Contemporary Management Methods and the Structure of Work Organization in Academic Libraries
After introduction of new telecommunications technologies, implementation of integrated computer systems, such as software for managing resources and distribution of information, and creation of digital libraries it became obvious that it is necessary to introduce changes in the organization of work in libraries.
The library a nonprofit organization needs one efficient management system which has to be complex but also flexible enough to cooperate with the systems for managing human resources, finances, information and knowledge. The development of academic libraries is determined by implementing changes in the organization of work in the individual departmental libraries at university-level institutions. With new management theories, the traditional, hierarchical management models have lost their efficiency.
This paper discusses new methods of organizing and managing libraries. They rely on team work, job rotation of the staff, low levels of formality, centralization, as well as on cooperation among teams. These methods aim at making access to knowledge and information at libraries more efficient.
Quality Management Methods and their Implementation in Libraries
Recently, because of the dynamic development of data communications technologies and rapidly expanding methods of distributing information, there has appeared a need to improve the functioning of numerous organizations including libraries.
In the last decade there were several conferences organized on the issues of management, quality of services, and work systems in libraries. These problems were also dealt with in numerous papers and studies. In 1997, at a seminar in Gdańsk on the automated library organization and management several papers on these issues were delivered, including those by Zybert  and Cichy .
A year later, at a similar conference in Cracow on implementing modern technologies in the management of nonprofit institutions, one could listen to interesting papers by DerfertWolf and Skibicka  as well as Feret and DobrzyńskaLankosz . The primary goal of the conference was to discuss and popularize the rules of modern organizational management and the exchange of professional experience among the managing staff of academic libraries.
Although contemporary librarians are well aware of these issues, there is still a huge need for professional improvement in this field since, as Professor J. Wojciechowski states:
... a person, to work in this capacity well, needs not only the indispensable professional skills, but also the ability to manage and organize efficiently, as well as the ability to be managed and to efficiently adjust to organizational structures. 
Therefore it is very important to know how to apply efficient management methods and techniques, which are used successfully in commercial firms that do improve the quality of their services. Before further discussion one has to distinguish precisely between methods of management and techniques of management. Leksykon Biznesu defines methods of management as sets of activities and tools recommended by scientists and employed by managers in order to enhance the efficiency of management from the point of view of its goals and functions. Methods of management are developed by selecting proper methods of planning, organization, motivation, and supervision, so that they are complementary to one another , while techniques of management are procedures and instruments that serve to resolve specific management problems .
Contemporary methods of management have already been discussed in the literature on library and information science. In methods of management one can distinguish soft methods, in which changes are introduced gradually, while procedures for service rendering are constantly improved. Methods like this are TQM (Total Quality Management) and benchmarking. There are also hard methods, in which changes are brought about in a revolutionary manner; a method like that is reengineering.
Quality management is the most often described method, as well as the most often used one, in the theory and practice of management. The aim of the method, the high quality of services, which one can interpret as ... a set of properties and features that affect the capacity of a product or services (...) to meet genuine or prospective needs  is the main goal and task of any library. The method which seems ideal in this function is TQM.
The philosophy of TQM has been extensively discussed, especially within the framework of contemporary methods of management. It was introduced in Poland, in the framework of the library sciences, in 2000 in the habilitation dissertation by Ewa Głowacka (Głowacka, 2000). Her dissertation shows the basic assumptions, views of the experts and the development of TQM in the 1980s and 1990s. She also discussed the basic tools of the complex quality management system and the TQM implementation models in the library and scientific information systems in Poland and abroad.
The assumptions to be adopted while implementing TQM have been formulated in fourteen points by one of the leading proponents, W.E. Deming (Deming, 2000). For library management, Głowacka suggests that comprehensive quality management should be used, and in short this can be described as follows:
- a librarys mission should be stated as permanent improvement in the user service;
- activities to increase quality should be more efficient, the level of quality should be monitored;
- a permanent control system is to be implemented as internal and external audits;
- in tendering the best, and not the lowest, tender is to be selected;
- the users needs should be permanently monitored;
- the staff should receive regular inservice training in TQM procedures;
- managing staff training should be aimed at efficient problemsolving;
- the staff should realize that they are capable of working more efficiently;
- barriers are to be removed between library sections and the users;
- limits set on the amount of work to carry out a given task should be abolished;
- quantitative task assignments should be abolished;
- appropriate work condition standards are to be introduced;
- regular training cycles for staff members designed to increase their professional skills should be carried out;
- persons or organizations related to the library should be informed about new rules for managing collections and about services.
