Strategic Management for Today's Libraries

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Libraries do not exist in a giant vacuum. Rather, they are regularly affected by external changes and trends outside of their control. The political climate, demographics, the economic state of the union, and technological change all can affect the library adversely. Or these changes can be seen as challenges and opportunities to move the library in the right direction—and always forward. How well librarians respond to and manage change will spell the difference between success in achieving the library mission and a library that is always slow to respond to change.

Strategic management arms librarians with the ability to work with external changes proactively to achieve the library's mission. Strategic management is the ability to envision the future and implement the vision.

Librarian and writer Marilyn Gell Mason outlines the different forces affecting libraries and explains how and why librarians must manage external changes just as they manage internal resources. Among the external factors:

  • political context
  • innovation
  • economic issues
  • impact of technology
  • intellectual freedom
Mason then explains how librarians can work proactively to turn external forces into positive outcomes for the library, their patrons, and themselves. She maintains strategic management can spell the difference between a positive role for libraries in their communities and a library unable to keep up with the forces affecting it.

Introduction to Strategic Management

Part I
Trend Analysis

Part II
Political Context

Part III

Part IV
Economic Issues

Part V
The Impact of Technology

Part VI

Part VII
What "Global" Means for Libraries

The Library of Congress

Part IX
Personal Style

Part X

Marilyn Gell Mason

Marilyn Gell Mason is the director of the Cleveland Public Library. Previously she served as director of the Atlanta Public Library and executive director of the first White House Conference on Library and Information Services in 1978. She is a frequent speaker and contributor to the professional press on management and policy issues.

"Mason speaks from careful thought given to her practical experience, and she deserves our attention."
—Public Libraries

"...a useful collection on an increasingly important topic."
—Library and Information Science Research