print, radio and television are necessary. And this is one reason why the Association des bibliothires frans (Association of French Librarians) placed press relations on the agenda of its annual meeting this year (1981).
These relations are not always trouble-free: librarians believe in their superior competence and disclaim responsibility for the serious 'blunders' which sometimes appear in articles, while journalists consider that professionals are too absorbed In their occupation and bore their listeners or the general public, always supposing that they are not actually hiding things that are going wrong.
Press relations require:
(a) Familiarity with the world of journalism and good personal contacts with journalists.
As is true of all professions, journalists have their own habits, patterns of behaviour, and language - in short, their code.
It is important that one member of the library staff has regular dealings with journalists and is well known to them.
In Lyons, the person in charge of public relations is a member of the Association des attachde presse (Association of Press Attach, and is an active member of the press club of Lyons journalists. In short, she has become fully accepted in journalistic circles.
Bearing past experience in mind, when I myself have to talk to a journalist, I always do so in the presence and with the assistance of this person, who can, in the course of the conversation, assess the risk of a negative interpretation by the journalist and counteract it.
(b) Relations with the press also entail knowing journalists' working methods and gearing the information supplied by the Library to these.
It is well known that journalists are people in a hurry; not only are they unable to fit in with your list of appointments (you will have to find the time to see them), but they also have no time to go into details and read a long dossier. Their writing must be done quickly and without many subsequent revisions. Putting themselves in their readers' place, they will seek to communicate a piece of information which is simple, or at any rate simplified so that it can be grasped, by the greatest number: this is to them a prime consideration, and they will seek to hold the reader's interest by supplying graphic details.
If we wish the journalist to take account of the information that the Library gives him, we must prepare a dossier for him which presents him with what he expects and nothing else; a text which he can use as a blueprint if he is in a great hurry.
Thus, for each exhibition and ceremony to inaugurate a new building or service, the public relations officer prepares a dossier for each journalist. That dossier will comprise a text of a page or more, photographs and some figures (but no detailed statistics that the journalist will not have time to use). Every time, therefore, there is preparatory work to be done for meetings with the press (not to mention the preparation of some refreshments so that the talks can take place in a relaxed atmosphere).
The fruits of these relations with the press are to be found in the published articles which are collected and produced in the form of a booklet of press reports.
(c) Use of radio and television is more difficult, as air time is limited. None the less, these channels are used to announce exhibitions (regional news on the radio) and sometimes to broadcast an interview with an author or a lecturer or a preview of an exhibition, in a 15-minute slot on the radio, or in a few minutes on television.
It goes without saying that, as for the written press, the public relations officer will make preparations for the arrival of radio and television journalists, and will maintain a high level of personal contact with them.
The result of these broadcasts is particularly obvious in the case of television: even a short announcement, lasting two or three minutes after the news broadcast, has an immediate influence on the number of visitors to an exhibition.
The Public Relations Service thus has a specific role and specific activities: making arrangements for school visits, relations with associations, organizing the Association des Amis de la Bibliothe, advertising in town, enhancing the impact of special events, relations with the press - all these are tasks which require follow-up action on the part of a person or a team.
The team at the Bibliothe Municipale comprises two persons, the officer and a secretary. Their main working tool is the file containing the names and addresses of the private individuals and bodies with which the Library has relations. Classification by category makes it possible to gear the dispatch of invitations to the type of event organized by the Library. This file requires regular updating.
As we have seen, public relations are not merely friendly contacts; they require sound preparation.
This work can be carried out successfully only if the various Library services share in it by keeping up a continuous supply of detailed information. This entails that all the heads of Library sections must be conscious of the role played by public relations.
This question of co-operation by members of the Library staff brings me to a problem that I have not touched upon here, namely, that of keeping the staff of a large library informed about what takes place in it. I do not think that this task should be the responsibility of the public relations service, but I believe that the latter's experience and co-operation can prove useful in attaining that end.
To conclude, I shall confine myself to one point on which we are all agreed. There can be no good public relations policy unless the Library provides services to a high standard.
A public relations policy can publicize to advantage what actually exists, but is not designed to be misleading or to mask what is lacking; if it were, it would lose all credibility.
by (Professors at the Inter-American School of Librarianship.)
Rocio Herrera C. (Professor of Research Methodology, Head of the Department of Library. Research, Inter-American School of Librarianship, University of Antioquia, Colombia.)
Libia Lotero M. (Professor of Cataloguing and Classification II, Inter-American School of Librarianship, U. of A.)
Ivan Rua R. (MLS. Professor of Cataloguing and Classification I and Administration, Inter-American School of Librarianship, U, of A.)