Among these principles library service quality is the most important one in library practice. To perform the task successfully, one has to identify the users of a library and their actual needs and expectations. The task is closely related to the need for systematic studies of library users into the level of their satisfaction with the services offered.
The next principle involves placing teams within the hierarchical structure of libraries. Apart from solving current problems, team work allows one to share responsibility for the quality of services with other team members and to find out how the library functions in various areas of its activity. Indirectly, this reorganization makes constant improvement of professional qualifications necessary, which in turn makes it necessary for the entire library staff to permanently participate in the process.
Implementing TQM is timeconsuming and complex, it requires active participation of all the staff members irrespective of their place within the system. The role of the managing staff is to update everyone on the progress in implementing TQM principles and to improve systematically work processes and methods. These views can be often found in the studies on the implementation of TQM in the libraries of tertiarylevel educational institutions.
In 1998 Polish academic libraries agreed on a TEMPUSsponsored project aimed at introducing TQM in the libraries of four universities (including three technical universities); Bydgoszcz University of Technology and Agriculture, Cracow University of Technology, Kielce University of Technology, Szczecin University).
The primary objective of the project was defined as Preparing Polish libraries for implementation of TQM techniques in collaboration with libraries from the EU . In September 2000, an international conference was held in BydgoszczGniew on Quality Management in Academic Libraries (DerfertWolf, 2000), organized within the framework of the TEMPUS Project. The goal of the Conference was to make the results of the project widely known, as well as to present the stages of implementing the management system in the libraries. The four participating libraries all approved of the implementation of the TQM principles.
The main principles of quality management are established by the norms for the quality management system as set out in the standard PNISO 9001. According to it, the certification range for libraries may include, for instance, books, journals, multimedia programs acqusition, making them available, and providing information. Each institution that wants to be awarded the ISO 9001 certificate should meet the following requirements:
- to identify processes that are needed in a quality management system and their application in an organization;
- to define sequences of these processes and their mutual interaction;
- to identify the criteria and methods that ensure the efficiency of the application and monitoring of the processes;
- to make available both resources and information indispensable for supporting the application and monitoring of these processes;
- to monitor, measure, and analyze these processes;
- to implement activities that are indispensable for achieving the planned results, as well as to improve continuously these processes. 
The implementation of the ISO 9001 brings measurable benefits in the form of wellorganized and clearly defined processes and procedures that make work more efficient. The stage of formulating procedures enables the managing staff to verify and eliminate those activities that are superfluous and do not contribute to the improvement in service quality or are repeated at several points in the organization. It also allows them to introduce a specific order of work and helps them maintain and monitor high quality.
The first Polish library to implement the TQM system in 1999 was the Main Library at the Maritime University in Szczecin. The range of certification included: purchase of library collections and educational tools, and making available the publications (collections) related to the educational process (Edelman and Karadysz, 2000). The ISO 9001 version of TQM was also implemented by the Voivodship Library for Teachers in Lublin and the Voivodship Library for Teachers, also called the Copernicus Library, in Toruń. The two libraries are not research libraries strictly speaking; however, they are used in this capacity by their users. The fact that they are viewed as research libraries can be shown by the point in the mission statement of the Copernicus Library that says: Research, in particular that on the origin of old book collections (Szymorowska, 2004).
A mission statement and strategy planning for an organization are the main components in strategic management. They are related to, and have much in common with quality management methods such as TQM and ISO 9001. In the literature on professional management one can find numerous definitions of this method. In my study I will use the definition by L. DerfertWolf in her article “Strategic Planning in an Academic Library.” According to her, strategic management means managing the development over a long period of time, the process of planning, decisiontaking, task execution and control, as well as political and administrative actions .
An indispensable part of this method is strategic planning; i.e., the process of setting goals and directions of development as well as defining the methods and means of their execution. One of the strategic planning tools is the SWOT analysis, or the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Procedures for conducting such an analysis are formulated in the paper by B. Feret and E. DobrzyńskaLankosz . The resulting SWOT analysis leads to an evaluation of the current condition of an organization and to working out the directions of its development. The stage that follows, after analysis of the condition of an organization, is formulation of its mission and vision.
