Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
There are certain universal truths, and one of these that impacts information professionals is the fact that businesses – libraries included – need to be managed. Guided by the management and leadership in their respective organization and in the interest of running a successful organization, libraries follow the same practices as those found in other industries and businesses, including management, planning, marketing, and advocacy. “Managers and leaders both play critical but different roles in today’s information organizations” (Golden, 2015). This area will discuss some of the essential fundamental principles of library and program management.
The term management can be subjective and nuanced in different organizations and use-cases, but the basic role of a manager is to, “deploy all of an organization’s resources to best achieve its objectives” (Haycock & Romaniuk, 2018). Managers are knowledgeable about processes such as “planning, budgeting, staffing, measuring performance, and problem-solving (Golden, 2015, p.209),” and use those skills and their authority to guide the use of human and materials assets to accomplish both day to day and long term goals. Managers can be categorized into different levels including Top management, in libraries meaning director level responsible for overall functioning; Middle management, in libraries meaning department heads who are responsible for the success of specific areas of the library; and Supervisors, who are responsible for day-to-day activities.
Planning, or steering the information organization in the right direction, is one of the primary responsibilities under the purview of the manager. Through the collection, analysis, and evaluation of data, managers are enabled to make informed decisions to determine, “meaningful, achievable, and quantifiable objectives that an organization needs to pursue and then identifying what is needed to implement them” (Golden, 2015, p.213). The strategic organizational planning management engages in is designed to steer the organization and can include mission statements, SWOT analysis, and needs assessments. Strategic planning helps an organization, “focus its energy, to ensure that members of the organization are working toward the same goals, to assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment” (Golden, 2015, p.213). A stalwart tool in planning, the SWOT analysis examines the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, as well as the opportunities and threats against that organization to identify value (Coman & Ronen, 2009). The SWOT is an opportunity to scrutinize an organization’s internal and external factors to define strategic initiatives and guidance, and ultimately inform other planning tools such as organizational vision and mission statements.
By definition, marketing management is “the process of planning and executing programs designed to influence the behavior of target audiences by creating and maintaining beneficial exchanges for the purposes of satisfying individual and organizational objectives” (Romaniuk, 2018, p.120). In essence, marketing is the chore of planning, managing, and launching activities that allow the organization to achieve its goals, mission, and vision. An important element of marketing is the evaluation of those activities to understand their efficacy so that marketing efforts can be realigned as programs move through their lifecycle and interest wanes, or if a marketing initiative is not well received. The four major steps in the marketing process are: research to examine actual and potential customers, segmentation to make decisions on target audiences, the four Ps (price, product, place, and promotion) that makeup strategy and programs, and evaluation of those programs (Koontz, 2015).
Advocacy is perhaps one of the most important roles a library has, as libraries have the power to turn, “passive support into educated action for the organization’s program that coincides with the agenda and priorities of stakeholders” (Golden, 2015, p.216). In essence, library management has the power through its planning and marketing to elevate the visibility, and by extension the public support, of different advocacy programs such as funding and budget initiatives or access to information. The American Library Association is heavily involved in guiding professional advocacy programs, going so far as to form political action committees (PACs) to that end (Golden, 2015).
Prior to my entrance into the MLIS program, I’d spent my professional career working as a marketer, for most of that time working directly under the Director of Business Development, so I feel I naturally inclined to consider management concerns with the information organization entities I work with. My first step away from marketing was when I took a Digital Asset Management position, and in that role developed data and analysis to highlight to the stakeholders and decision-makers why integrating a formal DAMS into the departmental workflows would be valuable and upon approval, how to address the change-management of that launch, and how we would define success therein. Similarly, in my current role of Content Management System Administrator where I manage the cataloging and discovery of marketing and sales enablement assets, I managed every component of the launch, from communicating up to my managers on timelines given the scope of work and human assets to determining what activities would take place at the launch and which success measures we would use.
My coursework at San Jose State University School of Information helped me align those professional experiences with the greater goals of the information community and the advocacy efforts being championed by the profession’s leading organizations. Further, the coursework allowed me to use the real-life business use-cases and projects I was encountering at work, and apply the theories and practice I was learning in my courses such as INFO281 (Digital content Evaluation, Negotiation, Acquisition, Deployment, and Tracking) and INFO282 (Financial Management) as highlighted in the examples below.
I submit this assignment as an example of my greater understanding of management priorities related to business resources and budget concerns. In this paper, I examine the use of Cost-Benefit Analysis, a standard business practice, as a tool to help libraries evaluate programs and initiatives that are worthy of budgetary spending.
I selected this project as an example of my ability to perform a needs analysis within the context of a complex project plan, in an assignment where I drew on my actual work projects to apply what I was learning in my coursework. In this paper, I consider all aspects of the project while at the same time considering the advocacy topic of intellectual property rights, and how the system design could manage those constraints while still satisfying the business need.
Through their services, programs, and advocacy efforts, libraries are the backbones of the communities they serve, regardless of what type of organization that might be. Prior to my journey through the MLIS program I had a solid footing in the world of marketing and business development, but the coursework I engaged in allowed me an opportunity to use that exposure and apply it to information management. This synergy will allow me to move forward using these management tools of planning and marketing to provide greater value to the community I serve and the advocacy efforts that are required for the health of the organization.
Coman, A., & Ronen, B. (2009). Focused SWOT: Diagnosing critical strengths and weaknesses. International Journal of Production Research, 47(20), 5677–5689. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207540802146130
Golden, J. (2015). Management skills. In Information services today: An introduction (pp. 209–219). Rowman & Littlefield.
Haycock, K., & Romaniuk, M.-J. (Eds.). (2018). The portable MLIS: Insights from the experts (Second edition). Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Koontz, C. (2015). Managing communications, marketing, and outreach. In Information services today: An introduction (pp. 262–270). Rowman & Littlefield.
Romaniuk, M.-J. (2018). Libraries and marketing: So essential but so misunderstood. In K. Haycock (Ed.), The portable MLIS: insights from the experts (Second edition, pp. 119–135). Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.