Beginning with an analysis of the role of the university library in the education system and in the information transfer process, and emphasizing the total interaction of the community with the library system and hence library-user interaction, the authors define what a user study is and traces its development in recent decades.
The concluding section of the paper outlines the considerations to be taken into account in preparing user studies on the basis of a predetermined methodology and bearing in mind the need to identify basic factors such as user information needs, both actual and potential, facilities for meeting those needs, the promotion of library resources and services, user response to those services, the use of information sources, the assessment and justification of existing services, and the role of the library within the library system.
Having identified these factors, the authors conclude that user studies are vitally important for library development since they are a means of determining user needs, the extent to which they are met, user response to library services and the effectiveness of the system; also because they are an effective way for the library to introduce user feedback.
A library is an open system, a subsystem of the wider education system, whose objectives and functions are determined by the community concerned. It follows that, in defining the objectives of the education system, one is specifying the objectives of university libraries, which should contribute to the goals of the system as a whole and respond to changing social needs.
Since university libraries are an integral part of the education system, they should provide support services not only for courses of formal and informal education but also for those geared to research and the generation of new knowledge in the universities to which they belong.
The aims and structure of a university library are influenced by the philosophy of the university, just as the quality of the library service within an institution is related to the quality of the education provided by that institution.
If the library is to fulfil its proper role within the education system, there must be continual interaction between it and the users it exists to serve. Interaction can be influenced both by factors directly related to the library, such as how efficiently and effectively it is run, the relevance of the information it provides and the communication channels it employs, and by others directly related to the user, including his personality, motivation, pursuits and specialized interests. Library-user interaction should be studied on the basis of a communication model, which is to be understood as an information transfer process involving a source, a means or method of transmission and one or more receivers. The source should emit the information clearly, the means should transmit it efficiently and the receiver should comprehend it completely. This process implies responsibilities on the part of both the communicator and the receiver of information, hence the need to take account of the feedback factor. However, the role and responsibilities of users have tended to be imprecise, and users have sometimes been reluctant to play an active role in the information acquisition process. As a result, there is a broad range of 'passive' information held by libraries whose value is ignored and which is under-utilized.
The under-utilization of library holdings and facilities is undoubtedly due as much to the fact that users are unaware of the facilities offered by libraries as to the fact that libraries do not have a precise knowledge of user needs.
In order to plan information activities that include provision for system development, it is therefore necessary to have a precise knowledge of the needs of potential as well as actual users and to understand adequately, recognize and identify in appropriate form their information requirements.
The best way of getting to know about users and their information needs is to carry out periodic user studies, which enable libraries to determine exactly how and in what direction they should develop in order to meet those requirements.
1. GENERAL SURVEY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF USER STUDIES
A library user study may be defined as any study relating to library use, in any or all of its aspects. In this connection, the following categories of user studies may be distinguished: studies aimed at determining the overall pattern of interaction with the user community, without reference to any particular mode of information reception by users; secondly, studies to assess the use of a given information source, such as books and periodical publications - generally known as use studies; and thirdly, studies to determine the information flow pattern in the system of communicating knowledge.
This paper will be specifically concerned with the first category, since the completion of a study showing the overall interaction of the community with the library system is a prerequisite for carrying out the other kinds of study.
The purpose of user studies is to improve existing conditions in a given library. This can only be achieved through user studies, which make it possible to identify users and their specific information requirements.
Before the Second World War, such studies were sporadic and unrelated to library development; it was only after 1949 that the term USE started to be employed independently in the literature on the subject rather than as a constituent of other headings, as was the case previously. One also finds in the library literature for the period 1960-1973, 477 entries under the heading. 'User studies', 293 relating to publications in the United States and 184 to publications in other countries (60 per cent and 40 per cent respectively). Analysis of the literature subsequent to this period reveals an increase in these figures, showing the growing interest that such studies have aroused among librarians throughout the world.
Analysis of the studies carried out by type of library shows that most were carried out in specialized libraries, followed by public libraries and lastly university libraries, studies on school libraries being almost nonexistent. The proportions are not the same in all countries: in Colombia, for example, as libraries have developed the limited number of user studies carried out have been mainly focused on specialized and university libraries.
Since this paper was prepared in the context of a higher education library seminar, an attempt was made to ascertain the number and scope of user studies carried out in this kind of library, taking Medellas a case-study. The results were as follows:
Questionnaires sent out 18
Questionnaires completed 13
User studies carried out 0
Studies and/or evaluations of collections 9
2 of these included user studies
Period covered by the survey 1974-1980
The studies and evaluations carried out regarded the user only as a statistical factor. It should be mentioned that two of the studies carried out in one of the libraries surveyed were intended to study the use of particular collections with a view to determining user satisfaction or otherwise.