The mission statement provides general information for both the library staff and the users about the purpose of the library, the importance of library services, and the role played by the library in its social context . Presentation of the mission of a library on the Internet is increasingly common, especially of libraries at private universities and colleges. This is seldom done by the libraries of staterun universities. One of the few libraries of this type that do present their mission on their Internet page is the academic library in Wrocław: http://www.bu.uni.wroc.pl/obuwr/misja.html. A mission statement has to be accompanied by the description of the vision; i.e., by the presentation of how the vision, development, and social role of the library are envisaged. What follows next is the development of a strategic plan and the setting of primary and secondary goals.
The plan for developing the library should be in agreement with the general development plan for the university. Therefore, it should be approved by the university management. Without approval specific goals of modernizing and developing the library may be doomed to failure. A document prepared in this way may serve as the basis for the task schedule, which should specify tasks, their deadlines, financing sources and names of supervisors. The last stage includes control of task execution and assessment of performance. Its essential element is the users opinion on the functioning of the library. The main advantage of applying strategic planning is that the needs for continuous collection and processing of data that are indispensable for taking decisions and planning in any type of management are indicated and justified .
To summarize, what results from the principles of strategic management is that emphasis is on managerial skills, which should include the ability to take decisions, to plan, as well as to execute tasks and control them. One of the goals of this method is to disseminate information on the new developments among the staff and the users.
A slightly different strategy results from the principles of benchmarking, a method in which the experience of the managers in the given area is used to develop further the management systems and the quality of services. Most authors define benchmarking as a constant and systematic process, or method, of comparison, measurement, confrontation, searching and identification . Benchmarking consists not in copying ready–made models but in searching for the ways of achieving the best possible solutions. It can be the entire organization, in this case a library, that is compared, and models for it are searched, or it can be one of its organizational structures, such as sections, or yet some specific ways of providing services, for example, providing information. M. Huczek deals with the issue of benchmarking technology in his paper Benchmarking as a method of improving the efficiency of managing a library. The same issue is discussed by E. Głowacka in her dissertation A study of total quality management (TQM) ... (Głowacka, 2000).
Model searching may consist in exchange of experience among libraries and in implementing original organizational solutions, research programmes, scientific conferences and publications.
The methods discussed thus far differ in the ways they suggest management quality improvement but share some of the goals:
- fulfillment of the users expectations as to the services;
- systematic control over the quality of the services;
- faultless execution of tasks;
- elimination of superfluous activities;
- involvement of the entire staff in improving the quality of the services;
- systematic improvement of the qualifications of the staff;
- encouragement of the managing staff to take the responsibility for improving the products and services.
The methods outlined here, i.e., TQM, ISO 9001 quality management, strategic management and benchmarking, are the most commonly used ones in libraries, as shown in several studies carried out at various Polish libraries in 20032004 (Wojciechowska, 2005). Other methods used and advocated include the Delphi method (Feret and Marcinek, 2000; Feret and Marcinek, 2005), marketing management (Sójka, 1993), and lean management (Nowak, 2005); however, their efficiency in Polish libraries has not been studied yet.
Organizational Structures in Academic Libraries
In the late 1990s the virtual library was conceived in Poland in the following way:
In modernization of library management one has also to take into account changes in its organizational structures, that is all of the elements in an organization that are interconnected and that contribute to the organization so that the goals are achieved and each element participates fully in the process (...) .  A proper organizational structure determines the success or failure of an organization. It should be adjusted to the character of the organization and to the type of services it provides.
Every organization may have formal and informal structures. Formal structures are explicitly specified, informal structures are not. They include occasional contacts and relations between the staff members. Both types of structure should be complementary and designed to maximize the capacity for change and development. Lack of changes and inflexibility within the organizational structures inhibits growth.
The Law of Higher Education says that a university has its own library and information system, with the library as its centre. The organization and functioning of this system, including its availability to nonacademic users, are defined by the internal university regulations .
The statutory tasks of any academic library include collecting, compiling, and making available its resources, in agreement with the character of the university and the needs of researchers. Libraries are also expected to carry out teaching and research.