A survey was also carried out in other regions of the country, either directly or through institutions concerned with library planning and development, such as the schools of librarianship ICFES and COLCIENCIAS. This revealed that there have been few attempts to carry out user studies in university libraries, although studies and evaluations of collections have been made in various parts of the country, employing a similar methodology and yielding similar results to those carried out in Medell
User studies, which have often been criticized for appearing to produce little in the way of useful results, are of great importance since they provide a substantial body of specific knowledge, facts and conclusions that are of great value for the development of new facilities.
A user study yields conclusions that can be used in improving the administrative process since they can be converted into indicators of successes and shortcomings in the planning and development of services.
User studies show the different channels employed by users in the information acquisition process and also the different types of information sources and the frequency with which they are used.
Another indication of the importance of user studies is the fact that they clearly reveal that the flow of information is not a simple process and that a whole range of factors help to determine the nature of the individual information collection process. They are also a way of identifying user needs and behaviour, which leads to greater efficiency in the information transfer process.
In general, it can be said that there are good grounds for carrying out user studies since they are the most effective way of determining user needs and therefore of being able to establish the facilities to meet them properly; they also enable continuous evaluation of the system to take place.
The scope of most of the user studies so far carried out may be said to have been very limited and to have yielded little benefit, the reason being that they were not preceded by a definition of specific objectives and because they were not based on adequate methodologies, the methods employed having generally been indirect, as in the case of statistics, which are known not to provide very reliable data for determining user needs and behaviour.
The result was that these studies were mainly concerned with the quantitative analysis of library use, disregarding the important role of the user in the information retrieval process and the need for continuity in carrying out such studies, which have consequently not been turned into useful basic tools for improving and restructuring library services.
This is why librarians who are aware of the real aim of user studies should tackle the problem of carrying out those studies in the correct manner, defining their scope in advance. Only in this way will user studies enable the library properly to fulfil its active role in the information transfer process through the identification of certain basic factors to be analysed in this paper, such as user information needs, both actual and potential, the facilities for meeting those needs, the promotion of library resources and services, user response to those services, the use of information sources, the evaluation and justification of existing services, the need to provide new services, and the need to participate in the information structure as a whole, i.e. not regarding the library as an object of study, as an isolated element, but as a component of a system.
2. FACTORS TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN PREPARING A USER STUDY
The first step in carrying out a user study should be to define the terminology relating to information needs. Definitions should be borne in mind at all stages of the study.
The need for information is a concept that is dependent on changing social values. It is a psychological state associated with uncertainty and the desire to fill a gap in knowledge. Although the concept of information need has been much debated in the information sciences, it is now agreed that the concept is restricted to distinguishing between a state of mind and its subsequent representation in the form of a question.
Potential total demand may be defined, in a formal sense, as the totality of potential individual or group demands relating to library materials, services and staff. This potential demand may or may not be expressed.
The total potential demand facing a library at a given moment depends on a number of factors such as the type of work carried out by the user, the level of user expectation and the level of services provided by the library, all of which factors influence or determine potential individual demand.
Potential demand at whatever level expresses to some degree the limitations in the provision of services and resources, and is probably viewed differently by the user and the librarian. This explains unfulfilled or misunderstood expectations and dissatisfaction on both sides. For this reason, it is necessary to establish priorities that can be used to identify all the forms of demand.
Potential total demand is converted in the course of time into expressed and unexpressed demand. Expressed demand may be defined as an action by the user to obtain data, information or documents from or through libraries and may be understood not only in terms of what the user requests but also in terms of those forms of demand that he satisfies directly.
It should be noted that not every expressed demand is satisfied, and the difference between a satisfied and an unsatisfied demand is a key indicator of the effectiveness of the system.
Expressed and satisfied demand leads to use; in other words, use is a function of the satisfaction of demand. There are differences between what the librarian and the user regard as use.
The relationship between these terms is illustrated in the following diagram:
The first step in any user study is to determine clearly and precisely what it is intended to achieve. The logical development and scope of the study will depend on the precision with which the objectives have been initially defined.
The objectives must necessarily be defined in relation to the specific characteristics of the library and the users to be covered by the study; one should therefore bear in mind the objectives of a university library.
The objectives should be formulated in such a way that the results of the study can be quantified so as to be analysed and evaluated in relation to those objectives, thereby yielding information enabling the strong or weak points in the system to be identified.
In general terms, a user study in university libraries attempts to determine the use made of university libraries as an aid in the education and research processes, the main difficulties affecting the information-retrieval process, whether effective interaction exists between the library and its users, and the form in which information is transmitted to them.
Specifically, the objectives of a user study should be:
- to determine types of users;
- to identify their information needs;
- to establish priorities in relation to these needs;
- to establish the level of satisfaction of needs;
- to determine user behaviour in relation to information,
- to evaluate the services provided for the restructuring of information and/or the establishment of new services if necessary.
In the last analysis, the results of a study of this kind will show whether the service provided to users by the library meets their needs or not, and what could be done to make it more efficient, hence the emphasis that should be placed on properly defining the objectives of each study.
2.3 Library-user interaction
A user study should not be approached in unilateral fashion, that is to say, it should always involve the active participation of the users as an integral part of the interaction process that should exist between them and the library. As mentioned previously, this process is only possible through communication, in which feedback plays a basic role. Such a study should therefore be based not on a quantification of existing resources and services but on qualitative factors such as the identification of types of users, their information needs, their response to information and the use they make of library resources. This is the only way to achieve a greater level of satisfaction in the information retrieval process.
It is vital in this respect to clarify beforehand each of the qualitative elements:
2.3.1 Types of users
The successful transfer of information depends to a large extent on correctly identifying users in order to study their response to information.
A community is usually defined by geographical areas, the institutions consulted by users, areas of interests or a combination of all three. An initial classification of users distinguishes two categories:
126.96.36.199 Actual users, or those who effectively make use of the library and its resources.
188.8.131.52 Potential users, or those whose profile conforms to that for which the system was designed but who for various reasons do not make use of its resources. This group has been virtually disregarded in the various user studies; yet it should be a focus of interest, since one of the reasons why the library and its resources are not being used by this group might be that the library is not sufficiently geared to the needs of all its users; also, in order to establish information activities one has to identify potential users and to have a proper understanding of their information requirements.
Generally speaking, actual users may be divided into the following categories:
- those who seek information sporadically to meet needs as they arise, who constitute the majority;
- those who use information services frequently.
Within this latter category we may distinguish:
- those who know precisely what they need and therefore come looking for relevant and precise information;
- those who come to the library in search of general rather than specific information, that is to say, they are more interested in the quantity than in the relevance and precision of the information;
- those who use services directly, which does not necessarily mean that they always satisfy their information needs.
Although a university library caters for a variety of users, four categories may be clearly identified: teachers, undergraduates, postgraduates and research workers.
On the basis of this classification it is possible to determine the differences between the groups and their information needs.
2.3.2 Information needs
The service provided by libraries should be governed mainly by the needs of the users, which calls for continual assessment of information needs and priorities.
Need is a concept that depends on the values of a society and on professional, social and economic factors; one of the characteristics of needs is therefore transitoriness, and this is one of the most neglected factors in evaluating user needs.
Another related problem is that of trying to determine needs unilaterally: the user thinks that the library is going to satisfy what he deems to be his needs and similarly, librarians suppose that they know user needs in advance and that it is sufficient to provide them with what they think will satisfy those needs.
The main information needs of users fall into two categories:
184.108.40.206 The need to locate specific documents of which the bibliographical references are known - referred to as a need for a 'known item'.
220.127.116.11 The need to locate documents relating to a particular theme - known as a thematic need. This need can in turn be divided into two categories, namely:
18.104.22.168.1 The need for information to solve a particular problem.
22.214.171.124.2 The need for information on the latest developments in a specialized field.
These two needs are different not only in their origin but also in the form in which information is sought in order to solve that need. But in the first case it is the user who initiates the search, and in the second case the initiative may lie with the library system.
Needs for problem-solving information may be of various kinds, but it is right to group them, as Lancaster does, in the following categories:
- the need for a single document of a factual type, for example, rapid reference queries commonly handled by libraries;
- the need to consult one or more documents on a particular subject;
- the need for a comprehensive search, Involving the retrieval of the maximum number of published documents on a particular subject in a given period of time.
The problem facing libraries is that users generally do not know their precise information needs and therefore do not express those needs completely.
Generally speaking, the various types of university library users think that their Information needs simply involve supplementary reading in their subjects of study, in the case of undergraduates; supplementary reading in their studies and research, in the case of postgraduates; the updating of their professional knowledge, the planning and preparation of new courses and supplementary reading as guidance for their students in the courses for which they are responsible, in the case of lecturers; and obtaining information for their everyday work, updating their knowledge in their specialized field and related fields and tackling new problems or projects, in the case of research workers.