Organizational structures of academic libraries have been determined by their primary functions, such as maintaining collections and providing services to the users. The 1961 ministerial regulation defined a functional structure of academic libraries, and this structure is still very much in use, which is understandable, as the nature of university collections, as well as traditions, make it quite natural .
The issue of introducing changes in library organization was, however, brought up by W. Dziadkiewicz during the Cracow conference in 2001 . She compared and analyzed the structure of the most important academic libraries though not the entire library and information systems including specialist libraries, describing the changes that had been introduced; she stressed that they appeared not to be revolutionary. Precisely, most libraries established computer sections and some set up the positions of the system librarian.
In studies dealing with the organizational structure less attention is paid to specialist libraries, and in fact their structural relations with the main library are extremely varied. The autonomy of the main structural units in the university, i.e., the faculties, has an impact on the status of specialist (faculty or departmental) libraries. In most cases, such libraries have their own financial resources and personnel, and they expect the main library to provide professional advice and training for them. However, at smaller universities, with centralized financial management, specialist libraries have strong organizational, financial, and personnel relations with the main library.
In recent years, there has been a marked tendency for small specialist libraries to be merged into larger ones that can be managed more efficiently. In his paper on potential organizational changes in academic libraries, J. Wojciechowski discusses the need for merging small departmental libraries and setting up larger faculty libraries, or even a single megalibrary that would serve the entire school .
The implementation of uptodate organizational structures and the attention to new efficient management systems for libraries and academic information units that can be witnessed at present no doubt is a result of the changes of the function of libraries and of worsening financial conditions. It becomes necessary to look critically into work organization, personnel selection, and efficiency in satisfying the users needs.
Structural and Organizational Changes in Academic Libraries Survey Studies
In order to fill in the gaps in our knowledge concerning organizational changes and modern management methods, as well as to estimate the results of their implementation, in the libraries of staterun higher education schools a survey was conducted on Organizational changes in academic libraries. The survey was sent to 50 libraries in May 2006. Twentythree libraries from various academic centres replied: 10 academic libraries, six libraries at universities of technology, four libraries from schools of economics, two medical libraries and one agricultural library. The number of those libraries that did reply is not quite satisfactory when compared with the overall number of the libraries; however, it remains within the standards in surveys of this sort. The survey contained eight questions, each of which had two parts: one, in which a yesno answer was required, and the other one, in which the respondent could give a more detailed explanation of his/her choice.
The answer to the first question, Did your library introduce changes in its organizational structure in the last six years? was yes in 11 cases and no in 12 cases. The range of these changes, as explained by the respondents, varied but the focus was on merging divisions to create larger units.
For instance, the Warsaw University Library integrated the New Books Division with the Subject Cataloguing Division to make a Cataloguing Division. Attention was also brought to changes within the internal structure of library divisions, for example in the Main Library of the Technical University of Łódź, in which the Reference Division was expanded by the task Group for Collection Digitalization.
Another example of organizational changes is the Main Library of the University of Rzeszów, restructured after the establishing of the university in that town in 2001. The three divisions for acqusition, cataloguing and subject description were merged into a single unit. The library is also working on establishing one common circulation division.
The academic library in Toruń set up two separate divisions: Circulation and Storage Division and Openaccess Collections and Reading Room Division. An additional position was set up for the care of electronic documents, and the library established a digitalization office.
Similar changes are planned by the Main Library of the University of Opole. The three separate divisions, the Circulation Division, the Reading Room, and the Collection Storage and Maintenance Division are to be integrated into a single Circulation and Storage Division.
These cases show that changes are going on and that organizational structures of academic libraries are being transformed.
The libraries participating in the survey confirm that the changes resulted from the efforts to enhance the quality of the library services, to better satisfy the needs their users, such as the access to electronic databases, and to protect the collections by digitizing them.
Two further questions dealt with the library computer systems and their impact on the changes in the organizational structures of those libraries. Recently, no substantial changes occurred in the libraries that resulted from the implementation of computer systems. Most libraries choose to initiate organizational changes before setting up integrated computer systems. Those issues have long been discussed by professionals; for example, by D. Konieczna at the 1995 conference in Toruń .
The next question, Did your library set up a specialized unit for purchasing and lending electronic books? yielded only one positive reply. One of the libraries established a separate position of a specialist for electronic resources in the Reference Centre, which is supervised by the Journals Division. The remaining 22 libraries did not undertake such changes. In most libraries the tasks of purchasing and lending electronic books are given to various existing organizational units.