In order to determine the information needs of the user of a university library, as of any other kind of library, it is necessary to establish continuous communication between all those involved in the education process and thus achieve satisfactory interaction. This interaction should not be disregarded, since the user is an active participant in the information system and it must be borne in mind that his needs should determine the shape of that system.
In some instances users may be unaware of many of the information sources and services available or potentially available, given that their information needs may be directed towards solving a limited number of problems whereas the system Is geared to very broad disciplines.
The staff of university libraries is responsible for the efficiency of the system and should direct users to the relevant sources and services, adapting their services to user demands. In addition, an information source should anticipate the requirements of users and gear itself to them; this can only be done through continuous communication, making it possible not only to establish current needs but also to discern trends which will lead to the system being faced with new information demands.
2.3.3 User behaviour
The work habits of users in any activity requiring information, the importance they attach to obtaining it and the facilities at their disposal, their knowledge of these facilities, their assessment of their value and the possibility of their obtaining what they are looking for are the factors that affect user behaviour in the quest for information.
The behaviour of the users of university libraries specifically is affected, in addition to the above factors, by others directly related to the university environment, such as teaching methods and the type of education provided. The country's education system is a teaching-learning process largly consisting in an essentially repetitive pattern in which the student consumes and reproduces the concepts transmitted by the teacher. This model is mainly based on the university lecture system, in which the teacher simply gives a course of study and provides the pupil with a brief bibliography consisting basically of texts. The result has been that education has not become a critical and creative process and library resources have accordingly been under-utilized.
As regards the response to the information services provided by university libraries, it can be said that research workers do not use the services properly since the role of the library as an agent for the transfer of information has been disregarded in the research process, this type of user tending to acquire information through informal channels of communication, such as personal contacts with other colleagues. In its turn, the library has neglected its task as a constituent part of the research enterprise, forgetting that one of the priorities of the university, in addition to its teaching role, is that of research, which is the source of much knowledge of benefit not only to the university but also to the community in general.
The university library should pay special attention to ascertaining not only the specific information needs of each type of user but also user behaviour patterns in the information retrieval process, in order that these needs may be met and the factors responsible for the non-use of the library restricted to a minimum.
This will be achieved through an appropriate methodology for conducting user studies, which will then provide guidelines for the organization of user training or instruction courses aimed at the various groups. These courses will influence the future response of users to information services.
Since user behaviour in the information retrieval process determines the level of library-user interaction, continual monitoring by the librarian of changes in that behaviour is necessary. These changes are dependent not only on information needs but also on the possible impact of the introduction of new services. This shows that, over and above the matter of training in the use of library resources, user behaviour presents a number of special features, largely reflecting the fact that the information needs of those concerned are not well defined and that their request for information are consequently vague and very general. It follows that library staff should bear in mind their active role in promoting and publicizing their services and resources since, despite the continual emphasis placed on the role of information in development, it has been shown that users tend to dispense with non-essential information, the usual practice being to rely on memory, to evade the problem or to solve it with vague or incomplete information.
However, it should not be overlooked that there is another group of users who consult libraries actively and effectively in order to satisfy their information needs; although accessibility influences the use that they make of resources, the most important thing for this group is their confidence and faith in the information system.
User information needs cannot be determined solely on the basis of questionnaires containing questions such as: What are your information needs? or What should be done to satisfy your information needs?. It is necessary to develop appropriate techniques and methodologies for such studies. Although they are aware of the value of the user studies, most libraries hitherto have not been fully conversant with the problems and techniques associated with such studies. In this connection, Maurice Line in his work Library Survey writes that the results of such studies are often an indigestible mass of poorly interpreted data collected from inadequate and badly chosen samples, by means of unsuitable and unreliable methods and on the basis of an ill-designed approach.
We analyse below the steps that should be taken in carrying out a user study.
The first step is to plan the study - a fundamental step, since the decisions taken at this stage will affect the subsequent stages. The first thing is to define clearly what one wishes to find out, with a view to determining the scope of the study - , the methodology to be employed, the timetable for the study and the type of information to be collected. It is worth noting that the study should begin with a review of existing literature on the subject, which will be useful in both the planning and execution of the study and in the analysis of the data.
An important decision has to be taken during the planning stage, namely establishing the duration and timetable for each of the activities to be carried out under the study.
It is also necessary to decide the most appropriate times at which to carry out the study; for example, it is not advisable to carry out studies during exam periods, nor should they be carried out when new services are being introduced, since the results obtained before and after the introduction of such services may not be comparable.
The second stage is to choose the target group and the sample for the study. Because of the difficulty of targeting the study on the population as a whole, it is necessary to choose a sample. For the results to be meaningful, the sample must be as representative as possible of the population as a whole. The most effective method is a random sample. Sometimes it is necessary to stratify the sample if the population is not homogeneous, and the size of the sample will depend on the degree of precision required and the size of the population.
The third stage involves selecting and designing the data collection tools. Although user studies to date have been based on social research techniques, it has been observed that the best results are obtained when the questionnaire is supplemented with an interview.
The advantage of the questionnaire is that it can be applied to a large population, including one that is geographically dispersed. To be fully effective, It should be drawn up with regard to the need for such features as objective, clear and precise questions, preferably of the closed variety since the answers to open questions are more difficult to analyse, and employing terminology familiar to the user.
Once the questions to be included have been selected, they should be arranged in a logical order, bearing in mind that they should not take more than 30 minutes to complete.
To facilitate the analysis of the information gathered, the questions should be pre-coded.
It is also recommended that the questionnaire should be sent directly and accompanied by a note or letter in which its aims and importance are explained. The questionnaire should be tested before finally being distributed so as to identify any weaknesses in it.
As said above, an interview should supplement the information obtained from the questionnaire. A small sub-sample should be interviewed with the aim of checking the validity of the answers given to the questionnaire.
The fourth stage is the collection and analysis of the information. A proper analysis of the data will show whether the study carried out has been successful in identifying the specific information needs of users and their response to existing services and will also show if there is a need for overhauling services or establishing new ones.
Data analysis should be carried out carefully, since it is not possible to arrive at valid conclusions on the basis of the results alone if the predetermined aims have not been kept in mind throughout all stages of the study. The conclusions can be invalidated by an ill-chosen sample, the interpretation given to the questionnaires, badly conducted interviews or the method of data analysis.
3.1 The university library plays an active role in the information transfer process and, if it is to fulfil this role effectively, it should begin by making a study of needs. A systematic study of information needs, yielding a thorough knowledge of their nature, can be regarded as one of the most important outcomes of user studies.
3.2 For services to be properly planned, it is first necessary to identify the information needs of users and the degree to which these needs are met; the latter is a factor that should not be taken for granted but should be checked through user studies.
3.3 The library will be unable to satisfy users' information needs completely if there is no user feedback. Library staff should not expect that feedback will always be initiated by users, but should rather take the lead by introducing new policies and procedures when an unsatisfied need is perceived. User studies are extremely useful in this process.
3.4 The users' skill or ability in the use of information sources or resources affects their response to the library system in the information retrieval process. It is therefore important that the university library should provide user instruction courses geared to the different types of users. Reliable guidelines for carrying out such courses effectively can only be obtained from the studies described in this paper.
3.5 In general, it can be said that user studies are a valuable and necessary activity; however, to be useful they should be carried out using an appropriate methodology to ensure proper data collection and analysis. The results of such studies should be examined objectively and critically.
3.6 As we have seen throughout this paper, user studies are of great importance and are necessary for the development of the library system and, consequently, the education system. Library staff in Colombia have understood this, and a number of efforts have been made in this direction which, in association with a proper methodology, should be instrumental in achieving very valuable results.
ALEKSANDROVICZ, I.A. Contribution to Research on Information User Needs. In: A.I. Mikhailow (ed.) Problems of Information User Needs, pp. 148-162. Moscow, International Federation for Documentation. Study Research on Theoretical Basis of Information (FID/Rl), 1973.
CONFERENCIA IBEROAMERICANA SOBRE INFORMACION Y DOCUMENTACION CIENTIFICA Y TECHNOLOGICA (Madrid, 1978). Actas/Reuneber 1978. Madrid, Instituto de Informaci Documentacin Ciencia y Technolog 1979. 339 pp.
CORBETT, Edmund V. Fundamentals of Library Organization and Administration: A Practical Guide. London, Library Association, c. 1978. 291 pp.
CUBA, B. Documentation and Information: Services, Techniques and Systems. Calcutta, World Press Private Limited, 1978. 369 pp.
EVANS, A.J.; RHODES, R.G.; KEENAN, S. Education and Training of Users of Scientific and Technical Information. UNISIST Guide for Teachers. Paris, Unesco, 1977. 113 pp.
KNHITACHEL, F. Information Requirements as a Basis for the Planning of Information Activities. In: A.I. Mikhailov (ed.), Problems of Information User Needs, pp. 43-61. Moscow, International Federation for Documentation, Study Research on Theoretical Basis of Information (FID/RI), 1973.
REGENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK. Library Services: A Statement of Policy and Proposed Action. Albany, The State Education Department, 1970. 34 pp.