This conclusion can be supported by what U.A. Wojtasik said at the Wrocław seminar on Building Collections The Art of Choice. It is interesting to note that in Polish libraries there is a variety of organizational units that deal with arranging access to ebooks. For example, the Safari database in the AGH University of Science and Technology of the Cracow is maintained by the Reference Division, while at the Main Library at the Wrocław University of Technology it is the Division for Acquisition of Printed Materials that carries out similar tasks. The Knovel server in the Main Library at the Cracow University of Technology is maintained by the Journals Division (Wojtasik, 2005).
The next question was about the function of the system librarian, a person responsible for managing the computer system at a library . Fifteen libraries confirmed there is a position like that in their structures; however, its precise location is fairly varied, from the position of a deputy director performing the duties of the system librarian to a separate position that is supervised either by the manager of the Collection Cataloguing Division or the manager of the Division for Cataloguing Books and Special Collections. In one of the libraries, the duties of the system librarian are performed by the manager of the Reference Division. Duties that system librarians are supposed to perform are comparable between various libraries. The focus is on ensuring that the integrated computer system functions properly, dealing adequately with the users comments and providing information on the changes being implemented. The duties of the system librarians also include training for other librarians and for the users of information and search modules.
The sixth question dealt with the structural changes designed to enhance the quality of the user service. Only two libraries did not introduce such changes recently, while the remaining ones did introduce a range of innovations. These included mainly setting up new units or positions, or transforming the existing ones. New units are for example: Division of Open Access Collections, Centre for European Documentation, User Service Centre, while a new position is the one for dealing with complaints and for monitoring loan patterns at the local circulation department. It was also indicated that although some of the organizational changes were not structural in nature, they did have a direct impact on the increase in the quality of services. These changes aimed at providing free access to most collections at a library, at increasing the number of computer sites for better access to databases, at providing access to electronic sources from sites outside the library, at free access to photocopying services, and at the extension of opening hours of both the reading room and the circulation department.
The seventh question focused on the issue of setting up task teams. Such teams operated in all libraries but one. Among other aims, they were established to help digitize the collection, to draw out documents regulating the work, to arrange free access to the collection, to develop digital libraries, or to design the Web pages. The most common task appeared to be digitization of the collection, and issues related to this one, such as software testing, selection of documents to be digitized, or analysis of copyright of the items in the digital library.
The last question was Would your library modify the structure of the main library and the entire library network because of the new Law of Higher Education and because new university and organizational regulations are developed for libraries? Six libraries answered in the affirmative. In most cases, that effort will be on flattening the organizational structure by integrating department libraries into a single faculty library and incorporating them in the library and information system of the given university.
The libraries also pointed to the changes aimed at merging the divisions for formal and subject cataloguing into a single division for cataloguing printed materials. Work on new organizational regulations led to reorganization of divisions and streamlining processes of cataloguing including subject cataloguing.
The survey presented here was a sort of pilot study that attempted to assess the directions of changes in the organizational structure of academic libraries, and it is expected to contribute to further comprehensive studies into similar structural changes. In the near future, studies may be carried out on the location of specialized libraries in the library system at the university and on the role and functions of specialized librarians, who, when faced with the merging of specialized libraries into multitask libraries, may shift toward being more like consultants in selecting, processing, providing access to collections and information services for library users.
The results of the studies conducted allow one to conclude that management methods borrowed from manufacturing companies have started being used by nonprofit institutions, including libraries. When facing the new needs of library users, academic libraries cannot afford to continue functioning within the traditional organizational system. The future of libraries lies in adopting matrix structures whose goal is to combine the expert efforts to execute a larger number of tasks that are needed for increased efficiency, as well as task structures that will break the hierarchical structure model and contribute to enhanced performance.
These issues make studies on work quality and users needs necessary, they show also that innovations should be introduced and that such structures should be used that support efficient management and contribute to the increased efficiency of library services.
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About the authors
Danuta SzewczykKłos, MA, is a Deputy Director at the Main Library of the University of Opole, Poland.
Email: danuta [at] uni [dot] opole [dot] pl
© 2008 Danuta SzewczykKłos.