RODRIGUEZ, Fernando. Las Necesidades de informaci el conocimiento de su uso, entre docentes y alumnos de la Universidad de Concepcie Chile. In: Memoria/3 Congreso Regional sobre Documentacao e IIa. Reuniao de FID/CLA, pp. 216-244. Lima, El Congreso, 1971.
VIDOVIC, D. Reflections on the Relationship Between User and Information Workers. In: A.I. Mikhailov (ed.), Problems of Information User Needs, pp. 3242. Moscow, International Federation for Documentation, Study Research on Theoretical Basis of Information (FID/RI), 1973.
Articles in periodical publications
CARVALHO, Abigail de Oliveira. Biblioteca universitaria: estudo de usuario. Revista Escola Biblioteconomde UIMG, 5(2), September 1976, pp. 117-137.
FORD, Geoffrey. Research in User Behaviour in University Libraries. Journal of Documentation (London), 29(l), May 1973, pp. 85-106.
LANCASTER, H.W. User Education: The Next Major Thrust in Information Science. Journal of Documentation for Librarianship (Philadelphia), 11, Summer 1970, pp. 55-63.
MANN, Peter H. Communication about Books to Undergraduates. Aslib Proceedings (London), 26(6), June 1974, pp. 250-256.
MASTERSON, A.J. User of Libraries: A comparative Study. -Journal of Librarianship (London), 6(2), April 1974, pp. 63-79.
ROBERTS, Norman. Draft Definitions. Information on Library Needs, Wants, Demand and Uses: A Comment. Aslib Proceedings, 27(7), July 1975, pp. 308-313.
ROTH, Dana L. Las necesidades de los usuarios de las bibliotecas. Boletde la Unesco para las Bibliotecas (Paris), 28(2), March-April 1974, pp. 99-102.
RZASA, Philip V. and MORIARTY, John H. The Types and Needs of Academic Library Users. A Case-study of 6,568 Responses. College and Research Libraries (Chicago), 31(6), 1970, pp. 403-409.
TOBIN, Jaine Culver. A Study of Library 'Use Studies'. Information Storage and Retrieval, 10(3-4), March-April 1974, pp. 101-113.
TURNER, Stephen J.A. Formula for Stimulating Collection Use. College and Research Libraries (Chicago), 38(3), November 1977, pp. 509-513.
WOOD, D.N. User Studies: A Review of the Literature from 1966-1970. Aslib Proceedings (London), 23(1), 1971, pp. 11-23.
Discovering the User and His Information Needs, Aslib Proceedings (London), 21(7), July 1969, pp. 262-270.
by Gladys ADDA
'Information is a perishable product which can be costed and marketed.
It can be bought, sold, produces a yield and is subject to economic laws.'
The concept of marketing is relatively new. In former times of scarcity, firms were chiefly concerned with improving production techniques and solving supply problems. In today's society of plenty, the vital concern is demand, the consumer, the final user.
Marketing covers a wider field than market research, with which it is often confused.
There is however nothing extraordinary about it; the caravan route traders and Venetian merchants of the thirteenth century had an instinctive sense of marketing, for which our contemporaries have provided a theoretical basis.
1. THE MARKETING FUNCTION IN AN INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION SERVICE
The purpose of a SID is to manufacture products and/or create services designed for a given user population.
The marketing function of a SID is in fact its commercial function. It is not enough to manufacture products; they must also find a buyer, and to do this they must satisfy an expressed or latent need.
In this respect professional documentalists, librarians and archivists have developed on the same lines as business managers. Preoccupied, not to say obsessed, by technological progress, they have lost sight of the user; yet it is the user who is the raison d'e of documentation services, libraries and archives. The result, even in countries with limited resources, is the paradoxical situation that despite the existence of expensive and often sophisticated facilities, users' needs are far from being met.
It is a dialogue of the deaf.
During the past few years there has thus been increasingly acute awareness of the need to maximize the return on the investments required for the creation, expansion and operation of a SID, in other words:
1.1 Optimal efficiency.
1.2 High use and consultation rates.
1.3 The highest possible rate of user satisfaction.
Well-planned marketing can contribute to some extent to the attainment of these three vital goals.
2. THE SCOPE OF A SID'S MARKETING FUNCTION
2.1 In advance of production:
2.1.1 The fullest possible knowledge of the parent institution (ministry, firm, research department, research centre, university, etc.). The data concerning the institution should be constantly updated (nature of activity, objectives, structure, staffing, budget, etc.). Using all the information gathered, an initial outline can be made of the documentary field to be covered.
2.1.2 Knowledge of the user population to be served and their needs.
This involves analysing needs, both quantitatively - how many? and qualitatively - who? (situation, function) - what? (focus of interest, form) when? (frequency) - where? (in the case of decentralized institutions). Needs should be analysed with respect not only to individuals but also, above all, to groups (decision-makers, specialized departments, research teams, students, teachers, etc.). Account should be taken of both expressed and latent, both present and potential needs. Demand should be anticipated, and forward plans made for the future service to be provided.
Quantitative and qualitative analysis of their needs
A knowledge of users also implies knowledge of their behaviour in respect of information, documentalists, and generally speaking, the SID in question:
- How do they gain information?
- Do they know that the SID exists and are they aware of the services it can make available to them?
The capacity to absorb information is limited, and varies from individual to individual (depending for example on the level of education, situation, and type of occupation). A knowledge of users will help to achieve a clearer definition and better demarcation of the documentary field. It will condition the establishment of interest profiles which will guide the activity of the documentalist at all levels of the documentary chain (acquisitions, abstracts, indexing, etc.). Profiles should, however, never be permanent, especially in countries where the mobility of executive staff brings about changes in their focus of interest, hence in their information needs.
Profiles should therefore be constantly updated. This will only be possible with the introduction of a continuing dialogue between documentalists and users, which will bring the former out from their ivory tower and end the latters' lack of confidence and misgivings in respect of documentation services, creating new habits and behaviour which will be irreversible.
Present ® Potential
in respect of
2.1.3 A knowledge of the documentary environment, whether at the sectoral, national, regional or international level.
This means knowing who does what, how and at what cost. This will reveal what part of the documentary field is already covered elsewhere.
This approach will make it possible to define a policy of co-operation and exchange with other SIDs: nothing should be done which is being done, and better done, elsewhere. It will also govern any decision to become part of a network at any level.
2.2 After production.
2.2.1 Promotion of the SID by a publicity campaign:
Countless documentation services are unknown to the public or even to colleagues working in the same institution. Documentalists should have no false modesty. If they are confined to a 'ghetto' because others fail to appreciate their activity, it is for them to break out of the ghetto. They should seize every opportunity to make themselves known and publicize the services they can render. They must advertise their services, and do it in an intelligent way to create a user-friendly image of their activity.
Publicity may take the form of brochures, notices placed where they will be seen by the most people, personalized letters, specially organized meetings between documentalists and users, and so on.
2.2.2 Selling the product. As noted above, it is not enough to manufacture products or create services; they must also be 'sold' to the consumer.
The analyses described above have as their first objective that of producing the goods and creating the services which meet the needs of the SID's 'customers'.
The second objective is to establish distribution procedures which are adapted to these customers:
What will be for general distribution? For distribution by profile?
Will the service be open to the public or reserve to particular customers? In the latter case, which customers? Will it be paid for or free? What will be the rules of access, for loans?, etc.
The answers to all these questions come under the marketing function.
3. INVESTIGATION METHODS
In the analysis of needs different techniques can be used.
3.1 Questionnaires may be sent to users (actual or potential), but it is preferable to proceed by interview and direct contact, with a questionnaire used as background material for discussion.
3.2 Through the activity of the service.
The statistics collected are merely an indication, as they reflect only the demand which has been expressed, and only that expressed by the users of the service. Moreover, they do not reveal the degree to which the need is satisfied.
3.3 Through a dialogue between the SID and the users, which should be a continuing one.
The documentalist should seize every opportunity for dialogue, for example when a request is made for documentation, a new periodical published or new material launched.
While it is important to 'produce' in response to a need, the cost is also important. Even if services are free, the cost of operating them, and their cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit must be a constant concern of documentalists, in both private and public institutions.
It will thus be seen that the marketing function is far from being a minor or easy one. On the contrary, it is a complex function in that it simultaneously takes into account factors which are endogenous to the institution for which the documentalists work and factors which are exogenous to it. It is multidisciplinary, involving psychology, sociology, and economics and so on.
We cannot conclude this paper without warning documentalists of the dangers inherent in some forms of market research. Their findings may be frustrating in cases where they reveal needs which cannot possibly be satisfied for lack of human and/or financial resources.
Yet these findings will provide sound arguments for stating one's case, negotiating, and obtaining the desired resources. The problem for any official responsible for a SID is how to strike the right balance between needs and resources.
We hope we have convinced documentalists of the importance of the marketing function. Even if they lack the means of carrying out or commissioning market research, in the true sense of the term, they should instinctively have 'marketing reflexes' if they are to perform their work satisfactorily, and they should be able to review the situation continually in the light of changing environmental or user trends.
COMPILED BY JALILA AYARI
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